Three weeks after this year’s Winter Cup at Valencia, RGMMC’s IAME Euro Series returned to the Karting des Fagnes track in Belgium, for the first of four rounds of the 2021 international series. A completely sold-out event saw large fields taking to the track in all categories making it for a spectacular weekend! As often in Mariembourg, there was a mix of weather conditions, especially with the rain making its appearance on Saturday afternoon to spice up the action.
In the Mini category, the final victory went to the consistent front-runner Sacha Van't Pad Bosch, while in Junior we had one of the weekend’s revelations, Théophile Nael, and in Senior a thrilling battle saw Aaron Walker taking a decisive win!
42 drivers took place in the ever-growing Mini category, with Jesse Phillips (Oliver Rowland Motorsport) being the quickest in Friday’s Qualifying in front of Roman Kayab (Fusion Motorsport) and Henry Domain (Oliver Rowland Motorsport).
On Saturday, Ben Smith (Fusion Motorsport) won all of his three heats, finishing ahead of Sacha Van’t Pad Bosch (Fusion Motorsport), Zac Drummond (Fusion Motorsport) and Domain, winners of the remaining races. Tiziano Kuzhini (Spirit-Racing.ch) put himself in the game by defeating Van’t Pad Bosch and Smith in the Prefinal.
Van’t Pad Bosch was determined to have the last say in the Final, taking an early lead in front of Kamyab and Kuzhini! Still, the Dutchman didn’t have an easy lead as his two competitors chased him closely. With the chequered flag in sight, the battle for second place took a more heated turn as Kamyab and Kuzhini exchanged positions in the last two laps, the Swiss eventually keeping Kamyab at bay until the finish.
William Macintyre (KR Sport) was expected to be a front runner after his strong performance in Valencia, and indeed set the Qualifying’s fastest lap of the 49-driver Junior field, followed by Theophile Nael (2NRacing) and Leo Robinson (Fusion Motorsport).
With a rare mechanical problem forcing Macintyre back in the Saturday classification, Nael turned out to be the driver to beat with three heat wins, ahead of Fionn McLaughlin (Fusion Motorsport) and Jayden Thien (KSM). Coming to Sunday, Nael confirmed his ambitions with a Prefinal win from Thien and Robinson.
The Final led to another strong performance by the Frenchman, achieving his first victory in the IAME Euro Series after dominating the 14-lap race from lights to flag! Despite his front row start, Thien could not contain his opponents’ charge and fell down the order, as Robinson, Pol Chaos Rivero (FA Racing Spain) and McLaughlin took turns in occupying the second place. The latter eventually held on to it until the finish line, despite a strong return from Bart Harrison (Mick Barrett Racing) who completed the podium.
Sebastian Hedin (KH Racing) took a surprise pole position ahead of an abundance of strong names that filled with 88 entrants ahead Enzo Lévêque (Team KLN) and the returning World Champion Callum Bradshaw (Strawberry Racing).
From Friday evening and the entire Saturday, there was intense action in the qualifying heats, which saw Mark Kimber (Strawberry Racing) climbing to the lead thanks to his four wins, eventually beating Bradshaw and Lévêque. On Sunday morning, the Prefinal saw a change of order again with Bradshaw getting the best in front of Lévêque and Aaron Walker (Strawberry racing).
The Senior final saw a frenetic race from the start, as Bradshaw felling down to fifth while Lévêque quickly made his move on Walker for the lead. Meanwhile, Sean Butcher (KR Sport) and Oliver Greenall (Fusion Motorsport) got in the game exchanging positions for the duration of the race making it as unpredictable as ever! As the 18-lap race progressed, Walker came back on Lévêque’s tail and moved up to the lead. The Frenchman, while trying to keep up with his rival’s pace, also had to contain Bradshaw’s return, who, entering the final lap, had gotten back to third and launched a dive for the lead! A tussle between the Lévêque and Bradshaw for the lead saw them both briefly off track, giving space for Walker to take a sensational victory! While Lévêque kept his second position, Bradshaw received a five-second penalty, promoting Greenall on the podium’s third step.
After this thrilling race, the season’s first leader in Mini is Van’t Pad Bosch with 92 points, closely followed by Kuzhnini (90) and Smith (85). The Junior classification is currently topped by Nael, 93 points, in front of McLaughlin and Robinson, on equal score (84). In the Senior’s standings, Walker leads with 91 points, two ahead of Lévêque, 89, with Kimber third at 83.
The second race of the 2021 IAME Euro Series will take place from May 20th to 23rd on the Circuito Internacional de Zuera, in Spain.