The Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt announced the launch of the local qualifiers for the 19th Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals for kart racing in Brazil, scheduled in November 2018.
The 10-round competition will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh and Cairo, with the participation of more than 7,500 drivers from around the world. Only six competitors will qualify for the finals. In addition, the club also launched the local qualifiers for Sodi World Series (SWS) set to launch in June 2019, with the competition’s host country not yet decided. Italy, however, will host the finals of the 2018 SWS tournament in June 2018, where Egypt will be represented by young driver Ahmed Mohamed.
The Automobile and Touring Club—official representative of Egypt at the International Federation of Motorsports (FIA) and the International Commission of Karting (CIK)—always exerts great efforts in organising and supervising the two tournaments, hosted by Ghibli Raceway for karting in Sharm El-Sheikh and Autovrooom in Obour city.
The launching conference witnessed a review of the contestants who qualified for the World Championships in the 2017 season. The conference also discussed the challenges facing the sport in Egypt, notably the lack of sponsorship from official bodies or companies.
The club promised to organise a number of awareness and educational campaigns for specialised journalists to increase their knowledge and information about local and international races.
The local Rotax Max Challenge will witness the participation of more than 25 professional drivers in their own vehicles in six categories:
– Micro Max category: it was developed in this year’s championship. It includes drivers aged from eight to 11 years old. They will race using karts equipped with the famous Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 8 horsepower (hp).
– Mini Max category: It includes drivers aged from 10 to 13 years old. Those will race using karts equipped with Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 15 hp.
– Junior Max category: It includes drivers aged from 12 to 15 years old. Those will race using karts equipped with Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 23 hp.
– Max category: It includes drivers aged not less than 14 years old. Those will race using karts equipped with Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 30 hp.
– Max DD2 category: It includes professional drivers aged not less than 15 years old. Those will race using karts equipped with Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 34 hp, in addition to a dual transmission that distinguishes them from the other Rotax categories.
– Max DD2 Masters: It includes drivers aged over 32. Those will race using karts equipped with Rotax engines of 125 cubic centimetres and 34 hp, in addition to a dual transmission.
For the Sodi competition, a number of professional and amateur drivers aged over 15 years old will race for the fourth consecutive year with fully-equipped vehicles provided by the organisers without incurring any further expenses. The vehicles come with engines of 9 hp. The winner of the local competition (in the individual category) will qualify for the world championship set to be held by the middle of 2019.
Highlights of 2017 competitions
After winning eight rounds in the 2017 Rotax Max qualifiers, Shadi Usama, Ahmed Sherif, and Hussein Suleiman managed to seize their places and represent Egypt (as an official team) at 2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals held in Portugal last November. Usama qualified in the DD2 category, while Sulaiman was in the Junior Max and Sherif in the Max category.
The Egyptian drivers qualified for the finals among 360 international drivers out of more than 7,500 coming from 59 countries around the world.
Beating nearly 21 drivers over 10 rounds in the SWS qualifiers held in Egypt during the 2017 season, the promising contestant Ahmed Mohamed qualified for the finals of the world championship to be held in June 2018 in Venice, Italy, with the participation of more than 300 drivers out of 4,500 coming from different countries.
Ghibli Raceway in Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the most important circuits in the Middle East for this type of race. A testament to Ghibli’s success was it hosting the prestigious Rotax Max Challenge World Finals on two occasions to date, its 4th event in January 2004 and the 10th in November 2009. Today, the Rotax Max Challenge is the most internationally FIA-sanctioned motor sport formula in the world. It also co-hosted the Middle East Karting Championship for two years (2008 and 2009), in participation with Autodrome in Dubai.
Ghibli has hosted many of the racing world’s best known names over its 15-year history, including Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Paul Stewart, and Gianni Morbidelli. Outside of the racing world, Ghibli Raceway has had the honour of hosting VIPs such as the King of Bahrain, Robert De Niro, as well as many other Arab stars.
The announcement came during a press conference held at the Automobile and Touring Club’s headquarters, in the presence of Adel Abdel Baki, chairperson of the club; Essam Hussein, general manager of Ghibli Raceway; Mohamed Murtagi, board member of the Automobile and Touring Club; Amr Yousri, executive director of Ghibli Raceway; Wael Abdel Maguid, acting director general of the Automobile and Touring Club; Ahmed Badr, director of the racing and rally department at the Automobile and Touring Club.