With over a hundred drivers representing 14 nationalities, exciting races, friendly atmosphere, good weather and a rolling format, the third edition of the X30 Challenge Europa held at the Karting Des Fagnes circuit in Mariembourg has been a great success. French and Belgians shared the podium laurels in all four categories.

X30 Junior: Lambert uncatchable!
Not a stroll in the park, but close! A few weeks after the Belgian championship, Anthony Lambert (Kosmic) repeated his stunning performance. The young driver of the RSD team held on to first place from qualifying practice through both of the two decisive races, his dominion never questioned. Instead, behind him the battle for the silver medal was intense. At the end of the weekend, Belgian Maxime Drion (Sodi) took the second step of the X30 Challenge podium, thanks to his second place finish in Race 1 ahead of French driver Julien Andlauer (OK1). Ulysses De Pauw closed fourth, just one point short of the podium, despite his excellent  battle in Race 2 where he finished third. Another top player of the weekend was Gilles Magnus (Formula Gilles): starting from the front row, in Race 1 he slid back to the last position on field after just two laps, but in Race 2 he made up for bad luck with a heroic recovery up to 8th place. The Top 10  also includes German drivers Maximilain Paul and Luis Glania (Praga), the Portuguese Diego Garcia de Araujo Pinto (FA) and French rookie Teo Laforge (Sodi), fresh from the Cadet category. Michelle Halder (Wild Kart), repeated her excellent performance from last year in Lyon by winning the 2014 title of “best female driver” of the weekend.
X30 Senior: Fraisse does it again!
The start of the weekend, Belgian driver Romain De Leval (LH) left Mariembourg with a bitter aftertaste... The fastest on track in both races on Sunday, in Race 1 the Eurokarting pilot started from P7 and, swept by the starting “traffic”, dropped to 11th by the end of the first lap, but from here sliced his way back up to close 4th. In race 2, De Leval worked his way to first place by lap 7 and from here never let go of the lead, dominating  unchallenged until the end. Yet, at the end of the weekend, De Leval had to settle for the second step of the podium. The gold laurels, in fact, went to defending champion Vincent Fraisse (Sodi ): second in both races (just 29 thousands of a second behind De Leval in Race 2), the French driver collected enough points to secure his victory for the second year in a row. A result that confirms his excellent driving skills, as well as some luck, as he himself confirmed after the weekend, considering that his fierce driving in Race 1 came just shy of risking penalties – in short, that extra bit of luck that makes champions out of great drivers. Race 1 winner François Bécamel (Kosmic) rounded off the podium,  placing 3rd best overall ahead of fellow French drivers Kevin Breysse (Art GP) and Hubert Petit (Tony Kart), both constantly up front all weekend, but not enough to make the podium. Other top players of the weekend, grabbing the spotlight in different phases, were Beranger Dierckx , Sébastien Bedoret, qualifying poleman Jérémy Demarque, Victor Compere, Joey Van Splunteren and “Lady” Ingrid Girard, 13th best overall after the heats in an otherwise all-male field. The “bad luck award”, instead, went to Matteo Viganò, Anthony Cost, and Maxime Potty: for them, especially Potty, this is a weekend to forget.

X30 Master: confirmation for Bielande, surprise by Trott!
Running on his “home turf” Sébastien Bielande (Kosmic) closed the weekend with a triumphant 1st place podium, giving the RSD Karting team a great victory. Yet, it was not an easy feat. In fact, the Belgian had to face British menace Chris Trott (Tony Kart) all weekend long, as early as the heats. In Race 1, Bielande eventually had to surrender to his rival on the very last lap, after an amazing hand to hand duel. It was only in Race 2 that the Kosmic driver managed to escape and fly off to win both the race and the championship podium. In this he was also helped by Trott’s “bad luck” in Race 2, where he was relegated to 5th place – not what he had hoped for, considering until then he was in reach of the top spot. Second on the championship podium, Trott also received the “consolation prize” of a Vital Motorsport cash award for his first top-level event outside Great Britain.  Another Belgian Christophe Adams rounded off the podium, ahead of a bitter Nicolas Bervoets (Kosmic), who could have aimed for the “bronze medal” if it hadn’t been for a bad start in Race 2. 2011 X30 Europa Champion Luc Lefevre (Kosmic) completed the top 5,  besting defending title holder Nicolas Duchateau (Tecno), excellent all weekend, but penalized for an early start in the second race. The other “sour looser” of the weekend was Belgian ICA champion Fabien Kieltyka (Merlin): in Race 1 he was in the battle for the podium when a mechanical issue (a loose pin) forced him to retire, then in Race 2 he sliced his way up from the last spot on field  all the way to 2nd , ticking off one rival after another, driving the best lap of the race, and, most importantly, proving he had what it took to be up there basking in glory. What a pity! A note of mention also goes to Italian driver Tino Donadei (Top Kart) and Peruvian driver Mario Barrios (Gillard), respectively 12th and13th after a difficult weekend.

X30 Shifter : Youth power
15 year old Amaury Bonduel (Art GP), at his first season in the X30 Shifter class, consecrated his move up to the category and taking his first major career victory, making up for the one he barely missed in the 2013 IAME International Final as a Junior! The French driver held on to the top spot all weekend, going home with an unquestioned triumph that seals his “initiation” as a Shifter driver. The only one able to keep up with him was Belgian driver Charles Kenny (Merlin), 2nd best overall.  Registered at the last minute, the Monegasque Clivio Piccione, former GP2 winner and FIA GT1 World Champion, round off the championship podium, by making up for his 5th place finish in Race 1 with a stunning best-lap rise to 3rd in the second race. Two times champion Thierry Delré this time around had to settle for closing the weekend in 4th place ahead of fellow Belgians Thomas Cypers and Frederik Op de Beeck. Among the few “foreigners” on the field, Danish driver Michael Sorensen rounded off the Top 10, while Portugal’s Rui Miguel Costa Carneiro closed 12th.

IAME wishes to thank the partners of the X30 Challenge Europa, the organizer, all collaborators, sponsors, teams, and above all, all the drivers who participated with great enthusiasm and made this fantastic  event possible. See you in Le Mans!