After dominating all week long South Africa’s Cristiano Morgado found himself in an unfamiliar place on the opening lap of the Rotax DD2 Masters Grand Final in Valencia, Spain.
Morgado surrendered the lead for the first time of the weekend on the opening lap to Martin Pierce (Ireland) as well as Mikko Laine (Finland) as the Rotax DD2 Masters drivers hit the wet track with no more rain falling and the sun trying to peek through the clouds. After transferring through the last chance and starting dead last American Alan Rudolph had a stellar opening lap, moving from 34th to 13th!
The very challenging conditions actually saw a dry line form on the front straight, but the remainder of the track was still very wet with standing water inside some of the corners.
Up front things settled very quickly with Pierce out front and Laine comfortably in second while Morgado was fading in third. Christophe Adams (Belgium) ran all alone in fourth while the rest struggled their way around the circuit.
Laine pressured Pierce in the final two laps but he wasn’t able to make a move allowing the Irishman earn the race win with Morgado having to settle for third at the line and coming up short of his fifth Rotax Grand Finals title. Rudolph worked his way forward all the way to the end where he finish in seventh.
But the Grand Finals podium took a major shift in the post-tech area. Both Pierce and Adams (fourth) were removed from the results for having non Praga issued chassis accessories handing the win to Laine and moving his Finnish teammate Antti Ollikainen onto the third step of the podium behind Morgado. This also moved Rudolph into fifth, easily the hardest charger of the weekend.