The first race of the 2020 IAME Euro Series had all the ingredients of an exciting racing event, last weekend on the Aunay-Les-Bois Circuit of Essay, where Callum Bradshaw was untouchable in Senior, Santiago Vallve snatched the Junior win in a thriller-Final and Cathal Clark was awarded the post-race victory at the end of tight battle in the Mini class!
The fight for glory raged in all three classes with plenty of thrilling moments from Friday to Sunday at the opener of the international competition for IAME classes in France. The weather at Essay kept teams and drivers on their toes with surprise raindrops making their appearance and forcing everyone on standby for tire changes.
The British driver Callum Bradshaw proved to be unbeatable from start to finish in the Senior class against up to 50 participants. In Junior, the Spaniard Santiago Vallve took his first class win in a Final turned on its head in the last two laps, while Cathal Clark was named Mini winner following a penalty for Fionn McLaughlin! The “Driver of the Day” trophies, introduced in the series for 2020, went to Sacha Maguet, Archie Walker and Denis Curavale.
As usual, the event had video stream coverage throughout the entire duration of the weekend and additional behind the scenes video footage, showing the continuous commitment of RGMMC to the promotion of its races.
Callum Bradshaw (Fusion Motorsport) delivered an impressive performance in the Senior class by remaining unbeaten during the entire weekend at Essay. The 2019 season runner-up topped the qualifying order on Friday ahead of his countryman Harry Platten (BMR) and the Spaniard Maximus Mayer (Fusion Motorsport). He kept the upper hand on Saturday with four heat victories, leading the field in front of Platten, winner of two qualifying races, and Guy Cunnington (Strawberry Racing) who climbed to the third rank with a win and a pair of second places.
Bradshaw, winner of the Prefinal, took the best start in Sunday’s Final and quickly distanced his pursuers. Behind the leader, the battle for podium was still tight between Enzo Lévêque (Team KLN) and Cunnington, followed by Dylan Léger (Kart Management), Platten, Ayrton Fontecha (CRG) and Thomas Fleming (BMR). As the 22-lap race went on, gaps started stretching but Lévêque still kept himself within close range from Bradshaw. Yet, the Brit would not be disturbed and concluded his dominant weekend on another clean sweep, ahead of the Frenchman and Cunnington who was able to keep a charging Fontecha at bay.
Platten rounded up the Top-Five, followed by Mayer and Sacha Maguet (T.A Engineering / MGT) who both produced strong recoveries of respectively ten and 19 positions, the latter receiving the “Driver of the Day” award. Fleming was classified in eighth place, ahead of Caden McQueen (Croc Promotion) and Ruben Moya (MDC Racing).
Herolind Nuredini (Evolution) set the fastest lap in Friday’s Qualifying in front of the Spaniard Santiago Vallve (Kart Republic Spain) and the Brit Oliver Greenall (Fusion Motorsport). Ruben Volt (Dan Holland Racing) took over from the German as provisional leader on Saturday thanks to three heats won on a tight edge over his rivals. The Brit Bart Harrison (Mick Barrett Racing) was second overall ahead of Greenall who achieved three victories on track but was denied his third success due to a penalty. Nuredini finished twice in the Top-Three but also lost a win due to a penalty in his last heat.
Sunday started on the right foot for Vallve who defeated Spindlow in the Prefinal, securing pole position for the afternoon’s race. Still, the Spaniard could not hold the lead in the early stages of the 19-lap Final but kept himself in the leading group. The opportunity to bounce back eventually came less than two laps from the finish when Greenall, down in second place behind Spindlow, went for an audacious move on the leader before both drivers took each other off-track, allowing Vallve through for first place!
The Kart Republic Spain driver kept his position and victoriously crossed the line in front of Aaron Walker (Strawberry Racing), who started eight but charged his way up to second, and Greenall, saving the podium in front of Spindlow. The KR Sport driver eventually dropped a place due to a penalty, promoting his teammate Daniel Guinchard (KR-Sport) to fourth. Marcus Luzio (Dan Holland Racing) was classified in sixth place while Volt recovered from 12th to seventh, ahead of Archie Walker (Argenti Motorsport), voted “Driver of the Day” for his effort from 16th, Enzo Caldaras (KPR), author of an 11-place recovery, and Harrison.
Fionn McLaughlin (Fusion Motorsport) showed some strong pace early on in the Mini class, taking pole position ahead of the Dutchman Sacha Van’t Pad Bosch (Fusion Motorsport) and the Brit Cathal Clark (Fusion Motorsport). On Saturday, it was Leo Robinson’s turn to demonstrate his speed on track as the Fusion Motorsport driver achieved three wins to secure the Prefinal’s pole position. The young Brit led the provisional classification in front of Clark and McLaughlin with the Spaniard Alex Martinez (Praga Espana Motorsport) and the Frenchman Clément Outran (Privateer) following as potential contenders.
Sunday’s Prefinal smiled upon McLaughlin who lined up on pole for the Final. Yet, Robinson took the best start and led the pack in the first meters of the 14-lap race, ahead of McLaughlin and Alex O’Grady. Qualified in a distant ninth place after a difficult Prefinal, Clark quickly worked his way up to fourth. The race took a decisive turn on the penultimate lap when McLaughlin went around the inside of Robinson at Turn 1, allowing Clark, who had moved past O’Grady for third, to close the gap. Drama, then, struck for Robinson in the last round when an overtaking attempt on McLaughlin resulted in a contact that pushed him down to 11th! As the threat from his teammate had faded away, the Brit could cross the finish line in first place, followed by Clark and O’Grady.
Following a penalty handed to McLaughlin for overtaking under yellow flags, the final victory went to Clark ahead of O’Grady and Tiziano Kuzhnini (Spirit-Racing.ch). Adrian Benito Ferrer (Praga Espana Motorsport) took the fourth place ahead of Sandro Sanchez Perez (Monlau Competicion) and Thomas Quince (Trèfle Racing). Denis Curavale (Kart Republic Spain) won the “Driver of the Day” trophy for his recovery from 22nd to seventh, in front of Thomas Strauven (Strawberry Racing), Alex Martinez (Praga Espana Motorsport), and McLaughlin.
Series Opener Standings
In the provisional standings after Essay, Bradshaw leads in Senior in front of Lévêque and Cunnington, Vallve is ahead of the Junior class of Greenall and Spindlow while O’Grady is the first Mini leader of the year ahead of Clark and Tuzhnini.
The next race of the 2020 IAME Euro Series will take place on the International Kartodromo Lucas Guerrero of Chiva, near Valencia in Spain, on August 27-30.