The 2017 X30 Euro Series officially kicks off today with unofficial practice at the Genk circuit in Belgium and there are plenty of drivers present who would be considered winning contenders. In our official preview we will take a look at the entry lists in all classes and remind ourselves of what happened at the Winter Cup.
There are just shy of 30 drivers entered this weekend which is a good increase from the 16 drivers entered into the Winter Cup.
Returning to the championship in 2017 is the 2016 champion, Chris Lulham. Now with Piers Sexton Racing there’s no doubt Chris will be aiming for nothing less than a win after hugely impressive performances last year. Chris has been doing some OKJ racing in Europe this year so to see him back is a pleasant surprise.
Chris has a new teammate at PSR in Tyler Read who will be one to watch. The former Cadet racer has adapted to the X30 class quickly and should improve as the weekend goes on. Angus Moulsdale may have felt disappointed not to get a podium at the Winter Cup after qualifying on the front row, so will be out to make amends in Genk. Finishing with the Brits Joseph Taylor should not be looked at as anything else than a driver who is more than capable of winning. He’s running on the Fullerton chassis and has looked quick in UK club meetings.
Away from the Brits I think the biggest challenger will be Matias Zagazeta. The Fusion Motorsport driver was impressive at the Winter Cup and finished 4th place. If he can find an extra tenth or two, he should be challenging for podiums. Overall there is certainly a rise in standard in the field which is great to see heading into the season.
After his win at the Winter Cup Jordan Brown-Nutley comes into the first round a clear favourite of the 40 plus Senior drivers entered. He also won the Rotax Winter Cup and perhaps more relevant he won the BNL Kick Off event and Genk a couple of weekends ago. He’s barely lost a race this year and there’s no reason why that form should stop this weekend.
At the Winter Cup the fastest driver in the final was Milan Petelet. The French man led the final going into the last corner on the last lap, but ran a bit too deep which allowed Brown-Nutley through to steal victory. All would unfortunately become irrelevant for Petelet as he received a five second penalty post race which lost him his podium, but if he stays out of trouble this weekend he should be there or there abouts. Since the Winter Cup Brett Ward has switched over to the Evolution Racing Team and looked quick at the Super One Series opener. It’ll be interesting to see how he goes at Genk.
One returning name to RGMMC racing is Bas De Laat. Bas has been a regular in the Rotax Max Euro Challenge over the last ten years and has made several appearances at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. It’s great to see the Dutch driver back and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does. One name Brits will remember is Stephen Lyall. Entered with Piers Sexton Racing there’ll be plenty of people interested to see how he goes. He made a big name for himself in the sport and has been racing Pro-Karts in recent years.
X30 Super Shifter
It’s good to see a shifter grid in for the first round, the shifter’s first appeared at round two last year. A big name in the X30 Shifter World, Thierry Delre could be the favourite for the first round. The two time IAME International Final champion knows what he’s doing in this class and is arguably the most experienced in the class in the field.
Constantin Scholl is hugely experienced at this level racing in DD2 in recent years, but raced in the Shifter class at Zuera last year where he finished 3rd overall. The two time defending Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals DD2 Ferenc Kancsar is also entered and will undoubtedly be quick. Another Grand Finals Champion entered is Mikko Laine. Mikko won the 2014 Grand Finals in the DD2 Masters class and won the Rotax Euro Challenge back in 2011. The hugely experienced Finnish driver should be quick this weekend!
The sole Brit entered into the class is Hugo Bentley-Ellis. Hugo made a return to karting in 2015 and had an astonishing year in 2016 as he won the IAME International Final in the X30 Senior class which helped him to be shortlisted for the Karting magazine Driver of the Year Award. Some may have suspected he left the sport again, but he has actually been testing in KZ2 and appeared at this years South Garda Winter Cup. Entered with CRG SPA there’s no doubt he may be quick this weekend.
The Mini grid has more than doubled with 14 drivers entered this weekend. Winter Cup Maximus Mayer is back, but now away from home soil will he still be as quick as he was in Valencia?
Of all 14 drivers the one to watch for me is Diego LaRoque. Diego is the reigning Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals champion in the Micro Max class, now up to Mini Max I can only imagine he has been able to adapt very quickly.
Written by Chris McCarthy