Frustrations in Fagnes
IAME EURO SERIES
Mariembourg, Belgium – situated right on the France – Belgium border, hosted the much-anticipated opening round of the IAME X30 European Championship this weekend. The event would see the best drivers in the world come together to compete against one another for crucial points in the four-race series.
Friday’s practice went well, with times falling as the team tested tyre pressures to suit what would turn out to be a very warm weekend in March.
The first heat of the day on Saturday would be the real test, and show just how competitive the kart – and Joseph – was in relation to the rest of the 56 drivers in the Junior X30 class.
It was a promising start, 2nd place, with over a second gap to the karts behind.
Things went even better in heat 2 where Joseph provided a masterclass in overtaking in kart racing. A performance he repeated in the 3rd and final heat of the day – a perfect conclusion to Saturday’s racing.
Sunday morning didn’t have the same bright blue skies as the teams flocked to the track early for a day full of racing. There was also the potential for rain later in the day. Although Joseph has demonstrated a history of dominant performances in the wet, other teams on the grid had raced here two weeks ago in the rain – the Coles team had not – and as a result the other teams had much more data at their disposal should the skies open.
We needn’t have worried about rain as the day continued to get hotter and hotter with no signs of it stopping – perfect conditions for the flowing circuit of Karting des Fagnes, Belgium.
With points awarded for both the Pre-Final and the Final, pressure was on for another day of 1st place finishes. That’s exactly what happened in the Pre-Final, starting from 2nd, Joseph quickly took the lead. With 4 laps to go however Joseph would find himself in 5th. A charge in the the closing stages of the race would see an overtaking move no-one had attempted all weekend – one which was executed perfectly to catapult Joseph in to 2nd place. This would be followed by another impressive overtake resulting in the race win.
Lining up on the grid for the Final in first place, it was Joseph’s race to win. Although the drivers behind had all shown strong lap times over the weekend, none had demonstrated success as consistently as Joseph.
Early in the race a couple of places were conceded, but in karting this is nothing unexpected, owing to both the drag and the push the karts behind obtain from “the tow”. He stayed with the pack and it looked that he was biding his time to make another show-stopping overtake. Although threats of this were shown, no moves stuck. All was not lost however as there was still time to make a charge for the lead. This charge would be quickly halted when a coming together by karts trailing Joseph resulted in his kart being hit from behind – catapulting him into the kart in front. He would then cross the line in fifth along with significant visible damage showing. Despite protests the controversial nose-cone penalty was still applied, pushing Joseph down the standings to 14th.
A frustrating end to what was shaping up to be a significant victory.
Next race is 13/14th April – British Championship Round 1.