The fourth and last IAME X30 Euro-Series Kart Prix of 2017 took place in Castelletto 7 Laghi, in the region of Pavia in Italy, just south of Milan. The weather was predicted wet, but eventually it remained mostly sunny, with the heavy rains coming only overnight, leaving the track wet for the early sessions of Saturday and Sunday.
There was a lot to play for in all categories, as the championship standings were pretty open. While at first sight the championship leaders looked set, with the drop-points system anything could have happened following the outcome of this race.
The event concluded with Laurens Van Hoepen, Chris Lulham and Mark Kimber the winners in X30 Mini, X30 Junior and X30 senior respectively, and the series crowning Laurens Van Hoepen, Angus Moulsdale and Brett Ward as the 2017 X30 Mini, Junior and Senior champions.
The race started with Diego Laroque setting the fastest laptime in Qualifying Practice on Friday, while the championship leaders found themselves a bit out of place: Laurens van Hoepen, Bart Ploeg and Maximus Mayer, the points leading trio, only managed fourth, sixth and second respectively. Nathan Ottink managed to get himself in between, in third place.
Following the night rain, Saturday’s first heat took place on a still very wet track, which saw a good recovery from Van Hoepen and Ploeg finishing first and second, with Kimmy Abraham third right behind them. Poleman Laroque fell back in fourth, and Maximus Meyer fifth. Van Hoepen’s good recovery continued in the following heat with another first place ahead of Laroque and Ploeg, and the same three were again in front for the last heat, but with Laroque this time ahead of Van Hoepen and Ploeg. This put Laroque on pole position for Sunday’s prefinal ahead of Laroque and Ploeg in third.
Once again on Saturday night there was heavy rain that left the track wet for the first sessions on Sunday, resulting in the mini prefinal to take place in full wet conditions. Van Hoepen once again showed his speed finishing first, a full 7.8” ahead of Laroque in second and Ploeg in third. Meyer’s difficulties worsened as he finished the prefinal down in 9th position.
The track had dried and the sky was clear for the final race. As soon as the race started, Ploeg challenged for the lead, but a mistake soon saw him drop to fourth, quite some distance behind the leader Van Hoepen who had already opened up a gap from the second and third. However Ploeg fought his way back, overtook, and closed the gap to 3.8” from the leader, but didn’t have the speed to challenge for the win anymore. Laroque finished right on his tail, only 0.055” behind, in third place. Meyer who had started from ninth came all the way back to third, and collected the necessary points to maintain his championship standing.
Having missed last race in Salbris, Chris Lulham hit the track determined to make up the lost ground and straight away showed his speed by setting the fastest lap time in Qualifying Practice. Second on Friday was the Frenchman Enzo Joulie, while third went Georgi Dimitrov.
Saturday morning’s changing conditions, a result of the night’s heavy rain, meant that several drivers left the tire decision until last minute so that they could make the best choice for the quickly drying track. Several drivers got caught out, with most notable the poleman Lulham not making it to the grid on time to take part in the heat. A mix of tire strategies found Tijmen Van Der Helm winning, Shibab Al Habsi second and Joulie third. In the second heat however things got back to normal, with Lulham winning, Van Der Helm second and Dimitrov third. Lulham won again in the last heat of the day with Van Der Helm once again second, and Van T’hoff grabbing the third place this time. This left Van Der Helm in first place for Sunday, Dimitrov second, and Angus Moulsdale in third. Lulham, as a result of the first heat DNS qualified down in 6th place.
Once again on Sunday morning the drivers found themselves having to make a difficult tire choice on a quickly drying track, but this time they made a strategy gamble, rather than leaving it last minute and risking again getting left out. This made for a prefinal split in two halves, where in the first few laps the drivers that had chosen to drive on wet tires pulled away, but as soon as the track dried, the drivers on dry tires started lapping more than 5 seconds a lap quicker, and regaining positions. The winner of this prefinal was Moulsdale, with Joulie second and Ali Akabi third.
The karts were put on the grid for the final, and the race got going back on sunny and dry conditions. Moulsdale took the lead with his teammate Kai Askey quickly overtaking Joulie and going on his tail. Askey challenged for the lead while the two were pulling away from the rest of the field. Lulham however determined to make up the lost ground quickly made positions from 7th place, passed to third by lap nine and soon caught up with the leaders. An intense battle of the three saw Moulsdale lose the lead and dropping to third, with Askey capitalizing on the opportunity and getting second position while Lulham got the win.
A full grid for the X30 senior category saw the drivers divided in two Qualifying Practices and 4 groups. Mark Kimber was quickest in the first qualifying practice, with Thanapongpan Sutumno second and Brett Ward in third. Joey Van Splunteren was the fastest in the second Qualifying Practice, with Yarne Goovaerts and Ben Wooldridge in third.
Senior’s Qualifying heats, in contrast to the other two categories, all took place in a completely dry track. Ward showed dominant pace winning all three of his own heats, this way qualifying first for Sunday, while Kimber won two of his own and getting second, and Van Splunteren won one and qualified third.
The prefinal took place in a dry but slightly humid track, which made it slippery in the very beginning, but clean with good grip after a few laps. Van Splunteren got the best out of the early conditions while Ward tried to defend from Kimber and Wooldridge. Eventually Ward came out of this battle and as soon as he found the grip he started setting fast lap after fast lap, catching and overtaking Van Splunteren, and finishing almost 5 second ahead, while Van Splunteren finished second with Kimber right behind him.
As soon as the final got underway another intense battle started taking place between Ward, Kimber, Van Splunteren and Wooldridge. The four changed positions several times, with Ward, Kimber and Van Splunteren all taking turns for the lead. A slight tangle saw Van Splunteren dropping out of this battle and back to sixth place, while Kimber only needed to find himself in clear air to pull away as Ward was busy defending from Wooldridge. Kimber crossed the line in first, with Ward second and Wooldridge third.
Euro Series Crowns
The 2017 X30 Euro Series concluded after the winter cup and four Kart-Prix, crowning Brett Ward the X30 Senior Champion, Jordan Brown-Nutley second and Oliver Clarke third. Angus Moulsdale became the X30 Junior champion, with Lulham second after missing one round, and Evan Spenle third. X30 Mini champion was Laurens Van Hoepen, with Bart Ploeg in second and Maximus Mayer third.
Live Streaming, Highlights, and media galleries.
The X30 Euro Series had all-weekend coverage all season long, which was available to stream worldwide, provided by Telemundi Media. All races were made available on youtube as well as interviews and highlights on Telemundi Media’s channel https://www.youtube.com/telemundimedia
The video race report can be found here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu5w5sgXlfg
Photos of all the leader of every day, as well as race highlights by The RaceBox can be found on the websites of X30 Euro series www.x30euro.com, Telemundi Media www.telemundi.com, and the X30 Euro Series facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/x30euro/
See you in 2018!