Ellis takes X30 Senior win at Le Mans
Oliver Hodgson was unlucky not to win the X30 International Senior title but Hugo Ellis was a worthy winner after coming through from 16th on the grid to take over when Hodgson dropped out.
Predicting the winner in one of the most attractive categories in international kart racing would be a difficult task as there were so many favourites. European drivers filled the best positions in timed practice with Brit Danny Keirle topping the time sheets in front of Max Sjolander from Sweden, Marco Paul from Germany and Frenchman, Joël Deptuch.
As in the Junior category the drivers were divided up into eight series and had seven heats on their programme from Thursday morning to Saturday evening. The main aim of the majority was to be one of the 34 finalists. But with 124 drivers in this category it looked like many of them were facing an uphill challenge. Among the front-runners were consistent performers like Oliver Hogdson from England and American David Malukas, the winner in X30 Junior in 2015, as well as a few surprises such as Frenchmen Gillian Lay, Corentin Collignon, Jean-Baptiste Scheurer and Christopher Chany.
No fewer than 18 drivers won a heat, which was proof of the tiny gaps in this category. The quality of the X30 engines from the IAME factory obviously played a major role in this almost never-before-seen situation in karting. Keirle and Dutchman Mike Bartels were the only ones to win at least three times. But Keirle, who had already bagged pole position, was the most consistent and came out on top followed by Paul, Hodgson, Scheurer, Deptuch and Collignon.
Even though the clouds had floated away from the skies over the Le Mans international circuit it was as if the heavens had fallen on the head of Hodgson in the Final! The winner of the Prefinal had built up a comfortable lead in the Final until his transmission let him down on the 16th of the 21 laps. His fellow-countryman Hugo Ellis took over the lead after a superb charge up through the field from 16th place on the grid. Portugal’s Andriy Pits drove a great race and installed himself in an uncontested second place leaving Bartels and Deptuch to go head-to-head for 3rd with Bartels coming out on top. Another French driver, Giacomo Napolitano, snatched 5th from Paul at the flag.