Australia’s contingent of drivers have made a strong start to their campaigns 2011 Rotax Max Challenge Grand at the Al Ain Raceway in the United Arab Emirates.
Three drivers – Pierce Lehane, Dave Sera and Brendan Nelson – qualified inside the top ten in the Junior Max, Senior Max and DD2 categories respectively.
Japanese driver Ukyo Sasahara took pole position in Junior Max while Pierce Lehane set the seventh fastest time, Joseph Mawson 11th and Michael Stewart 43rd in the field of 72.
“I qualified seventh last year and ended up third, so hopefully it is my lucky number,” said Lehane.
After setting the second fastest time in his group behind eventual pole sitter Sean Babington, 12-time Australian Champion Sera finished sixth fastest overall in the Senior Max category.
“Things are looking up today. I was 30th fastest in the final practice session, so to be second overall and sixth overall is a big achievement,” said Sera.
“I can now race from the second row of the grid and be competitive. Last time I was here in 2007 I had great speed. Although we’re using a different kart and different tyres to back then, the track knowledge is very valuable.”
Tyler Greenbury was 18th fastest while Josh de Maio and James Macken were 36th and 42nd overall in the 72-kart field.
In the DD2 category, Nelson proved to be a surprise packet in only his third event aboard the two-speed machine. The Queenslander qualified seventh overall, closely followed by Damian Ward (12th) and Jason Pringle (14th).
Brent Coghlan set the 18th fastest time in the DD2 Masters category.
A total of 265 drivers from 60 Nations are competing in this week’s event.
Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals – Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Pole Position: Ukyo Sasahara (Japan) 57.744
7th Pierce Lehane 57.883
11th Joseph Mawson 57.994
43rd Michael Stewart 58.415
Pole Position: Sean Babington (United Kingdom) 56.787
6th Dave Sera 56.877
18th Tyler Greenbury 57.097
36th Josh De Maio 57.236
42nd James Macken 57.356
Pole Position: Pier-Luc Ouellette (Canada) 55.562
7th Brendan Nelson 55.694
12th Damian Ward 55.774
14th Jason Pringle 55.819
Pole Position: Christiano Morgado (South Africa) 56.222
18th Brent Coghlan 57.105