Morgado scoops fifth World Campionship
Durban’s veteran kart racer Cristiano Morgado won the 2018 Rotax DD2 Masters Grand Final world championship in Brazil on Saturday 1 December.
The 39-year-old started from pole position in the final and led from green light to the winner's flag in very hot conditions. He was hounded all the way during the 20-lap final, initially by fellow South African Michael Stephen of Port Elizabeth and then by Antti Ollikainen of Finland and Fraser Hart of New Zealand. Stephen finished in a close fifth place behind Matthew Hamilton of New Zealand and the top five were covered by just five seconds.
Morgado’s win was a recordmaking fifth World Championship karting title in the annual Rotax Grand Finals, first held in Puerto Rico in 2000. This latest win brings the victory tally of South Africans in this international series to 13.
Morgado won his first Rotax world title in 2003 and was the World DD2 Masters Champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
He dedicated the victory to his father, Rui, who has supported him in a racing career that stretches back more than three decades. Apart from karting, Morgado has competed at the top level of single-seater racing in Europe and in 2006 he finished second in the British Formula Three Championship.
Every driver that makes it to the Rotax Grand Finals has gained entry through winning a championship in the region in which he or she has competed throughout 2018. to gain entry to the Rotax World Championshp event.
Michael Stephen, competing in his third Grand finals, ran second for a number of laps just behind Morgado, but was caught in the closing stages by Ollikainen, Hart and Hamilton.
Another KZN-based driver Jonathan Pieterse, finished an excellent 10th, after qualifying 18th for the finals. This was the experienced Pieterse’s best result in the world championship to date. He was very quick all week in the elimination races in Brazil and also enjoyed a fantastic season in Rotax karting in 2018 in South Africa.
This year 12 South African drivers qualified for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and all of them acquitted themselves well.
Cristiano Morgado, five-times World Rotax karting champion.