Australian driver Pierce Lehane qualified 1st out of 72 drivers today in the Senior category at the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal. Besting an equivalent number of competitors to set the fastest qualifying time in their respectice categories was local driver Bruno Borlido (Junior), Xen De Ruwe (DD2), and Henry Martin (DD2).
The final qualifying session of the day ended a few minutes early as all the drivers aborted their effort when the track got slippery from a quick shower, but all categories managed to set their times on a dry track. The Junior and Senior sessions were the closest with the top 28 and top 29 qualifiers respectively fitting within half a second.
The Indonesian duo of Senna SN (39th) and Silvano Christian (43rd) were both slightly disappointed with their qualifying performance in the Senior category, and need to move up the grid a few spots in their heats if they want a direct route to the final stages. Japanese driver Yoshito Matsumoto has raced with both in the Rotax Asia Challenge, and set a similar time, putting him 41st overall. Malaysian driver Nik Azri had a tough time setting the 64th best time, and will need to make large improvements to challenge for a spot in the final.
The racing gets underway tomorrow with a total of 16 heats scheduled, and the MicroMax category gets their first taste of the track this week.