British Super One Minimax Champion.
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World Finals

 World Karting Finals 2012

Report on the World Finals in Portimao, Portugal.

Gunn leads the best at the World Finals…………


The World's most prestigious Karting event, the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, known by most as the World Finals, took place at the Kartodromo Internacional do Algarve, just outside Portimao in Portugal between 28 November and 1 December 2012 inc.


276 of the best drivers in the World, from over 50 Countries, attended the week long competition involving testing, heats, a pre-final and the all important final on 1 December. The winner of this would be titled the World Champion. Gunn represented GB, being the Super One British Champion in the Junior Rotax team, along with Ryan Anderton, Raoul Hyman, Jai Nijar, Harry Webb and Josh White. In the Junior Rotax class, 72 drivers were entered to represent the 44 Countries in this particular Formula.
After Drivers' registration on Saturday 28 November, Gunn walked the track for the first time. Gunn had never been to Portugal before and unlike some drivers, had not attended a week testing before the meeting. The twisty 1.5 km circuit is located next to the very impressive Portimao Autodromo {see previous article on the World Finals} and would take some 'getting use to' before the all important qualifying session on Wednesday afternoon. Tooley Motorsport was acting as advisor and pit crew during this whole week.

In an attempt to make everything as equal as possible, the drivers are not allowed to bring their own karts / engines to this meeting. New karts are raffled to each driver; this took place on Sunday just after lunch. The formula uses the same tyres as currently used in the British Super One series and fuel is issued by the organisers in the assembly area. The sight of all of the karts on the start / finish line was 'breathtaking'. [See images}. A quick estimate of the value of these karts was around £1.5 million! After Gunn drew for and collected his kart ~ the chassis used in the World Finals for Junior Rotax is made by the Italian manufacturer Birel ~ Gunn then collected the seat and the official toolbox. Even the toolbox is issued by the organisers! Finally on Sunday, helmets, overalls, boots and gloves were scrutineered. On Saturday night, a fabulous complimentary meal was organised for all drivers, teams and supporters in a top rate local hotel. This was a great welcome from the organisers, to all those who were attending the event.

                                         The Junior Rotax karts on the start line                                    Gunn with the karts on the start line.

                                                           Gunn waits for his kart to be raffled.                              Gunn collects his kart {C153} after the raffle

Monday was Gunn's first drive on the track in his kart. Gunn normally drives a Tonykart chassis, so not only did he have to get familiar with the circuit, but also the different handling characteristics of a Birel kart. Due to the large number of entries in the Junior Rotax formula, the afternoon practice was split into two. Odd numbers would practice before the even numbers. Each group had 20 minutes on the track. On this first practice, the karts went out with identical gearing and identical mixture settings. This was primarily to 'bed in' the brand new engines. Gunn put in a best time of 1m 3.6 s, which was around 1 second off the best time. Even so, Gunn was showing his talent by ending up in the top 10 drivers! Not bad, bearing in mind there wasn't any practice at the circuit before the event! The conditions at the track were dry, but the cold wind made it unpleasant for spectators. Tuesday was a similar format to Monday but in this case, there would be two practice sessions {morning and afternoon} ~ on this occasion choice of carburetor jetting and gearing was free. Also the kart was weighed and correctly adjusted {kart plus driver}.

                                          Tooley Motorsport check kart before 1st practice                        Gunn Represents GB at the World Finals.
                                                  The kart is ready for 'action' No. 134.                                                         Side pod sponsors on view.

Conditions on Tuesday were fine and dry, but surprisingly still cold! In the first 15 minutes session, Gunn was fastest overall! After lunch, Tooley Motorsport tried another gearing, lower than the morning session; this didn't work out as expected. Only 14th fastest in his session was obtained. Wednesday was to be the 'all important day', as Timed Qualifying {TQ} was to take place in the afternoon. TQ took place at 13.25 hrs for the even numbered karts and would last for 15 minutes. Gunn very quickly got to 3rd fastest in his session, but was noticeably dropping back in the order by the end of the session. Gunn finished 13th which put him in a disappointing 31st position overall!! After the TQ was over, Gunn admitted that he had made a mistake in misinterpreting his steering wheel readout display. Gunn is normally used to a PI system, but a different system was installed on his World Finals kart. As a consequence, Gunn had not noticed the rising temperature and not opened the radiator control shutter. The engine had overheated and power had dropped off as a result. Luckily no damage to the engine had occurred.

                                     Tooley Motorsport queue for 1st Tuesday session            Gunn is fastest overall after the 1st Tuesday session

                                   Dave Tooley checks times after Wednesday's practice                        Gunn is ready for Timed Qualifying

Three heats would now take place over Thursday and Friday to decide the grid positions for the Pre-final on Saturday. 36 of the original 72 drivers would be 'going home' at the end of Friday. Gunn was in group C out of the 4 groups {A - D} and started 15th on the grid for his first heat {C V D}. On the opening lap, at the second right hand corner, Gunn was gently hit from behind and spun around in the pandemonium of the opening lap. Gunn dropped down to 24th and with only 7 laps in the race, climbed back to cross the line in 12th position After one of the drivers was excluded for technical reasons, Gunn was promoted to 11th position. For the second heat {A V C}, Gunn started in 16th place and made a fantastic start to the race to lie in 9th place after the first lap. Gunn was 'picking them off, one by one' when he was about to take 6th place and went too deep into the corner. As a result of spinning off the track and then rejoining the race, he finished in 21st place with a time that was 3/1000 second off the fastest lap, set by the Austrian driver, Thomas Preining.

Friday was to be a wet day for most of the day; this was the first time that the wet tyres were used by all of the drivers. In Gunn's final heat {B V C}, he started 16th on the grid and finished 10th, after again being put back to 24th after some pretty 'awful' driving by some of the competitors. The results of the heats meant that Gunn would be starting the pre-final in 23rd position………. not good, but he was through to the pre-final, where 36 of the 72 were to take no further part in the competition!

                                                              Wet suit on for the Friday practice.                            Gunn {circled} enters the first corner on lap 1

                                                                       3rd heat on Friday.                                                                             3rd heat on Friday.

With everything completed by mid-day, Gunn prepared himself for a hectic Pre-finals and Final day on Saturday. Time was spent visiting the Autodromo which is 20 minutes walk away………. also looking at the kart circuit in more detail.

                                                     The Kartodromo seen from the Autodromo.                             Kartodromo Internacional Algarve.

                                                     The flags of the various Nations taking part.                              The podium awaits the Champions.

Saturday was again dry and bright and felt much warmer than in previous days. As a result all races were on slicks. The pre-final took place at 10.25 in the morning with Gunn starting on the 12th row {out of 17 rows} in 23rd position. The pre-final was to be run over 11 laps thus giving Gunn more time to make up some valuable places and this he did with 'vengeance'! Both the Pre-final and the Final can be seen on the Rotax Max Grand Finals website, details are shown below. Gunn made an excellent start in the pre-final and was lying 11th by the end of the first lap {a gain of 12 places!}. By the end of lap 3, Gunn was lying in 7th position and moving forward to lap 7, was lying in 5th position. On lap 10 Gunn was still in 5th position and at last, had a mention from the commentator…….. well he had only made up 18 places!!!! Gunn crossed the line in a magnificent 3rd place, only 1.678 s behind the leader. The result was 1st James Golding {Australia} 2nd Samu Kylmala {Finland} and 3rd Ross Gun {Great Britain}. A magnificent recovery from Gunn, 23rd to 3rd, meant that he would line up on the second row for the Final, the highest placed GB driver!


After the lunch-time drivers' parade {yet again, this can be seen on the Rotax Grand Finals Website}, the final would be over a grueling 18 laps, nearly 16 miles of racing! The week culminated at 13.55 hrs when the 34 karts went onto the circuit. Gunn got tremendous coverage by the commentator, as he was never out of the top 4 places. At the first corner Gunn had got into 2nd place. During lap 2 Gunn took the lead, but then dropped to 3rd. At the end of lap 4 Gunn was lying 3rd and held this position for several laps. During lap 8 Gunn took the lead again then back to 3rd and 2nd and then back to the lead! Gunn crossed the line at the end of lap 9 and 10 in 1st place and the commentator did have to admit that "……Gunn has a big advantage!" End of lap 11 Gunn had slipped down to 4th; this is how close it was at the front, a constant changing of positions. One would expect this when you are talking about the best drivers in the World. By the end of lap 12 Gunn was in 2nd position again. By lap 13 Gunn was still in second position, behind fellow team mate Harry Webb. This battle went on and at the end of lap 16 Gunn, was in 3rd position. 2nd placed was regained and then back to 3rd and was then helped back into 4th by a 'bold' driving Esmeijer. Gunn drove brilliantly to end the race in 4th position, only 4.2 seconds behind the leader after a 19 minute race. When interviewed, Gunn was slightly disappointed to not be on the podium, but said that he "……..just ran out of 'puff' and at times couldn't get with then when they passed". To finish 4th in the World, on such a small budget and not practicing before the event is undeniably fantastic.

Everyone who attended ~ Family and friends and all the supporters and followers back in the UK and America………. all send their congratulations to Ross for a wonderful result at such a high level of karting.

To complete the week on a high, GB won the Nation's Cup, beating Canada and Australia {and the other 50+ Nations} showing just how strong the British Super One Championship is around the World, so in summary……………..
                                                                                                                                              GOOD JOB GB!!!!


                                                             The GB racing suits, from the rear!.                                     Drivers' parade forms up in the stand.

                                                    Gunn gets mentally ready for the Final.                         Tooley Motorsport and Gunn line up for the Final.

                            Leading the Finals, ahead of Esmeijer, Thompson & Golding            Gunn with the winning Nations Cup Team


Note: Re viewing the Pre-Final and Finals:-

To see the Pre-final and the Final, go to http://rgf-2012.kart-data.com/ and then move the side slider {to the right of the screen} down. Then choose Saturday 29/11/12 Pre-Finals or Finals {the required videos are above the caption}. Junior Rotax starts at 21m 29s for the Pre-Final and 34 m for the Final {use slider to advance to the appropriate times}.

Gallery - Click on a thumbnail below, to enlarge and view in a separate screen

Flags of the competing Nations

Paddock view: Autodromo in background

View of track from Grandstand

The Australian team's mascot

One of the busy Nations awnings

Karts on the start line before raffle

Gunn (and helpers) collect the kart

Gunn's racing helmet

Glamorous queue for the ladies?

GB flies the flag

Portimao beach

Team GB get ready for the drivers' parade

Finals day, 50% have gone home

Some of the karts not in the Final

The World Trophies

The family discuss the exciting pre-final

Can you hear me in there Joe?

Assembly for the Final (Gunn circled)

Gunn leads the World Finals

Gunn is interviewed after the Final

Tooley Motorsport clean the kart

The return of the kart to Birel

A well deserved hot tub after the Final

Gunn, British Champion and 4th in the World

Gunn represents United Kingdom at the World Karting Finals in Portugal.


Ross Gunn will be representing the United Kingdom, in the Junior Rotax class, at the World Karting Finals in Portugal during the week beginning November 24th. This is a result of winning the British Junior Rotax Championship. Alongside him in the British Team will be Raoul Hyman {3rd in the Super One British Championship} ~ unfortunately 2nd place driver Kyle Fowlie is unable to attend, Harry Webb {Junior Rotax European Champion and 7th in the British Championship}, Jai Nijar and Ryan Anderton.

The event takes place at the prestigious Kartodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimao in Portugal. The 1.6 km kart circuit is alongside the equally impressive 4.5 km Autodromo car circuit, which was finished in 2008 at a cost of €195 million. The event has been running since 2000, with the first location being Puerto Rico. Since then, the World Finals have visited Malaysia, South Africa, Egypt, Spain and Italy. Last year's World Finals took place in the United Arab Emirates. The 2011 World Champion in the Junior Rotax Class was Ukyo Sasahara from Japan; James Singleton from the UK came third.

                                                Autodromo and Kartodromo {arrowed} at Portimao, Portugal.

The event starts on Saturday November 24th with registration for the four different classes ~ Junior Rotax, Senior Rotax, DD2 and DD2 Masters. Gunn will be racing in the Junior Rotax class. On Sunday, the karts, tyres and engines are 'raffled' to the registered drivers. The idea being that everyone racing has an equal chance of becoming the World Champion, as all drivers will have the same equipment. The chassis that are being used are manufactured by Birel and of course, the 125 cc engines are produced by Rotax, as used in the British Championship. Gunn won his British Championship on a Tonykart chassis, so there will be a learning process, not only for the circuit, but also for the chassis. Also on Sunday, scrutineering of helmets, overalls {Gunn will be wearing the GB overalls for this event}, gloves and shoes will take place.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning will be non-qualifying practice for the various classes. The timed qualifying practice session take place on Wednesday afternoon, with the all important barbecue in the evening! Each driver will take part in 3 heats, which take place on Thursday and Friday. The event comes to a climax on Saturday with the pre-Finals and Finals………… the end of a very busy week! For more detail on times of qualifying, heats and finals, see the link below to the World Finals website.

Gunn will be supported at the event by Tooley Motorsport, along with family and friends. This will be a tremendous end to a brilliant year of karting for this talented driver. Gunn would like to thank all sponsors during 2012 for making this happen.


Useful links to the World Finals website:-

World Finals website ~ www.maxchallenge-rotax.com/event2012/grand_final.html

Event program ~ www.maxchallenge-rotax.com/event2012/time_schedule.html

List of Junior Rotax entrants ~ www.maxchallenge-rotax.com/event2012/entry_list.html
   Note: Click on Entry List 'hand', and then Click on Max Junior Box.

To watch the heats, Finals etc. ~ www.maxchallenge-rotax.com/event2012/race_tv.html