Jenner and Car lead winning start to Pro Tour season for BirelART Australia

Current Australian Rotax Light Champion Brad Jenner made a successful transition to the new BirelART chassis securing the overall victory (Pic: Coopers Photography)

Rotax Light’s Brad Jenner and Junior Max driver Joshua Car have taken victory in their respective categories to launch a successful start to the 2015 Rotax Pro Tour season for BirelART Australia at Melbourne’s Todd Road circuit, with a further six rounds ahead in the Championship.

On the back of his success in claiming the Australian National title in Rotax Light and his first ever appearance at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in November, Brad Jenner kick-started his 2015 campaign by claiming pole position with a quickest lap time of 40.224. With the field being split under the oversubscribed format for Saturday’s three ten lap heat races, Brad showed supreme consistency claiming victory in every event, placing him on pole position for Sunday’s first final.

A strong start and the fastest lap of the race added up to Brad Jenner being able to secure a win in the pre-final by in excess of two seconds, reflecting his strong opening round form. Another blistering jump from the line saw Brad take an early lead in the final as he built up a strong buffer to the second place driver. The Victorian amassed a gap of 2.4 seconds by the completion of the race as he secured victory and an early season lead in the series standings.

The first round success for BirelART Australia continued into the oversubscribed field of Junior Max with RK Kart pilot Joshua Car securing his first ever Pro Tour pole position. A quickest lap time of 40.444 on his final circulation in the eight minute session handed Car a front row start for all three of his heat races. A second place finish in heat one was then superseded by two victories in heat two and three for Joshua, helping him on his way to pole position for the pre-final.

A stunning time on the final lap of the Junior Max pre-final wasn’t enough to secure Joshua Car the win, settling for second, still placing him on the front row for the final. Multiple changes of position within the lead pack throughout the weekend’s last race saw Joshua work his way to the front, pulling away to cross the line by 0.4 seconds, handing him his first ever Pro Tour round win.

In his first event in Rotax Light at the Pro Tour, Mitch Maddren secured 12th in qualifying before making strong inroads throughout the heat races. Maddren took two third place finishes and a fourth, helping him to sixth for the start of the pre-final. A further improvement to fourth handed Mitch a second row start for the 22 lap final, however a DNF on lap 14 ended hopes of a potential podium finish.

Hunter McElrea qualified 13th in the 58 strong Junior Max field, being less than 0.3 seconds behind pole position, reflecting the closeness amongst the times. A consistent performance throughout the heat races saw Hunter finish inside the top ten on all three occasions, taking two seventh place finishes and a ninth, subsequently returning him to his heat race starting position of 13th for the 18 lap pre-final. A DNF in the opening lap would plunge his starting position to the rear for the final, however a determined effort saw McElrea rise to finish 13th by the completion of the race.

In his first event in the open Junior Max category after graduating from the Trophy Class, Jye Hopkins started the weekend coming to grips with the large field, thus also gaining experience amongst some of Australia’s best young drivers. Hopkins worked his way to 20th in the pre-final, however his weekend was ended on the opening lap of the final, recording a DNF.

On debut in Junior Max in the Pro Tour, West Australian Henry Lake made a concerted start to his weekend before progressing considerably within the heat races. Lake secured 13th, 14th and 15th respectively in the three ten lap races on Saturday, placing him in 23rd for the start of the pre-final. In the capacity field of 40, Henry battled through to achieve 33rd in the pre-final with an unfortunate DNF to end his weekend on lap seven in the final.

Queensland’s Jack Smith made the step from Junior Max into DD2, joining the BirelART Australia team ahead of the weekend’s opening round. After qualifying in 22nd in the vastly experienced field, Smith went on to secure 17th and 14th in heat one and three respectively, however a DNF in heat two would place him in 22nd for the start of the pre-final. In a strong reflection of the hard work put in throughout the opening two days of the event, Jack secured the fastest lap of the DD2 pre-final with a 39.787. For the 16 year-old, an issue with track position in the final resulted in a DNF in the final on lap six.
Round two of the 2015 Rotax Pro Tour takes place at Dubbo, NSW from March 20-22.