The 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals officially got under way on Wednesday with official Qualifying. After a day and a half of practice and testing, Qualifying capped the days activity in New Orleans, USA as drivers from around the world battled for the best time in their respective classes and the all important pole-positions. The four official Rotax classes were on track today while the Micro and Mini Max classes were supplied their karts for their invitational races later this week. The day was highlighted by extreme winds and very cold temperatures, things not expected in the south of United States.
Rotax DD2 has been amazing to watch thus far, and it’s only qualifying. There are many drivers capable of winning this weekend including multiple past Grand Finals champions.
Qualifying would see the odd numbered karts hit the track first and immediately it was Pier-Luc Ouellette putting his name at the top. Consistently getting faster, Ouellette waited until the end to pull out the big lap and in doing so posted a time of 54.059 seconds, so close to breaking the 54-second mark. Also in the group was Alessandro Bizzotto would kept his name towards the top of the chart ending up 11th.
Group two was full of big guns and this had Ouellette keeping a close eye on the scoring monitor. Pan American Challenge winner Daniel Formal of the USA was the first to lead the chart, but wasn’t it wasn’t quite enough to top Ouellette. Then Ben Cooper put down his best, and went P2 behind Formal. But the two weren’t done there and with a few minutes remaining in the session Formal posted a 54.01 second-lap to snuff Ouellette of the top spot overall. A lap later Cooper would move Ouellette down one more when he posted a 54.051. Also in the group from Canada was Marco Di Leo and Brendon Bain. Di Leo waiting until his final chance to post and would end up 14th in group while Bain struggled and posted the 25th best time.
With the groups combined, Formal earned the all important pole-position with Cooper second and Ouellette third. The two will start from the front row of groups B and C for each of their heat races. Di Leo ended up 18th and will be in group B, while Bizzotto was 33rd (group A) and Bain 40th (group D).