|What||Team South Africa Rotax Max Grand Finals Report|
|Where||Sarno, Napoli, Italy|
|When||19-26 October 2019|
Snyman, Verheul in Max world title fights
Team South Africa emerged from the Rotax Max Grand Karting Finals in Sarno, Italy with positive results following a few exceptional drives and at least two 'what could have been' stories.
DD2 Masters drivers Nic Verheul and Jono Pieterse drove brilliant races to fifth and seventh in the over-30 Final, Junior Max kids Aqil Alibhai and Troy Dolinchek fought to 14th and 20th in their under-15 Final and Reese Koorzen soldiered on to the finish of the under-11 Mini Max race after an early incident, but Mini Max hero Troy Snyman had to make do with 11th after fighting for the lead on the final lap of the under-13 Final.
The Mini Max Final proved a tense affair, with Pietermaritzburg’s SA champion Snyman running third in a wild 7-kart lead dice early on, but dropped back to seventh as the slipstreaming battle continued. Troy then put his head down and worked his way back up to fourth, where he held station before taking third and second in successive laps, to start the final tour a second behind the leader. Snyman closed down enough to attempt a move for the lead and the world title with two corners left to race, but the karts touched and both went off, leaving Troy to limp home 11th...
Snyman was not the only SA driver to fight for a world title in Sarno — Edenvale DD2 Masters hero Nic Verheul started fourth and drove brilliantly to move into the lead early on and stayed there for several laps. But Nic was clearly struggling with his engine 'popping' at mid distance and despite his best efforts, he eventually relinquished the lead before fighting hard to not slip further back than fifth. Fellow Master, KZN karter Pieterse likewise enjoyed a great first half of the race as he clawed his way into the top ten and as high as seventh to make it a double SA DD2 Masters top ten in seventh.
South Africa’s Junior Max pair endured a tough lead up to the under-15 Final, but a positive Pre Final Friday saw Aqil Alibhai and Troy Dolinschek sharing the eleventh row of the Final grid. Jozi kid Alibhai had a great first few laps to move up 7 places to find himself a lonely seventh as he chased down the train of 12 drivers ahead, but ultimately conceded a place on a fraught final tour to place 14th. Cape lad Dolinschek became embroiled in yet another wild 6-kart mid-pack battle en route to 20th.
Under-11 flyer, SA champion Reese Koorzen also made a great start in Micro Max, making up several places in the first two laps, but he was then caught up in a multi-kart crash, which saw the Cape lightie drop behind as he drove home 33rd. The rest of the SA team, DD2 trio Jonathan Thomas, Benjamin Habig and Wayland Wyman, Master driver Brett Brito and Senior Max lad Charl Visser all went out in the pre-finals after a tough week of qualifying.
Known as the Olympics of Karting, the Grand Finals play host to the champions or next in line of Rotax Max national championships from around the world, who are handed identical equipment to determine the best Max karters in the world. It all starts again early 2020 with the first round of South Africa's National Rotax Max Challenge championship. See you there!
Issued on behalf of Rotax Max Challenge
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