The Warriors who qualified for the eleventh edition of the IWF23 put on an absolutely incredible show over four days of competition on the Algarve circuit in Portimao. IAME Motorsport confirmed the success of its organisations throughout the world, which ended in apotheosis with this very high-level final. In the south of Portugal, Khali Atkins in the X30 Senior class, Harry Bartle in the X30 Junior class, Will Green in the X30 Mini class and Viktor Öberg in the X30 Master class were crowned after some thrilling races, in what turned out to be very pleasant weather at the end of October. The IWF remains one of the major karting events of the season.
IAME S.p.A brought all its expertise to bear, providing a major entertainment and festive element to the event, which was particularly appreciated by the participants. The Welcome Party, the presentation of the drivers and the VIP hospitality helped to give this meeting another dimension.
X30 Senior: Khali Atkins, the art of defending to win
As the Komet tyres were under free management throughout the weekend, with the possibility of using the second set of tyres in the heats or Super Heats, the strategic aspect added even more spice to the meeting. The two Super Heats saw a number of twists and turns, with Diogo Pinto (PRT) and Edoardo Ludovico Villa (ITA) winning. Despite all this, Gus Lawrence (GBR) held on to 1st place and Ean Eyckmans (BEL) to 2nd at the start of the Final. It was Eyckmans who took the lead after the lights went out. Khali Atkins, who started 4th, made a magnificent start to the race and was leading the Final on lap 4. From then on, the Jamaican-born Brit chose the tactic of staying in front at all costs, despite the pressure from his rivals.
Like Eyckmans, Malo Bolliet (FRA) also began to harass the IAME Euro Series winner, but to no avail. Fionn MacLaughlin, who had come back from 22nd, also came close to reversing the trend, but lost time with a short off-track session after an intense duel. In the end, Atkins held on to win the IWF23! After a final reversal of position, Bolliet took the runner-up title ahead of Eyckmans. Lawrence had a close look at the podium, before having to be satisfied with 4th place ahead of MacLaughlin. Pacôme Weisenburger's (FRA) superb 17-place recovery enabled him to finish 6th ahead of Danny Carenini (ITA), a great X30 Senior specialist and winner in 2021. Penalties pushed Sam Shaw (GBR), Mehdi Lassoued (FRA), who set the fastest lap, and Elie Goldstein (BEL) out of the top 10, which also included Caden McQueen (GBR), Macauley Bishop (GBR), fighting for a podium place before contact, and Eloi Gonzalez Moreno (ESP) +25.
X30 Junior: Harry Bartle makes the difference by the skin of his teeth
Taking a lap-by-lap look at the Final could make anyone's head spin if they hadn't had the chance to follow this absolutely incredible race. Nearly a dozen drivers were capable of winning the race. Leading the first two laps, Roméo Roussel (FRA) was the first to lose places after contact. Several drivers also went beyond the limits of sportsmanship during duels, resulting in five-second penalties that cost them precious positions.
At the front, Harry Bartle (GBR), Harrison Mackie (GBR), winner of Super Heat 2, Sacha Van't Pad Bosch (NLD), Freddie Lloyd (GBR), who set the fastest lap, and Cathal Clark (GBR) were the most assiduous in taking turns in the top three. In the end, it was Bartle who appeared the most confident, handling the battles with his rivals perfectly. After 17 crazy laps, he took the chequered flag as a big winner. Van't Pad Bosch, who came in just behind after winning his Super Heat in the morning, dropped back to 18th due to a penalty, leaving Mackie and Clark flanked by Bartle on the podium in that order. Starting 11th, Tadgh Buckley finished 4th ahead of cousins Zac Green (+8) and Fred Green. Roussel was disappointed to finish in 8th place behind his compatriot Louis Comyn (FRA), who came back brilliantly from 24th position. Penalties deprived Lloyd and Santiago Dos Santos Alves (PRT) of a top-10 finish. Vilmer Svahn (SWE) +13, Jenson Graham (GBR) +18, Christopher El Feghali (LBN) +23 and Daniel Kelleher (IRL) +18 also made their mark as they climbed back into the top 12.
X30 Mini: Will Green wins on the wire!
Winner of Super Heat 1, Archie Lovatt (GBR) retained the top spot he had already secured on Friday evening after the heats, while Will Green got his day off to a perfect start by winning the second Super Heat. At the end of the first lap of the Final, the top three drivers held their positions, with Lovatt leading ahead of Max Endacott (GBR) and Stig De Raedemaeker (BEL). However, these three drivers were then involved in race incidents and were unable to defend their chances!
For a number of laps, the battle for victory involved Jarlath Sayer (GBR), Bogdan Cosma-Cristofor (ROU) and Oliver Warner (GBR), but Will Green was rewarded for his efforts with a return to the leading group. In fact, Green was only 54th in the Qualifying and 8th on the grid for the Final. The end of the race finally turned in his favour. After some superb overtaking, he triumphed ahead of Cosma-Cristofor and Dan Allemann (CHE), who also put in a very solid final to keep Kacpar Rajpold (POL) and Jack McLoughlin (IRL) behind him, who found himself 7th after a penalty (front fairing position) ahead of Sayer. A partial exit from the lane did not prevent Priam Bruno (BEL) from taking a convincing 6th place behind Warner. A number of drivers then came in wheel-to-wheel, with Austin Newstead (GBR) leading the pack in 9th place.
X30 Master: The crowning of a rich international career for Viktor Öberg
Winning Super Heat 1 on Saturday morning, before John Norris (IRL) did the same in Super Heat 2, François Peurière (FRA) was still the man to beat when the Final began. But with the slipstream effect, Peurière was unable to break away and found himself under threat from his main rival of the meeting, Viktor Öberg. However, the duel didn't stop with these two drivers, as a small train of at least eight drivers formed behind the two leaders.
Shane Daly (IRL) and John Norris (IRL) took their turn to lead the Final. But with four laps to go, a dramatic turn of events changed everything. Peurière and Norris hung on, allowing Viktor Öberg to take advantage and extend his lead. Guillaume Barbarin (FRA), who had started 4th but was only 9th after a difficult first lap, took advantage of the incident to move up to 2nd ahead of Johan Vilo (FIN). The positions didn't change and it was Öberg who took the win, to celebrate a long international career which began in Junior more than 15 years ago. Barbarin took 2nd place on the podium ahead of Vilo. Daly, who had lost six places in a duel, then came home 4th ahead of Gary Edwards (IRL), Mario Barrios (PER) and Thierry Delré (BEL). Jim Ringelberg (NLD), who had finished ahead of these three drivers, dropped back to 8th place due to an incorrectly positioned front fairing. Victor Luz (BRA) and Nicolas Pizzardo (FRA) earned their places in the top 10.
The full standings can be found on the IAME Motorsport app and on the website.