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Mixed Results for Team USA at the Grand Finals.

It’s Thursday here in Al Ain and today was the first official day of racing at the Al Ain Raceway. Due to the full schedule today, many teams had to arrive very early in the morning. Ordinarily this is no problem but seeing as how BRP-Powertrain hosted their mid-week BBQ last night, there were a few people walking into the pits this morning looking like they needed a couple extra hours of sleep.

The mid-week BBQ has become quite a popular event. Last night the gala was held at the Al Ain Hilton which was very convenient for Team USA. In addition to great food and drink, the event featured a DJ, and was held in a beautiful Arabian setting by the pool. In true BRP fashion, everything was first class right down to the Rotax bunting that surrounded the party site.

The morning started as usual with a short warm up session for all classes. Once those were complete the Juniors took to the track with race groups A and B in competition. The groups are configured as A, B, C and D in order of the drivers qualifying times. Throughout the two days of heat races, in each category, group A will raceB then C will race D. After that it’s A vs. C and B vs. D. Finally A will go up against D while B and C square off. That way everyone in the field will race against everyone else in at least on of their three heats.

As mentioned, the day started with Junior MAX group A vs. B. Jake Craig made a great start and did Team USA proud by coming home in fourth. In his second heat, Jake got the job done again with a fine 5th place. In the second heat race (Junior C vs. D) Dalton Sargeant and Oliver Askew made good progress from their mid-field starting positions. Dalton was really on the move for a while but got punted off the track at one point and lost several positions. This is often the case at the Grand Finals as every position is a really tough battle.

Senior MAX saw all three Team USA drivers on the move with the highlight being Kiel Spaulding’s 5th place in heat race #4. Sam Beasley ran into some trouble and ended up coming back on the wagon after getting caught up in someone else’s wreck. In their afternoon heats, Stepanova Nekeel finished a fine seventh in heat race #12. Sam and Kiel recorded a 14th and 11th respectively.

In DD2 Masters, Erik Jackson accounted very well for himself finishing 8th and 7th in both his heat races. Rene Martinelli struggled in the first heat after suffering some major damage to his kart in practice. For the second heat they managed to switch chassis and he ran better, coming up to 12th place. Todd Ulmen ran well in the first heat but had a spin in the second and ran at the back of the pack.

In DD2, Kristina made a self-admitted error at the start of her first heat which dropped her back to the tail of the field. Proving she’s a real racer, she charged back through the pack making some great passes to finish 19th.  In her second heat, she started 19th but was up to 12th going into turn one when someone spun and came back onto the track right in front of her. The resulting contact not only knocked her out of the race, but took a herculean effort by her team, led by tuner Denis Thum, to get the chassis straight again and ready for the morning. Derek Wang had a day that was very frustrating. After getting knocked off the track in the first heat race and running at the tail of the field with totally bent steering components, he encountered more problems in the second heat which left him a similar result. Both these drivers know that tomorrow they will need a great finish to avoid the last chance race.

In the evening, since it is Thanksgiving, the Al Ain Hilton hosted a traditional American style Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey and all the trimmings. They even had a chocolate fountain running that was a real treat. Although much of the focus is on racing, life away from the track alone at the Grad Finals is worth the trip because of nights like these.


Race 1: Junior MAX A vs. B
1    Sasahara, Ukyo    Japan
2    Makino, Tadasuke    Japan
3    Van Moorsel, Jordi    Netherlands
4    Craig, Jake    United States
5    Polakovich, Mateo    Argentina

Race 2: Junior MAX C vs. D
1    Lazare, Jesse    Canada
2    Mawson, Joseph    Australia
3    Morin, Philip    Sweden
4    Lehane, Pierce    Australia
5    Harker, Reid    New Zealand

Team USA
16    Askew, Oliver    United States
23    Sargeant, Dalton    United States

Race 3: Senior MAX A vs. B
1    Babington, Sean    United Kingdom
2    Sera, David    Australia
3    Cooper, Ben    United Kingdom
4    Sekioka, Toshiki    Japan
5    Picot, Nicolas    France

Team USA
15    Nekeel, Stepanova    United States

Race 4: Senior MAX D vs. D
1    Dabski, Karol    Poland
2    King, Andy    United Kingdom
3    Brand, Edward    United Kingdom
4    Lindgren, Linus    Sweden
5    Spaulding, Kiel    United States

Other Team USA
35    Beasley, Sam    United States

Race 5: DD2 Masters A vs. B
1    Morgado, Cristiano    South Africa
2    Matis, Andreas    Germany
3    Brand, Danny    Belgium
4    Lundstroem, Peter    Denmark
5    Kroes, Dennis    Netherlands

Team USA
14    Ulmen, Todd    United States
18    Martinelli, Rene    United States

Race 6: DD2 Masters C vs. D
1    Victorsson, Martin    Sweden
2    Campbell, Scott    Canada
3    Adams, Christophe    Belgium
4    Lambert, Florent    United Kingdom
5    Davis, Colin    United Kingdom

Team USA
8    Jackson, Eric    United States

Race 7: DD2 A vs. B
1    Latifi, Nicholas    Canada
2    De Ruwe, Xen    Belgium
3    Ouellette, Pier-Luc    Canada
4    Pringle, Jason    Australia
5    Fleischmann, Maximilian    Germany

Team USA
19    Vorndran, Kristina    United States

Race 8: DD2 C vs. D
1    Murray, Marc    South Africa
2    Laiho, Miika    Finland
3    Detige, Mathias    Belgium
4    Ward, Damian    Australia
5    Huttunen, Jari    Finland

Team USA
31    Wang, Derek    United States

Race 9: Junior MAX A vs. C
1    Mawson, Joseph    Australia
2    Lehane, Pierce    Australia
3    Sasahara, Ukyo    Japan
4    Hare, Aston    South Africa
5    Craig, Jake    United States

Other Team USA
14    Askew, Oliver    United States
34    Sargeant, Dalton    United States

Race 10: Junior MAX B vs. D
1    Makino, Tadasuke    Japan
2    Barlow, Jack    United Kingdom
3    Harrison, Nathan    United Kingdom
4    Van Moorsel, Jordi    Netherlands
5    Esmeijer, Janneau    Netherlands

No Team USA in race 10

Race 11: Senior MAX A vs. C
1    Babington, Sean    United Kingdom
2    Riener, Stefan    Austria
3    Sasaki, Hirotaka    Japan
4    Forman, Jiri    Czech Republic
5    Van Den Brand, Mats    Netherlands

Team USA:
11    Spaulding, Kiel    United States

Race 12: Senior MAX B vs. D
1    Cooper, Ben    United Kingdom
2    Sera, David    Australia
3    Greenbury, Tyler    Australia
4    Brand, Edward    United Kingdom
5    Kancsar, Ferenc    Hungary

Team USA
7    Nekeel, Stepanova    United States
14    Beasley, Sam    United States

Race 13: DD2 Masters A vs. C
1    Morgado, Cristiano    South Africa
2    Lundstroem, Peter    Denmark
3    Kroes, Dennis    Netherlands
4    Campbell, Scott    Canada
5    Brand, Danny    Belgium

No Team USA in Race 13

Race 14: DD2 Masters B vs. D
1    Berteaux, Guillaume    France
2    Matsuya, Takao    Japan
3    Lambert, Florent    United Kingdom
4    Pansart, Guy    France
5    Hargitai, Gerry    Hungary

Team USA
7    Jackson, Eric    United States
12    Martinelli, Rene    United States
21    Ulmen, Todd    United States

Race 15: DD2 A vs. C
1    Ouellette, Pier-Luc    Canada
2    Huttunen, Jari    Finland
3    Wagner, Simon    Austria
4    Jensen, Andreas    Denmark
5    Murray, Marc    South Africa

Team USA
31    Wang, Derek    United States

Race 16: DD2 B vs. D
1    Laiho, Miika    Finland
2    Pringle, Jason    Australia
3    Brittz, Eugene    South Africa
4    Detige, Mathias    Belgium
5    Latifi, Nicholas    Canada

Team USA
35    Vorndran, Kristina    United States

Be sure to stay in touch with Team USA through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GoRotax and at GoRotax.com.

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