GRAND FINALS 2011 - Day 21.11.2011

So, here we go. Finally we have racing action at the track. Before everybody got focused on racing, most of the talk this morning was of the activities at the welcoming party last night. Usually everybody is so focused on the upcoming days that the welcoming party is a rather silent event compared to the final party. However, last night we counted more than 700 guests at the beautiful outside location of the Al Ain Hilton. Everybody was having a good time and many were catching up with people they haven´t seen in a long time. It is just one of those rare occasions when friends from all over the world have the chance to see each other, no matter how far they are apart usually.

As expected, the MOJO Tyre Changing Competition was a big hit at the welcoming party. In light of Bill Wright’s absence, Richard Boisclair, from the MaxSpeed Group, the American Rotax distributor, did a very impressive debut of hosting the tyre changing contest. After several heats of four contestants each, the competitors with the four fastest times qualified for the tyre changing finals to be held during the closing ceremony this Saturday night. The fastest time of the evening was set by Keita Kawaguchi. Keita san laid down a time just over 29 seconds to claim the top spot going into the finals.

MOJO is a very well reknown name in Karting, but what is all the fuzz about? Generally speaking tyres are rather simple, they are black and round. But of course it is not that easy. In fact they are a very sophisticated product, and because MOJO tyres are used in Rotax MAX Challenge races all over the world, the requirements in terms of quality and equality are very high. Especially the equality is crucial to the concept of racing a single make engine/tyre class, which is why MOJO is rigorously having tested the quality and performance of every production batch by current and former Rotax MAX Challenge race drivers. MOJO tyres accordingly have been manufactured to the DIN EN ISO 9001 standard ever since and with the introduction of the new PCA (Poly Cyclic Aromatics) free and CIK homologated tyres in 2011 MOJO tyres can be raced all around the globe. This opened up completely new markets, such as Japan and England. The success story of MOJO was crowned this year by handing over the 1.000.000th tyre to the Japanese Rotax distributor. Who will be the lucky one to receive the next celebrational tyre?

Back to what was happening today. The first item on the schedule was the driver’s briefing. The briefing was held in the track’s main building and serves as official instructions to the drivers and crews regarding how they are to handle themselves while competing at the Grand Finals.

Although today’s sessions were officially untimed, one would be hard pressed to find a kart that wasn’t on a stopwatch. Never the less, the times set today mean nothing towards official qualifying which will take place tomorrow. Since the track has not been used for a week the drivers had to put out some rubber, together with warming up the engines for the challenges that are waiting for them over the next few days.

The practice sessions for all categories went pretty smoothly. Finally the silence was broken as the sound of those 265 Rotax motors filled the air at Al Ain Raceway. As with any racing event with drivers of this caliber, there was no loafing around as the young drivers were up to speed right away. Their skill was also evident in the fact that there were very few off-track excursions or wheel-banging incidents. We will see what the upcoming days have in store for your race fans.

Finally one very important note for all those who did not make it to the track of Al Ain!
You will be able to follow the live broadcast of all categories from November 24th.

Competitor insights:

Olivier Bedard
Age: 14
Country: Canada (Montreal)
Driver Class: Junior

How did you start Karting?
From when I was born I grew up with race sports. I am a huge fan of Formula 1 and I watch every race. My dad participated in the first Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals. Besides he owns a Karting school. We are the first father and son that have both made it to the Grand Finals.

Have you ever been to Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals before?
It is my first time.

What are your expectations for the event?
I want to win!

Other hobbies?
I am from Canada, so obviously I love Hockey. Fishing is a hobby as well.

How do you like the event so far?
I like it a lot! Especially the picture of all the karts on the race track before they were handed out was amazing. The weather is great also!

Stefan Riener 
Age: 16
Country: Austria (Kirchdorf)
Driver Class: Senior MAX

How did you start Karting?
My father got me interested in karting in 1991 when I was four years old. I have been driving for 10 years

Have you ever been to Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals before?
It's my first time

What are your expectations for the event?
Like everybody else I want to win. I would be happy anyways to make it to the top three.

Other hobbies?
In winter I go skiing. I like to play soccer with friends as well.

How do you like the event so far?
It is my first time to the UAE and the event is just great! I love the warm weather and deserts. Al Ain is a great venue for the race.
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