|What||Rotax Max African Open Report|
|Where||Zwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria|
|When||Sunday 1 July 2018|
|Community||South Africa National|
Four drivers book Brazil World Final berths
Sunday’s wildcard Rotax Max African Karting Open saw Arnold Neveling, Cristiano Morgado, Wayland Wyman and Joseph Oelz booking their sears for the Rotax Max International Finals in Brazil at the end of the year. The wild, winner-takes-all races see Sunday’s winners, as well as the South African champions in the various classes later in the year each winning a drive against the world’s finest, while the African Open Mini Max winner Jordan Brooks and Muhammad Wally, who won Sunday’s Micro Max race, won trips for them to watch the Brazilian races in December.
Vereeniging racer Arnold Neveling started the DD2 final in pole position, but a fraught first few laps saw him drop as far down as fifth on the first lap as a wild six-kart spat erupted with Bradley Liebenberg and Jurie Swart taking turns in the lead and Benjamin Habig and Masters leader and already four-times world champion Cristiano Morgado in the bunch. Lap six saw Liebenberg and Habig plummeting down the order after a tete-a-tete up front, to leave Neveling to cruise to the win as Swart fought Durban’s Morgado off for third. Neveling sealed the DD2 world final seat on offer and Morgado the Masters seat.
Veteran Johannesburg driver and former GP3 driver, Roman de Beer completed an impressive karting comeback with best of the rest in fourth ahead of Cape Town youngster Jason Coetzee, Eugene Brittz, lady racers Fabienne Lanz and Ivana Cetinich, Masters runner-up Pascal Acquaah and his senior class rival Marouan Selmi closing off the top ten after fourth placed Liebenberg was found underweight and excluded after his kart shed its bumper following Habig’s earlier attention. Cape Town racer Jurie Swart and Acquaah remain in line for a Final seat, depending how the DD2 national championship pans out…
Jozi driver Wayland Wyman found form at the perfect time to steal the third DD2 International Final seat on offer to the winner of the Senior Max African Open, taking the lead from Dominic Lincoln who had looked the form man all day, when Lincoln’s kart slowed and eventually stopped in lap 13. That left the way open from Dubai visitor Liam Crystal to challenge Wayman, but he came under late pressure from Cape Town lad Jason, who had fought back from outside the top ten after a first lap incident, when they clashed to allow Shrien Naidoo to snatch second from Nicholas Verheul, Carlo Olivier, Connor Donovan and Jonathan Pieterse.
Cape Town youngster Joseph Oelz booked his seat in the Brazil Junior Max Final after he made short work of pole man Aqil Alibhai from Ormonde, Johannesburg to take the lead on the first lap and then drive off to win the high school class. Former world Mini Max champion Jayden Els came through from seventh on the grid to take third ahead of three more Gauteng drivers, Leyton Fourie, Kwanda Mokoena and Daniel de Paiva.
Jordan Brooks led under-13 Mini Max from lights to flag to win a trip to watch the Brazil finals as he left Michele Patrizi to fight off Josh Le Roux and Liam De Beer for second. The under-11 Micro Max race was anything but straightforward as local lad Muhammad Wally came from behind to take his spectator ticket by beating home rival KC Ensor-Smith, Cape kid Reese Koorzen, Jozi lads Joshua De Paiva and Bjorn Bertholdt and Mozambican Lagson Leao in a race that enjoyed no less than six leaders. There was also a Cadet race on the day, where the on form Tshepang Shisinwana won from Cyril Jacobs. and Aadam Kajee.
Like Swart and Acquaah in DD2, the other drivers who ended second in their races must now wait to see how the rest of the SA Rotax Max Challenge national championships pan out — should any of the drivers who won on Sunday also win the championship, the African Open runner up stands a chance of taking the drive, leaving the forthcoming penultimate 11 August Killarney races in Cape Town and the September 1 National Final Zwartkops to determine the full South African Rotax Max Final team to join Neveling, Morgado, Wayman and Oelz in Brazil.