Slater Crowned Vice World Champion in Mini X30
The Fusion Motorsport quartet of Freddie Slater, William Macintyre, Aiden Neate and Bradley Beavers were all in attendance at the IAME World Finals last weekend, held at the Le Mans International Circuit in France.
Date 14th October 2018
Event World Championship
Track Le Mans
After promising signs in testing over the first 2 days, hopes were high heading into Qualifying and the first heat on Wednesday. With 70 drivers entered, Qualifying was split into 2 groups, and all 4 Fusion drivers were selected in group 1. Slater posted the fastest time of the session, followed by team mate Macintyre, whilst Neate was a couple of tenths behind in 5th, and Beavers slightly further down in 19th. After the second group had completed their session, Slater was placed 4th overall, Macintyre 5th, Neate 12th and Beavers 40th.
Each of the 70 drivers would have 3 heats over the 3 days, followed by a Pre Final and Final on Sunday. Failure to make it straight into the A Final meant they would have to win the B Final, to qualify for the Pre Final. In the heats, Slater recorded a 3rd, 1st and 2nd, Macintyre a 1st, 5th and 2nd, Neate a 5th, 3rd and 3rd, and Beavers a 32nd, 20th and a 29th – meaning he would have to go through the B Final to stand any chance of making the Pre Final. However, it wasn’t to be for Beavers, as a slight mistake cost him midway through the race, slipping him to the back of the pack and therefore ruining any chance of a place on the Pre Final grid.
After the Qualifying Heats, Slater lined up 2nd, Macintyre 5th and Neate 6th, with all 3 drivers showing they were certainly strong contenders for the title. As the Pre Final got under way, both Slater and Macintyre hit the front, and began to break away from the chasing pack, meanwhile Neate had made his way up the order and was having a lonely race in 4th. In the closing stages, reigning Mini X30 World Champion, Brent Crews, was making life difficult for the front 2 Fusion boys, however they held their ground and managed to hold out for a 1-2 at the flag. Neate slipped back to 6th in the closing stages, but nonetheless was still in with a shout in the Final.
As the lights went green for the Final, Slater immediately hit the front of the pack, followed by Macintyre and Parolin Factory driver, Juan Francisco Soldavini, whilst Crews had slipped down to 7th. Neate was laying in 5th, but was struggling with mechanical issues and was doing well to fend off from the attack behind, however his race was short lived on lap 2, when he came together with another driver, resulting in a big accident at turn one, of which both drivers retired from the race, and also a broken hand and wrist for Neate. As the race resumed, Slater and Macintyre again lead at the front, but Crews was on the hunt for both of them. He quickly disposed of Macintyre, and made his move on Slater on the last lap heading into Turn 1 – not to mention with a little help from his front bumper. Determined not to give up, Slater drove the lap of his life to close back up to Crews, diving to the inside at the last corner, making it a drag race to the line, where it was Crews who took the victory by the smallest of margins (0.007s) meaning Slater had to settle for 2nd, and Soldavini in 3rd.
Pictures – Marc Quinlivan Photography & Twenty-One Creation