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Palmertson North’s Fraser Hart and Christchurch’s Matthew Hamilton were the top finishing Kiwi karters at this year’s2018 NZRMC teamnz.jpg Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals event in Brazil, the pair finishing the Rotax DD2 Masters Final third and fourth respectively.

This year’s event was the 19th consecutive one organized by Austrian engine manufacturer Rotax with Hart and Hamilton two of nine New Zealand-born drivers who qualified to compete. 

Five others via this year’s Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge Series, and two more who earned a spot on the Australian team thanks to successes this year across the Tasman. 

The venue for the event was the Circuito Internacional Paladino at Conde, a city in the state of Paraiba in Brazil’s far northeast. It started on November 24 and finished with a Finals day on Saturday December 01. New Zealand was one of 50 Rotax territories represented, the nine Kiwis part of a 360-strong entry across six classes. 

The full list of Kiwis and where the finished in their respective Finals was:18RMCGFBrDD2MastersFraserHart534IMG_lr0919.jpg

Rotax DD2 Masters
3. Fraser Hart
4. Matthew Hamilton
22. David Malcolm

Rotax DD2
27. Ryan Wood (Aust)
28. Sam Waddell
31.(dnf) Jono Buxeda

Rotax Senior
10. Josh Hart (Aust)
15. Zac Stichbury

Rotax Junior
18. Fynn Osborne

Hart and Hamilton were two of the pace-setters from the start of the event in the DD2 Masters class. Hamilton was second only to eventual class winner Christiano Morgado from South Africa after the qualifying practice sessions, and went on to win won two of his three heat races and finish second (to Hart!!) in their Pre-Final. 18RMCGFBrDD2MastersMatthewHamilton535IMG2lr_1618.jpg

Hart was ranked fifth after qualifying practice then finished second in two of his heat races and third in the third, before winning the second of two Pre-Finals to start the Final alongside Morgado.

South African Michael Stephens got the jump on Hart to follow compatriot Christiano Morgado in second place for the first four laps. However Hart won the place back and held it from lap 5 until lap 9 when Finnish driver Antti Ollikainen forced his way through and held the spot until the flag.

Hart maintained third place as Michael Stephen came under pressure from Matthew Hamilton.

Having started from P10 the Christchurch ace was relentless in his charge forward, getting to P8 in two laps, fifth place by lap 10 and fourth on the last lap.

The third Kiwi in the category, Dave Malcolm from Auckland, also qualified for the DD2 Masters Final and made up 15 places to finish 22nd overall.

After being sixth quickest in the Rotax DD2 class following timed practice then finishing third in each heat race and third18RMCGFBrSeniorJoshHart309IMGlr_0012.jpg in his Pre-Final Wellington teenager Ryan Wood looked set for a podium of his own, and another for Australia! 

It was not to be however, time penalties as a result of contact seeing him plummet down the finishing order from sixth on the road to 27th.

The other Kiwis contesting the category had mixed fortunes. Sam Waddell from Tauranga ended up 12th in his Pre-Final and started form P28 in the Final while Jono Buxeda from Tuakau finished an event-best 3rd in his second qualifying heat and 7th in his third, ended up back in P20 in his Pre-Final and on grid P24 for the Final.

A strong start and first half of the Final saw him up to P13 by lap 13 though that was when his luck ran out with a technical issue on lap 16 seeing him out of the race (though officially classified 31st) with just four laps to go. 

The other Kiwi in the Australian camp, Fraser Hart’s brother Josh (also from Palmerston North) qualified sixth in the Rotax18RMCGFBrazilSeniorZacStichbury345IMG2lr_0023.jpg Senior class, finished seventh in his Pre-Final and stated the Final was P11. From there he spent all 20 laps battling for a spot in the top 10.

Behind him, meanwhile, young second-generation karter Zac Stichbury (Havelock North) put on a passing master-class, making up 21 places to finish the Rotax Senior Final a hard-won 15th.

Finally, New Zealand’s rep in the Rotax Junior class, Fynn Osborne from Hamilton, was 14th quickest after the practice heats, and after an 11-09-14 run through the qualifying heats started 10th and finished 11th in his Pre-Final to start the Final from P17 and finish it in P18.

CAPTIONS: Top Kiwi finishers at the 19th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final were Fraser Hart (#534 3rd in DD2 Masters) and Matthew Hamilton (#535  4th in DD2 Masters).  Also impressing at the meeting were Fraser’s brother Josh18RMCGFBrJuniorFynnOsborneIMGlr_0225.jpg Hart (#309 10th in Rotax Senior), Zac Stichbury (#345 15th in Rotax Senior) and Fynn Osborne (#250 18th in Rotax Junior). Photo credit: Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography. 








Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the 19th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting in Brazil contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at ross@fastcompany.co.nz



KartSport New Zealand