|press release||23 October 2016|
Josh Hart from Palmerston North was the top finishing Kiwi karter at this year's Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals event in Italy, finishing third in the DD2 class Final on Saturday.
One of five New Zealanders representing their country at the 17th annual Grand Finals meeting at Sarno near Naples this year Hart qualified sixth, won his Pre-Final and started the Final from pole.
Above: The DD2 podium, Josh Hart 3rd (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)
Above: Josh Hart had won the DD2 pre-final the day prio (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)
He led the first lap too, before being passed by eventual race winner Ferenc Kanscar from Hungary and runner-up Christian Sorensen from Denmark then spending the rest of the race battling with and eventually prevailing over Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis for third.
Last year's DD2 Masters class Grand Finals title winner, Ryan Urban from Auckland was next best Kiwi performer at this year's Grand Finals event, finishing a hard-won sixth in the Final.
Urban was again one of the pace-setters in the DD2 Masters class but faced an uphill battle in the Final after being sent spinning off the track and to the back of the pack on the first lap of his Pre-Final. Though he was able to work his way back up to 10th place at the flag it meant he started the Final from P18 on the grid.
Above: Ryan Urban (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)
Former UK and now two-time New Zealand rep Tiffany Chittenden from Christchurch joined Urban in the DD2 Masters class and finished 11th in the Final after an even more impressive drive back through the field.
An engine issue plagued Chittenden's practice and heat runs but when it was eventually sorted she quickly made progress, setting the fastest race lap as she worked her way from P33 on the grid to 11th place in the Final.
Dylan Drysdale from Palmerston North and Matthew Payne from Pukekohe were also on the New Zealand team this year but neither made it to their respective class Finals.
Above: Dylan Drysdale (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)
Drysdale, who was contesting the Rotax Max Light class, was excluded from the event after the second heat over an issue with his kart's nosecone, and Payne missed the Final cut in the Rotax Junior class after finishing 23rd in his Pre Final
Above: Tiffany Chittenden (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)
Above: Matthew Payne, Junior MAX (pic - Fast Company/Coopers Photograph)