The second of two days of practice for the Rotax MAX Challenge (RMC) US Trophy Final concluded today as more than 100 competitors took to the track for six rounds of practice.
With the final three rounds requiring transponders, a look into the quickest drivers of the weekend began to take shape when the final checkered flag concluded around 4:30pm local time.
The headline Senior MAX class saw entrants from New Zealand, Columbia, Canada, United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States highlight the 36-kart field but none were faster than Diego Ramos as he clocked a blistering lap that was nearly .250 quicker than any of his rivals. Whether it be a draft or pure speed, Ramos has set the mark as the driver to beat. Coming into the weekend, Oliver Hodgson was considered one of the drivers to beat and proved that in the final session by going second quick over local boy Chase Jones in third. Frankie Mossman made his presence felt by scoring the fourth fastest lap of the session as he edged out Yash Rampal by .004 in the fifth position.
While Senior MAX saw eight different nationalities registered, the Junior MAX class had four with the addition of three entrants racing under the Argentinean nationality as the sixth and final practice session of the day was led by the #246 entry of Wesley Gunder. Gunder clocked a lap time of 1:06.082 to lead the way, a scant .027 ahead of Turner Brown and .07 ahead of Nathan Dupuis. Brown and Dupuis were the front end of a Speed Concepts Racing trio in second, third, and fourth with Jackson Wolny bringing up the back of the SCR train of drivers just ahead of Canadian Ty Fisher in the fifth position. With the top-five drivers separated by .12 in the fast-lap ranking, it will be an interesting and important qualifying session.
Masters MAX had a load of talent including three-time RMC Grand Finals Champion Ben Cooper, multi-time Grand Finals competitor Derek Wang and perennial front-runner Billy Cleavelin, but at the end of the final practice session on Friday, it was Mundy Loyer that let the way by the slimmest of margins. With a quick lap of 1:05.697, Loyer pipped Billy Cleavelin who was only .006 ahead of Larry Mardan in third. It was Cooper and Wang who rounded out the top-five with the gap between first and fifth only .087 in what is sure to be a competitive weekend in Masters MAX.
The future of Rotax was well represented in the Mini MAX and Micro MAX categories as 32 entries were combined in the two youngest divisions. With 20 competitors competing in Mini MAX, none were faster than the #101 of Oliver Warner as he turned his fastest lap of the session on lap nine to best the field. Ryan Chandour was the best of the rest in the final practice of the day as he was just ahead of Issac Malcuit in third. The top-five in Mini MAX were more separated than the other four classes with the fourth and fifth-place drivers Gage Korn and Fion Shi just about four-tenths of a second slower than Warner.
In Micro MAX it was Lucas Palacio who led the final practice session as he topped the time sheets in the sixth Micro MAX session of the day. Earning a quick lap time of 1:13.176, Palacio was less than a tenth of a second quicker than Lucas Tarrango. The third quickest driver of the final session was Enzo DiGennaro while Tyson Underwood and Cam Becker rounded out the top-five. With Palacio marking his territory, he will look to remain the driver to beat as competitors work toward Sunday’s main events.
Heading into Saturday, all attention will turn to qualifying in the morning before wheel-to-wheel action begins at 11:00am local time. With live stream coverage available on the Kart Chaser YouTube channel, US Trophy Final followers can also visit eKartingNews.com for trackside coverage and RaceRotax.com for event information. Kart Chaser will live stream qualifying, heat races, and the prefinals for free with main events reserved for Kart Chaser YouTube Premium Subscribers.
The Rest of the Weekend
After two days of practice, Saturday will be reserved for qualifying and heats one, two, and three for all classes with Sunday being the home of both the prefinals and main events for all classes. For more information and the event schedule, please visit www.RaceRotax.com.