Four of our Canadian drivers are heading the Grand Finals in Italy. Friday at the Napoli International Circuit featured the Pre Final races for the twentieth annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. It was the final chance for drivers to earn points towards a total that would determine the thirty-six drivers starting in each of the Finals on Saturday.
For Team Canada, the team is unfortunately cut in half with three drivers painfully close to making it through but coming up just short.
To start off, Jason Leung drove a brilliant race in his Junior Max Pre Final to score the win. It most cases the win would have helped him move up the order and earn a better starting spot for the Final, but he was only able to gain one position from where he ranked after the heat races. He will start on the inside of row four tomorrow, in P7. Joining him in the Final is Justin Arseneau, who battled his way through his Pre Final to ensure he would transfer. He will start twenty-fourth and will have his head down hoping to move forward.
In addition to our two Team Canada member, Georgie Zouein, who was born in Canada and sports a nice maple leaf on his helmet, will start in twenty-sixth. He had a great run in the heats and the Pre Final to move into a transfer spot after being on the outside looking in all week.
With both of Junior drivers transferring through, unfortunately, our two Senior Max drivers are finished. Patrick Woods-Toth had a shot to transfer, needing a solid result in his Pre Final, but he was attacked and spent the entire race in defence instead of moving forward. There wasn’t much chance for Griffin Dowler to make it through, but he went out and drove one the best runs of his week to cap off his first Grand Finals.
There’s some heartbreak in Rotax DD2 as all three of our drivers did not make the transfer to the final, and even worse, two of our drivers came within three points of making it. Noel Dowler wound up 37th, only one point out, following his best drive of the week. Two points behind, Isaac Marritt also came up short of the cutoff for the Final after being shunted in his Pre Final and finishing twenty-ninth. Following his rough week on track, Davide Greco is done after a DNF in his Pre Final.
In Rotax DD2 Masters, Jared Freeston continues to exceed our expectations and he off to the Grand Final. He will start 24th after a smart and strong run his Pre Final. On the other side, Alexandre Gauthier’s disappointing week is over. He just couldn’t shake off the bad luck and his results don’t show his true potential.
Finally, Kieran Hartley rounds of our Canadian contingent racing on Saturday. While he was guaranteed to make the Final in Mini-Max, he still had a Pre Final to determine his starting position. It wasn’t the best race for Hartley, who slipped back from where he started and finished the run in the seventeenth position. Thanks to a few penalties ahead of him, he moved up two spots and will start fifteenth, looking to improve on his result from a year ago where he finished seventeenth.