Major worldwide event for IAME has gotten underway at Le Mans!

The international IAME final that has attracted a huge, quality-packed field is one of the biggest karting events of the sporting year.

The 2018 meeting is no exception with 466 drivers and all the big names among the major international teams attending. No fewer than 47 countries are represented at this event, which is spread out over a week. The big ACO complex beside Le Mans (France) is the ideal place to host this vast organisation, which is already celebrating its seventh anniversary! The IAME Italian factory that's well known in karting circles and creator of the X30 Challenge has every reason to be proud of this major worldwide event.

While we do not yet know the names of the winners here's the state of play after the official qualifying sessions.

X30 Senior: the Strawberry team on top

The 144 entries thought that they had done a perfect job preparing for this very important timed session after running on a dry track in free practice. But then it began to rain on Wednesday in the middle of the afternoon just as the first drivers were getting ready to take to the track. Everybody had to shod wet weather tyres and in these tricky conditions experienced Australian Pierce Lehane (Tony Kart) clinched a superb pole position. His British team-mate, Mark Kimber, (Tony Kart) made it a double for the Strawberry Racing team. Into third and fourth came another British driver, Clayton Ravenscroft (Kosmic), and Italian Leonardo Caglioni (KR).

X30 Junior: Victorsson quickest

As in X30 Senior, the track was still damp late on Wednesday afternoon for timed practice for the 12-14 year olds. Pole position changed hands on several occasions and finally Philip Victorsson (Kosmic) from Sweden set the fastest lap overall. The recently crowned FIA Karting Junior World Champion, Victor Bernier (Kosmic), did not disappoint and bagged second place in front of Belgian Loïs Delbart (Kosmic) and English driver Taylor Barnard (KR), who flies the colours of the Rosberg Young Drivers' Academy.

X30 Mini: 70 drivers battling for pole

The number of the youngest drivers has gone from 36 to 70 in only a year, proof of the meteoric rise in popularity of this category all over the world. On Thursday, the circuit was dry again and Spaniard Miguel Peiro Luzarraga (FA Kart) shone at the wheel of his machine in the colours of the make created by Fernando Alonso by taking first place. The 2017 winner, Brent Crews (KR) from America, is ready to pounce from second place on the grid in front of Frenchman Maxens Verbrugge (Parolin) and Brit Freddie Slater (KR).

X30 Master: The French dominate

For several years now the over-30s category has been the happy hunting ground of French drivers and they confirmed this in 2018 by clinching the first three places. François Peurière (Tony Kart) set the fastest time in front of Alexandre Leotta (KR) and Julien Poncelet (Top Kart). Into fourth came Brazilian Leonardo Nienkotter (Comp Kart).   X30 Super: Callum Bradshaw tops the time sheets

This category in which the karts are powered by the ultra-powerful 45 bhp engine for a weight of 155 kg attracts not only very talented drivers who are major competition regulars, but also amateurs hell-bent on experiencing thrills. British hope Callum Bradshaw (CRG) set pole followed by Dane Nicklas Nielsen (Praga) entered under the banner of Ralf Schumacher's RS team. Englishman Danny Keirle (KR), who is coming from X30 Senior category, was third quickest in front of Frenchman Pierre Loubère (Praga).

Super Shifter: Swiss driver Rohrbasser sets the fastest time

In the only category using an engine with a gearbox (175cc, 6 speeds), Swiss driver Nicolas Rohrbasser was fastest with a stunning lap one-tenth-and-a-half seconds quicker than Brit Thomas Bale (Kosmic). Besides sealing pole position the Spirit Racing team also put Swiss driver Kevin Ludi (Kosmic) in fourth place behind Frédéric Op De Beeck (Formula K). As in the Mini, Master and Super categories the drivers' timed sessions took place on a dry track.   The qualifying heats have already begun in all the categories and will continue until Saturday evening. The finals will take place on Sunday 14th October 2018.

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