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RMCGF: Ups and Downs in the Thursday Heat Races for Team Canada


RMCGF: Ups and Downs in the Thursday Heat Races for Team Canada

It was a very full day of heat racing on Thursday at the Bahrain International Karting circuit for the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.

It was the warmest day of the week thus far and that was shown on track too with a few stoppages required by race control to speak with the drivers about their behaviours on track.

For Team Canada, there were some highs and some lows.

One of the biggest talking points was Ilie Tristan Crisan, who won his first Mini Max heat race of the day, however he was disqualified from heat for an issue with his spark plug in technical inspection. Shrugging it off, he returned to the track for heat three and pulled out to another impressive heat win to help his points total.

For our Micro, E20 and DD2 Masters drivers, they only had on heat on Thursday for a total of two, given that their class size is half of the others.

In E20, Ian Qiu continued to roll around inside the top ten and scored a weekend best sixth place run while Frederique Lemieux was back in 13th. They will start their PreFinals on Friday from 7th and 12th.

Micro Max featured some more gains for Olivier Chasse and Sebastian de Moissac. They both moved up from where they started and that has gained them a few starting spots for their PreFinal, where Chasse will roll off 26th and de Moissac 29th.

Another great drive through the field for Ben Cooper saw him get up to fourth, and this time keep it, in DD2 Masters. That gave him enough points to move into the top ten and will start his Prefinal from eighth on the grid. Unfortunately Dave Laplante was caught up in a crash that ruined his heat race and he will start from near the rear on Friday.

In Mini Max, it was a great day for Alexis Baillargeon, who raced his way into the top five of both heats, scoring a P9 and a P5 to put him P11 in the provisional ranking, four spots ahead of Crisan. Just behind them is Eddy Kennedy in 25th while Antoine Lemieux is not having a very enjoyable weekend and ranks 50th overall.

Lucas Deslongchamps mixed it up with the race leaders in both of his heat races today and if it wasn’t for a pushback bumper penalty in heat 2, he would be much higher up than 21st in the provisional ranking. He has great pace and really improved race craft from his two previous RGFs and we will now see what he can do in the PreFinal. Pushback bumper penalties also hampered Oliver Mrak and Boss Patel who find themselves on the outside looking in entering Friday. They will need a good result and some luck if they want to transfer to the Finals.

Laurent Legault bounced back after a rough first heat to score a pair of top ten finishes in Senior Max to keep him on the right side of the cutoff ahead of the PreFinal, ranking 30th. Following his second DNF of the weekend in heat 2, Timothe Pernod drove to a top ten finish in heat 3 only to fall back to 19th with a bumper penalty.

Finally, it was another tough go for our DD2 Max drivers on Saturday. Gianluca Savaglio was spun in corner 1 of his afternoon heat race, but recovered for a P4 finish in his third and final heat race. Lucas Pernod and Matthew Taskinen have just been on the outside edge of the top ten in their heats and sit 30th and 31st in the rankings, needing positive runs in their PreFinals to lock into the Finals. Sadly it was a tough day for Olivier Bedard and he was caught up in two crashes that resulted in two DNFs. Those will be tough to overcome but he will be back for his PreFinal anyways on Friday.

Friday’s Prefinals will award points that will be combined with the points total from the heat races with the top 36 drivers in each category advancing to the Grand Finals. It takes a long of success and a little luck to become a Grand Finals champion and this format is really tough to those fighting in the midfield.

But anything can happen, so stay tuned to CKN to watch the live stream and to see the results.

We want to thank Grid 14 Motorsport and the Rotax Winter Trophy as they have come on board with CKN to be our coverage partner for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.

The Rotax Winter Trophy is a two-race series to award the first tickets to the 2024 Rotax Grand Finals. The first round takes place on January 26-28 with the second on the following weekend, February 2-4. Both will be contested at the Orlando Kart Center with two different configurations being utilized.

Registration is open and several Canadian race teams will be present including Prime Powerteam, Premier Karting, Scott Campbell Racing, PSL Karting, Team VSR, Team PRO, and Team BCR.

Visit to learn more and sign yourself up to race!

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