|17 October 2016|
Kip Foster has finished a strong, yet frustrating, second at the 2016 IAME International Final. Awarded a controversial 'equal' first place with the UK's Graham Hill last year, Foster returned in the hope of taking the world #1 title outright.
Ranked 4th after the heats, Kip (Kosmic) was 3rd in the pre-final, having fallen back a few positions at the start. He slotted into second at the start of the final and pressured eventual winner Jeremy Peclers all the way, but had to settle for second, just 0.291s behind.
Above: X30 Masters gets underway, Kip Foster (red helmet) quickly slotting into 2nd place (pic - CT Photos.fr)
Meanwhile, Cooper Webster put in a strong drive in Junior X30, but was not able to get out of the mid-pack scrum caused by a heat race DNF. Starting 25th in the pre-final, two off-track incidents restricted his progress to 23rd. After running as high as 13th in the final, he was eventually classified 21st, running lap times worthy of the top ten. Webster will now compete in this weekend's Rok World Cup.
Zac Soutar was the next best placed Australian, taking 13th in Senior X30 pre-final 'B'. Toby Pope was 11th in X30 Senior pre-final 'C', while the other juniors - Jack Doohan and Flynn Jackes - carded 20th and 22nd respectively in Junior X30 Pre-Final 'C'.
Above: The podium drivers, 2016 IAME International (pic - CT Photos.fr)
IAME's event press release
Spectacle, suspense, worthy winners and flawless organisation!
Today, the French and British national anthems resounded twice through the Sarthe pine forests and those of Italy and Belgium once. The Europeans came out on top on the Le Mans international circuit even though drivers from all over the world flocked to the legendary track.
In the majority of categories the suspense lasted till the very end and often the winners were decided in the closing metres of the finals. Again this year, the IAME International Final proved that it is one of the most important events of the season as much from a sporting as from a popular point of view.
(pic - CT Photos.fr)
Oliver York was only 130th after timed practice because of an engine that did not comply, but he never gave up and threw himself into the fray. He took advantage of the numerous qualifying heats to fight his way up through the field and clinch his place among the finalists. He continued to push in the pre-final and the final. Up front Frenchman Victor Martins was unable to fight off the attacks of several British drivers after his victory in the pre-final. There was an amazing no-holds-barred battle between Oliver Clarke, Callum Bradshaw and Oliver York, who had finally got among the front-runners like Belgian, Ugo De Wilde. York came out on top and scored an absolutely mind-boggling victory while Bradshaw snatched second place from Clarke. French driver Gillian Henrion made a fantastic final charge and took fourth in front of De Wilde.
Above: X30 Junior winner (pic - CT Photos.fr)
Even though the clouds floated away from the skies over the Le Mans international circuit it was as if the heavens had fallen on the head of Oliver Hodgson in the final! The winner of the pre-final had built up a comfortable lead in the final until his transmission let him down on the 16th of the 21 laps. His fellow-countryman Hugo Ellis took over the lead after a superb charge up through the field as he was in 16th place on the grid. Portuguese Andriy Pits drove a great race and installed himself in an uncontested second place leaving Dutchman Mike Bartels and Joël Deptuch from France to go head-to-head for third with Bartels coming out on top. Another French driver, Giacomo Napolitano, snatched fifth from Marco Paul from Germany at the flag.
(pic - CT Photos.fr)
Victor Compère from France was head and shoulders above his rivals in the pre-final and final scoring a well-deserved victory. Behind him a ding-dong battle raged. Vincent Fraïsse who started on the first row was hemmed in at the start and was never able to fight his way back to the front. Thomas Bale from the United Arab Emirates managed to outpace the very quick Frenchman Kevin Breysse and saw the flag in second place. Ulysse De Pauw made an incredible comeback. The Belgian started in 30th place after his retirement in the pre-final and carved his way up through the field to cross the line in fourth place in front of two of his fellow-countrymen, Maxime Potty and Maxime Drion, after passing 26 drivers!
(pic - CT Photos.fr)
Belgian Jérémy Peclers who was on pole took the lead in the race with Australian Kip Foster in his wake. In the meantime, Wilfrid Lecarpentier was doing his best to fend off the attacks of Nicolas Duchateau, who’d made a great start, Gildas Quinquet and Graham Hill. Many spectators at the trackside thought that Foster was just waiting for the right moment. But Peclers held on and won this final. After swapping places a few times with fellow-countryman Quinquet, Lecarpentier clinched third place on the podium. Reigning champion, another Frenchman Gérard Cavalloni, was unable to find a way past British driver Hill and came home sixth behind Duchateau. Despite a penalty in the pre-final because of a detached spoiler French driver Franck Rouxel came out on top in the veteran category winning from Kenneth Chung, Willy Runget, Jacky Foulatier and Jorge Busato.
The eagerly-awaited no-holds-barred duel between Matteo Vigano from Italy and British driver Sean Babington didn’t disappoint. Vigano who won the pre-final was caught out by Babington at the start. The two drivers swapped the lead on several occasions and finally Vigano held off his rival to clinch victory. Estonian Sten Piirimagi came out on top in a final skirmish with the Englishman and snatched second. Thierry Delré finished not far behind these aces leaving his pursuers, among which were Lebanese Karl Massaad and Vincent Herblot from France, well in arrears.
Above: Vigano, 1st Super Shifter (pic - CT Photos.fr)