With more than 450 registered drivers, the IWF 2022 represents the biggest karting events in the world. After the success of the 10th edition organised in 2021 in Italy at the Adria Karting Raceway, this prestigious competition is coming back to France at the Le Mans International Circuit. IAME Karting, the famous kart engine manufacturer, will welcome 43 different nationalities for a fortnight. The X30 Mini, X30 Master, Z-I and KA100 categories are scheduled from 11 to 16 October, while the very popular X30 Junior and X30 Senior will take part in this great show from 17 to 23 October. The first official qualifying sessions have put Riley Cranham (X30 Mini), Guillaume Barbarin (X30 Master), Markus Kajak (Z-I) and Ewan Carrot (KA100) in pole position.
The best Warriors of the year are on track! After two and a half days of free practice, the stopwatch delivered its verdict and a first hierarchy was established at the end of qualifying. In the middle of the day, the rain came down on the Le Mans karting circuit, which is located just a short distance from the famous 24 Hours race track, and the drivers had to start with karts equipped with rain tyres. The most skillful drivers in these slippery conditions secured the best places for the qualifying heats.
X30 Mini: British domination
The rain that was forecast for the qualifying session was indeed present and the British clearly dominated their opponents. The drivers were divided into three groups, with similar grip conditions for all. Riley Cranham set the fastest lap in Group 1 with a time of 1:15.116 ahead of fellow Briton Lewis Islin, Ireland:s Daniel Kelleher and two other Brits: Kit Belofsky and Noah Baglin. In group 2, Jesse Phillips created a gap of more than 8 tenths with Irishman Keith Grant thanks to a time of 1:15.381, but without being able to improve on Cranham:s time. American Keelan Harvick, Swiss Dan Allemann and Emirati Maxim Bobreshov were also in the lead.
There were two more British drivers in the first two places in group 3, with Henry Domain in 1:15.382 and Roman Kamyab in 1:15.688. Just behind them were Belgium:s Gilles Herman, Dutchman Dean Hoogendoorn and Yu Kun Yao, racing under the Swiss banner. The pole position of Cranham was thus confirmed. Phillips took the 2nd place in the general classification by one thousandth against Domain. At home, the French were in trouble on the wet track, with the female Mia Oger taking the best place of the French clan, but only on 36th position.
Z-I: Markus Kajak, an Estonian in pole position
A reference driver at international level, Estonian Markus Kajak perfectly mastered the rainy conditions of qualifying practice. Improving his lap times as the laps went by, he ended up taking the final pole position in 1:08.206. Only the Belgian Christof Huibers, brilliantly second in 1:08.496, was not relegated to more than a second! The drivers from the north of Europe were the most inspired, since the 3rd place went to the Estonian Ken Algre in front of the Swede Albin Karlsson. Belgium, which has been organising a series for IAME Shifter engines for several years, placed Thomas Cypers and Tim Ver Elst in 5th and 6th positions, with the best Italian coming in just behind in the person of Matteo Franco Segre.
X30 Master: Guillaume Barbarin takes the lead
French champion in X30 Senior in 2020, then in X30 Master in 2022, Guillaume Barbarin is a specialist of the IAME series. Fast in the dry, he is just as fast in the rain, as he set the best lap in group 2 in 1:10.685, more than 9 tenths ahead of his compatriot Maxime Bidard and Finn Timo Adamsson. None of the group 1 riders managed to go under the 1:11. mark. Irish rider Gary Edwards clocked a time of 1:11.004 and was just ahead of Belgian driver Quentin Henry and French driver Fabrice Frete. The hierarchy could obviously change during the qualifying heats. The Belgians Björn Verhamme and Thierry Delré, the Finn Tero Saari or also the Briton Dean Hale will take advantage of this to move up.
KA100: Ewan Carrot fastest
For the first time, the IAME promotion category is joining the IWF! The Covid-19 pandemic, which is still not eradicated in the world, unfortunately prevented several drivers from traveling to Le Mans, notably Australians and Americans. French drivers are in the majority in KA100 and one of them was the fastest, Ewan Carrot, winner of the IAME National Final this season. Finn Aleksi Peltoniemi gave his all but failed to finish 145 thousandths behind the poleman. His compatriot Johan Vilo took 3rd place in the ranking ahead of Belgian Armin Pierle. From Japan, Takeharu Nakamori was 6th behind Frenchman Julien Chastanet.
Timetable of the 1st week of IWF22:
Friday 14th October
Warm-up: 9:00 - 10:10
Qualifying Heats: 10:30 - 15:45
Drivers parade: 17:00 - 18:00
Saturday 15th October
Warm-up: 9:00 - 10:10
End of Qualifying Heats: 10:30 - 15:30
Sunday 16th October
Warm-up: 9:00 - 10:00
Prefinals: 10:00 - 12:00
Finals: 12:30 - 14:00
Podiums: 14:45 - 15:15