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Round 2 of the South African Rotax MAX Challenge (SARMC) National Championship got underway at the
Formula-K Kart Circuit in Benoni this past weekend and saw Senior MAX rookie Brandon van der Walt endure a character-building set of race results.

Van der Walt made the best of numerous practice sessions where he showed a strong pace. Confident of a top-10 qualifying position, the Pretoria East resident would have his three-lap qualifying session spoiled following an incident on track. He goes on to explain: “One of the drivers crashed out while we were on our fast lap and there seemed to be confusion between the marshals as to which flag to wave. I lifted off the throttle and that comprised my lap. I was hoping to be in the top-10.” Van der Walt ended up 17th and despite the result improved on his qualifying position of 20th at the opening national round.

The opening heat would see the Ice Motorsport driver make up three positions on the opening lap before suffering a slight loss of power while battling several drivers in the largest field of the day. When the chequered flag dropped, however, Van der Walt finished 16th on track but was promoted to 15th after post-race penalties. Not entirely satisfied with the kart’s performance, Van der Walt persevered, finishing 14th in Heat 2 which saw him initially lose five positions over the first two laps. He, however, recovered well to make up four of those positions. The final heat would see the Senior MAX rookie start from 18th on the grid where he again made up several positions. After post-race penalties were applied, he finished in 12th and claimed 13th overall.

“A somewhat frustrating day,” said Van der Walt. “I started much further back than I would have liked and then suddenly in Heat 1, it felt like I had lost some power and couldn’t do anything about it. Even after the team checked the engine, they couldn’t really find any issue. From there we were always playing catch up. Battling at the back of the midfield is not where I’d like to be. We have more pace than that, but it was one of those days you’d prefer to forget. Regardless, the team did all they could and I’m grateful to them. Hopefully, we can find the issue now and continue our preparations for the remainder of the season. I want to bounce back from this.”

Van der Walt returns for Round 2 of the Rand Kart Club Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on 13 May, while the third SARMC national round of 2023 is scheduled for Killarney International Raceway on 30 June to 1 July.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell

Picture Caption: Brandon van der Walt

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