|15 October 2016|
Australians Kip Foster and Cooper Webster have both enjoyed heat wins at the IAME International Final at LeMans. Progressive results for the seven Aussies below.
The remaining heat races will be run tonight, followed by Pre-finals and Finals on Sunday.
Above: Driver briefing
IAME press release Saturday
After several free practice and qualifying sessions the drivers got down to brass tacks on the Le Mans international circuit. No fewer than three days are being devoted to the qualifying heats in the different categories of the Challenge X30, so the final order of the drivers for the final phases on Sunday won’t be known until late afternoon on Saturday. In the meantime, the on-track spectacle is a real thriller! The changing weather conditions have added a touch of extra spice to the event. The 2016 International IAME Final is really living up to its promise. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of the provisional hierarchy.
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X30 Junior: Victor Martins dominates
Pole position setter, Ugo De Wilde from Belgium, confirmed his pace by winning the first heat. But several others relayed him in first place including numerous British drivers, some Frenchmen, an Irishman and an Australian. At this stage of the event French driver Victor Martins has stamped his authority on the proceedings with four wins in five heats.
X30 Senior: a very open category
As in the Junior category the drivers are divided up into eight series and have seven heats on their programme from Thursday morning to Saturday evening. The main aim of the majority is to be one of the 34 finalists. But with 124 drivers in this category it looks like many of them are facing an uphill challenge. Among the front-runners are consistent performers like Oliver Hogdson from England and American David Malukas, winner in X30 Junior in 2015, as well as a few surprises such as Frenchmen Gillian Lay, Corentin Collignon, Jean-Baptiste Scheurer and Christopher Chany.
X30 Master: Jérémy Peclers in the lead
With two victories in two heats in the over 30-year-old category, it’s mission accomplished for Jérémy Peclers from Belgium. He still has one race to go to confirm his status and ensure his place on pole for the pre-final. Gildas Quinquet and Kip Foster also won one heat each. Best of the veterans (45 years old and over) was Franck Rouxel.
X30 Super: the French are favourites
French driver Vincent Fraïsse won the first heat from his fellow-countryman Victor Compère on a dry track before the arrival of the rain for the second in which Compère came out on top beating Belgian Ulysse de Pauw: he drove home his advantage in the third heat in fine weather.
X30 Super Shifter: Sean Babington’s hat trick
The first heat started with the retirement of the pole sitter Matteo Vigano from Italy. Sean Babington from the United Arab Emirates hit the front and won the next two heats showing a clean pair of heels to his rivals, including Vigano who was unable to mount a challenge. Watch this space!
IAME press release Friday
The X30 Challenge continues its spectacular progress worldwide proved by the huge success of the 2016 IAME International Final in the kart milieu, as almost 400 drivers from over 40 nationalities travelled to Le Mans, one of the major motor sporting Meccas in the world. Both quality and quantity are present and the overall level of the drivers continues to improve. From young motor sport hopes to skilled amateurs the X30 Challenge positions itself as a popular event and one that’s also very interesting from a sporting point of view. Thanks to the quality of the engines supplied by the Italian IAME factory, above all it’s the talent of the drivers and their team’s know-how that make the difference. The result is a thrilling competition with a brilliant organisation that has little to envy that of a world championship. The early stages of qualifying have proved that there will be nail-biting suspense between now and the finals on Sunday!
X30 Junior: tiny gaps
130 drivers at the start in the 13-15 year-old category and a difference of less than a second a lap between the first and the 100th place! Making it into the final will be like climbing Everest! Belgian Ugo De Wilde took pole position followed by Brit Chris Lulham and Kilian Meyer from Spain. Dick Yu from Hong-Kong created a big upset by clinching fourth place in front of one of the great French hopes, Victor Martins.
X30 Senior: Great Britain tops the time sheets
Predicting the winner in one of the most attractive categories in international kart racing will be a difficult task as there are so many favourites. European drivers filled the best positions in timed practice with Brit Danny Keirle topping the time sheets in front of Max Sjolander from Sweden, Marco Paul from Germany and Frenchman, Joël Deptuch.
X30 Master: Quinquet shines on home turf
Gildas Quinquet lives near the Le Mans international circuit and used his local know-how to set the fastest time in the over 32-year-old category. British driver Gary Turkington was only five-hundredths-of-a-second behind. Third place went to Jérémy Peclers from Belgium who finished in front of a former winner of the event, Australian Kip Foster. Guty Michelsen symbolised the growing interest in Peru for karts with the fifth-best time ahead of Jesse Bouhet, the 2015 French champion. The Veteran category for drivers of at least 45 is included in this class and Italian Tino Donadei was quickest in this group.
X30 Super: internecine duel in the RSD camp
This category, introduced in 2016, has won its bet by attracting a large field full of very talented drivers. Straight away the RSD Karting team’s two drivers, Maxime Drion from Belgium and Frenchman Victor Compère filled the first two places with Dutchman Joey van Splunteren, German Simon Steffen and another Belgian, William Godefroid, waiting in ambush.
X30 Super Shifter: revenge in the air!
The drivers in karts powered by the powerful 175 cc engine with gearbox went at it hammer and tongs, in particular pole setter, Matteo Vigano. The Italian was unlucky last year so he’s out for revenge. Sean Babington, who is continuing his career in the United Emirates, took second place followed by Yoann Sousa from Portugal, Dutchman Roy Bakker and Belgian Frédéric Op de Beeck.