The European season for IAME racing officially gets underway this weekend with the Winter Cup once again taking place at the Kartodromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero in Valencia. The track has been the stage to the Winter Cup for the last two years and was the stage for the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals shortly after it opened.
The track provides a last corner which has seen races decided on a number of occasions. It comes after a long time of the accelerator and cutting the chicane results in an immediate penalty so things must be decided before reaching the second part of the chicane. With 170 drivers entered in a record breaking weekend for the event there’s no doubt the last chicane could play a big part this weekend!
With 50 drivers entered into the Junior class this weekend calling a winner is going to be near impossible. But looking closer at the entry list one thing to note is the number of Mini and Cadet graduates. There is not a huge amount of what I would call ‘experienced Junior drivers’ due to age restrictions, meaning it has become even more wide open. Here are my ones to watch…
Returning for another European X30 campaign in 2018 is Fusion Motorsport’s, Georgi Dimitrov. Georgi missed both the Winter Cup and round one of the Euro Series but at Salbris won the Pre-Final before having a disastrous Final. Wackersdorf he had a perfect weekend taking home maximum points but had lots of misfortunes at Catelletto. It was a season that saw him take 6th overall and as the highest seeded driver returning he’d be the obvious choice when trying to pick a winner.
After his performance at the IAME International Final, the reigning Vice World Champion is surely the driver everyone will be timing themselves against during practice. After winning the Mini Max Super One title, Lewis had a surge of confidence in his Junior racing and put in a brilliant performance at Le Mans to pick up 2nd in the 134 kart field. Being his last year in Juniors I think Lewis will be looking to win the Euro Series so a win at the Winter Cup would be a perfect start.
Mari Boya is the defending champion when it comes to the Winter Cup after beating Ruben Moya Lopez and Josh Rattican to the flag last year in a close Junior Final. That was in a grid of 16 which shows the rise in entries for 2018! After a debut campaign in the WSK Super Master Series, the former Spanish Cadet Champion later qualified for the IAME International Final where he finished a strong 13th place. On home soil he’ll be desperate to retain his title!
After a strong season in X30 Mini Maximus Mayer has jumped up to the Junior class and will be one of several graduates looking to make an immediate impact. The Spaniard won last years Winter Cup, was 3rd in last years X30 Euro Series and later finished 7th in the IAME International Final. He has winning experience at the Valencia circuit and as long as he can get grips to racing the older Juniors quickly then I see no reason why he won’t be challenging for a podium.
Up from Honda Cadet, Oliver surprised many with his recent win at Whilton Mill in Junior X30 on what was his very first race in the class. The 2017 Honda Cadet Vice British Champion, has put himself in with Strawberry Racing and in a grid of over 50 drivers at Whilton, put it on pole position before driving away from the rest of the field to win by over four seconds. It was hard to believe that it was his very first race and given the quality of the field the day, he just has to be one to look out for!
Full list of British drivers:
X30 Mini – British Drivers
In Mini X30 amongst the entry lists look our for Gabriel Stilp and Oliver Wright. Both new to European racing they have a tough task going up against many X30 Euro Series regulars and local drivers but are both in good hands with Croc Promotion UK and Fusion Motorsport respectively.
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of The RaceBox
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