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Australian Pierce Lehane put in a sterling drive to charge his way to 11th place at Round Two of the Rotax Euro Challenge in Wackersdorf, Germany on the weekend.
Lehane was one of the pacesetters across the weekend in the Senior Max category qualifying second fastest and winning two of his three heat races to line up on the front row for the pre-final.
Unfortunately, he failed to complete a lap in the pre-final forcing him to start from 34th position in the 18-lap final around the 1275m circuit. Showing true determination Lehane charged up the order to be running in 12th position by mid race before crossing the line 11th.
“The experience of racing in the Euro Challenge was amazing, the amount of times a lead can change in one lap is amazing,” said Lehane.
“I was a little bit surprised to qualify second, I was confident that I would be somewhere near the front but to be that high up was a great start to the weekend.
“Winning two heats proved to me, and everyone else there, that I could be considered a serious contender on a track that was very challenging, but also rewarding.
“In the pre-final I got pushed wide on the first corner and then on turn three I had someone go for a gap that wasn’t there which broke a tie rod and put me out of the race.
“While the pre-final was disappointing, it was great to get back up there in the final but it did leave me wondering what could have been.”
Joseph Burton-Harris also showed he has the potential to mix it with the best Junior Rotax drivers in Europe. The Sydneysider set the second fastest time in qualifying before enjoying mixed results in his heat races.
Like his older counterpart, Burton-Harris also suffered a set-back in the pre-final and as a result he lined up from 26th position for the final. Unfortunately, he would only finish 7 of the 14 laps in the final.
“When I look back at the weekend, it was an amazing experience. To qualify fastest in my group and second overall was great,” said Burton-Harris.
“The weekend was far harder than I could have ever imagined. It was a new track for me while racing in a new event with a new team, all who spoke either Dutch, Spanish or German and we were also racing on a new compound of tyre to what we run in Australia.
“I was able to lead in two of the heat races before being caught up in a couple of incidents. Unfortunately I bent the frame testing something Sunday morning in warm-up and the weekend was over but the achievements were already there. The teams were amazed at how an Australian can arrive and drive so fast. Pierce proved it to be true doing exactly the same in Senior.
“It was an experience of a lifetime and I definitely want to do more racing throughout Europe.”