Juniors Show Their Class, As Van T’Hoff Claims Podium at IAME World Finals
Fusion Motorsport’s Junior X30 team showed true class and maturity throughout their week at the IAME World Finals, held at the Le Mans International Circuit in France. Despite not coming away with a title, the team showed just why they are one of the best teams in the World, backed up by the results from all their drivers on show last week.
Date 14th October 2018
Event World Championship
Track Le Mans
Prior to Qualifying on Wednesday, a heavy downpour soaked the track, and due to the severe quantity of drivers entered, the sessions were split into 4 sessions. As each session went by, the track became dryer, therefore the laptimes became faster, and it Georgi Dimitrov who was the fastest of the Fusion drivers, posting the 6th fastest time overall out of a total 119 drivers. Giles Stadsbader of Belgium was 10th fastest, Kai Askey 13th, Tom Edgar 15th, Spaniard Maximus Mayer 17th, Dutchman, Dilano Van T’Hoff 21st, Joshua McLean 29th, Jessica Edgar 35th, Douglas Bolgar 36th, Zac Meakin 37th, Cian Shields 48th and Alicia Barrett 76th.
With the qualifying heats spread over the course of 3 days (Thursday to Saturday), each driver had 5 races to determine their grid for the Pre Final on Sunday. Only the first 32 drivers would automatically qualify for the A Final, and the remainder would have to fight it out through the B and C Final to take the last 2 remaining grid positions. Dimitrov secured 5 wins and a 5th place in his heats, securing him a front row start alongside pole sitter, Lewis Gilbert. Joining Dimitrov in the A Final would be Van T’Hoff (5th) who also had 2 heat wins, Askey (8th), Tom Edgar (9th), McLean (21st), Stadsbader (22nd), Bolger (27th) and Mayer (32nd). Unfortunately, despite gaining the fastest lap in a number of her heats, Barrett was unable to make it through to the A Final, however she did make up an impressive 15 places on her way to 9th in the B Final. There was also disappointment for Shields (14th), Jessica Edgar (21st) and Meakin (10th – C Final), who were also unable to make it through to the main final on Sunday afternoon.
In what was one of the scrappiest Pre-Finals ever witnessed, DHR’s Alex Lloyd took victory, ahead of Van T’Hoff and Frenchman, Loris Cabirou. Slipping down the order after his impressive heats was Dimitrov who had to settle for 12th after earlier leading the race, followed by Edgar (13th), Stadsbader (20th), McLean (23rd), Askey (25th), Bolger (28th) and Mayer (34th). What looked like a very promising finals day for the juniors suddenly had turned on its head, and all the hard work had been undone.
Determined to make amends in the Final, each Fusion driver immediately started the race well, gaining several positions on the opening couple of laps. Leading the charge was Van T’Hoff, who was sitting nicely in 3rd, with Dimitrov making his way through the order, and by the half way point of the race, up to 6th. Further down, Edgar, McLean and Askey were also making headway on their charge through the pack, all of whom had made over 5 places each by lap 9. As the laps ticked down, the fight for the lead intensified, with 4 drivers taking it in turns to lead the pack. However, it was not meant to be for the Fusion drivers, as the chequered flag was waved, Gilbert crossed the line 1st, Lloyd 2nd and Cabirou 3rd. Post race scrutineering saw 2 penalties awarded – 1 for Gilbert who received a 5 second nose penalty, demoting him to 10th, and a DSQ for Cabirou for a technical infringement. This promoted Van T’Hoff to a well deserved 3rd, who gave everything over the course of the week. Dimitrov made a great come back to 6th, whilst Edgar (9th) made up 6 positions to secure an impressive top 10 on his World Finals debut. McLean followed up his fantastic year after being crowned British Champion in X30 Mini earlier this month, finishing in 15th whilst Askey also had a solid run through to 17th after making up 8 places. Stadebader finished 19th, Mayer was up 12 places to 21st, and Bolger capped off a great end to the year with a 29th after his goal for the weekend was to make the A Final.
Pictures – Marc Quinlivan Photography & Twenty-One Creation