VPDR challenging contenders at the ROTAX GRAND FINALS in Italy

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ROTAX Max Challenge Grand Finals 2016

Circuito Internazionale Napoli - Sarno, Italy

The Austrian-based racing team has once again led their Rotax Grand Finals campaign with a strong and competent squad in 2016.

The international team line-up has come away from the 17th edition of the RMCGF at Sarno in Italy with both successful and mixed results, but most definitely the entire team contributed to achieve the best possible outcome for all drivers, combining their dedicated efforts and knowledge. To his credit, Hungary's Ferenc Kancsár defended his ROTAX DD2 world title in a most memorable clash of the titans.

After the prestigious event, some of the team members recap on the results and the experience…

MATS VAN DEN BRAND – VPDR Team Driver Coach

"In general, I think as a team we did a very good job! Considering that we had a mix of nationalities within our team in Italy - 3 Austrian, 1 German and 2 Norwegian drivers… it was good to work all together and the drivers approached it each in their own way too!"

JUNIOR MAX
"Lukas Dunner (AUT) definitely had the speed the whole week and in the top 5 all the time. Until qualifying practise, there were no issues. It was okay, but he didn’t get the maximum out of it. During the heats, Luki kept his head cool but was out of luck with some crashing that put him in the back for the pre-final. This was under wet conditions and in practice he was also quick, so we had no doubt about making the final. Well, a crash at the start ended his Grand Final adventure.

SENIOR MAX
"Christopher Dreyspring (GER) was really focused all week! He was fast, dedicated and fully motivated; as was his mechanic. Winning a heat and starting P1 in the pre-final in wet conditions to finish 2nd; we had a great feeling for the final. After taking an early lead, he couldn’t hold it and was missing a bit of confidence; eventually dropping back to P7 by the end of the race. Still, it was an excellent result once again for the four time German national champion at this level.

"Felix Kotyk (AUT) started fully motivated and after struggling during the first practise sessions, he was always within the times of the top 10 and improved. He was fast in both wet and dry conditions, and showed some nice racing standards! Unfortunately, starting p8 in the pre-final followed by a crash coming from last before he went off again, missing out on a place in the final.

"Ruben Kverkveld (NOR) was a rookie at the Grand Finals / European level of racing, but what an impressive week from our Norwegian! Being fast during practise, he had a bit of a disaster in qualifying (p42) and started p23 in his pre-final, where he drove to P2!! Absolute hats off to this youngster! Taking a mid-race lead in the final, but just not enough speed to keep it and finished P5 in the end. It was an amazing job by Ruben and of course, his mechanic Erik.

ROTAX DD2
"Mick Wishofer (AUT) was a top 3 runner in all the practise sessions, but from qualifying on, all went wrong for our Austrian 2-speed team driver. Two good heats and a big collision put him in the middle for the pre-final then also for Mick a start incident ended his grand final campaign. It was really such a shame as he was for sure one of the candidates to be on top!

"Nikolai Stein (NOR) is more experienced at this level of racing from competing in KZ. He was impressive in the most important race of the week - the final! Finishing 10th after starting on grid 25, Nikolai was improving every session and ended with second best lap time in the final!"

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID…

LUKAS DUNNER – “Racing at the Rotax Grand Finals was the first time for me to be at such a big event like this. On the Sunday, we got our karts and I was nervous about getting a good race package, as this would be important. We saw the whole week that I was fast and could be inside the top 5 to 10 in the practice sessions, and not bad to be 13th overall in the qualifying. The heat races were not so good seeing that I had some penalties, but I started pre-final B on grid 14 which was good after the results. On this day, it rained a lot and we had to search for the best set-up in the difficult conditions. In the end, I was unlucky to be pushed out at the start and went back to P30 so I could not qualify for the final. All-in-all, it was a cool and funny week with some ups and downs, but I believe we made a good job. I want to thank the whole team at VPDR and all the people who helped me too.”

CHRISTOPHER DREYSPRING – “The whole week went great. William my mechanic and I did a very good job and have been very focused. In every practice under the top ten was a very good sign. In the qualifying we found a good set-up, but I did a mistake in the session. The result was still satisfying. In the heats, I just wanted to win some positions to move forward. With the win in the first heat it was a great start. The two other heats went well also, which pushed me up to pole in the ranking for the pre-final grid. That was a great result for us. In the pre-final, it was raining, but I was on the inside line so couldn't go full gas into the first corner. When I was behind race leader Mavlanov, I just wanted to keep the position for a good place in the final; and it worked. In the final I had a good feeling, but we elected a different gearing so it made it difficult to be faster. I was just two-tenths slower, however, in this situation it was a lot. It was again great to work with my mechanic and with the team. I learned something and gained the extra experience which is very good for me.”

FELIX KOTYK – “The Rotax Grand Finals 2016 was my first attempt at winning the World title. It was a great experience driving a different chassis than usual and also throughout the event the atmosphere was great. In the training I faced some difficulties, nevertheless all of those were forgotten when on Wednesday I got myself on P15 in the qualifying. The heats went quite well and I was always in the top 10. It was some tough racing, however, I really enjoyed it. Every race was unique, and therefore a unique and new experience. In the pre-final, I had an unbelievable good start where I was 4th after the first corner. Since it was raining and the second corner has a hard breaking point, I had to go wide into the corner after I got a push from the back. I saw how some drivers missed the breaking point which pushed me as I was accelerating out the corner. After the crash I was last - yet still determined to get back to p17 to at least qualify for the final. In the end, I missed out by 3 positions to enter the finals, although the pace was there to be at the front. This was an extremely good experience; it showed me my weaknesses and strengths, and therefore I now know what to work on for next season to be better than ever. ”

SUMMING IT UP...

ERNST PENNINGER Jnr. – VPDR Team Manager

“Having had an intense year in various championships, it's been great to see 4 VPDR drivers qualified for this year's GF at Sarno.”

“With Lukas competing in Junior Max, he raised his performance throughout the year and had a realistic chance to compete within the front-runners for a top 10 finish this year. I am convinced that Lukas achieved a good result in Sarno as he could show that he has stepped into a higher level as a driver this year. His attitude and driving through the week have been on a high standard which confirms that the the work he put in together with the team the whole year has made him competive driver.

“With Felix and Christopher we had again two top 10 Senior Max contenders in Sarno. Both been competitive from the first moment onwards which gave us a great result in quali and continued with a impressive performance from Chris through the heats being in the top 3 in all of them and also seeing Felix within the top 15 up to prefinal was a great job from the drivers and team. Whilst Chris finished 2nd in the prefinal, he continued his ambitons for the top 3. Starting from 3rd in the final, he ‎had all chances, but coming into the lead in a early stage of the race from my perspective threw him a bit out of his rhythm which ended after having hard fights on P7. Still looking over the whole week he has to be rated one of the top drivers on that event. Felix lost his rhythm, spun and crashed too often, and failed to qualify for the final.

“Mick and Ferenc both had to be rated as the runners for the DD2 title which both clearly showed by finishing in the top 3 in the practises. Whilst Ferenc in quali remained within the top 5, although he did not manage to get slipstream, Mick completely failed in quali which made it very difficult for the heats. Ferenc confirmed by winning all his heats and the prefinal that he has the performance to win his 2nd title. Mick after difficult heats and a crash in his prefinal at a early stage, unfortunately did again not qualify for the final. He still needs to settle better on such events and keep more calm. Ferenc in the final did a impressive job, controlled the race and won his 2nd title! Well Done.

“The technical team throughout the week did an impressive job. I would like to thank every single mechanic and technician for the effort, enthusiasm and passion which was put in this week. The drivers had great equipment and support.

"We come back in 2017 to take the challenge of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.

“The Race to get there is on!”

RESULTS

Junior Max
LUKAS DUNNER (AUT)
Final position: 50
Pre-final: 25 (B)
QF Heats rank: 28
Timed Practice: 13

Senior Max
CHRISTOPHER DREYSPRING (GER)
Final position: 7
Final start grid: 3
Pre-final: 2 (A)
QF Heats rank: 1
Timed Practice: 11

FELIX KOTYK (AUT)
Final position: 41
Pre-final: 21 (A)
QF Heats rank: 15
Timed Practice: 15

RUBEN KVERKVELD (NOR)
Final position: 5
Final start grid: 4
Pre-final: 2 (B)
Heats rank: 26
Qualified: 47

Rotax DD2
FERENC KANCSÁR (HUN)
Final position: 1 - World #1
Final start grid: 2
Pre-final: 1 (A)
Heats rank: 1
Qualified: 9

MICK WISHOFER (AUT)
Final position: 49
Pre-final: 25 (B)
Heats rank: 34
Qualified: 37

NIKOLAI STEIN (NOR)
Final position: 10
Final start grid: 25
Pre-final: 13 (B)
Heats rank: 36
Qualified: 30

SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS...

  • Former VPDR team drivers JOSH HART (NZL) in Rotax DD2 and BERKAY BESLER (TUR) in the Senior Max category, who each secured 3rd place overall.

All the news updates, results and photos from the event are available on the official Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2016 homepage - HERE at www. rotax-kart.com

Photo credits:
- Alex Vernardis & Loredana Ivancov / The Racebox
- Łukasz Iwaniak / Media4U

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