|Tuesday, 15 June 2010 14:08|
REMO RACING TEAM AUSTRALIA
1st Lee Mitchener - X30 Gentlemans class
Race Report... by Lee Mitchener & Adam Hughes
DAY 5 - FINALS - BRUNO GRANA X30 INTERNATIONAL TROPHEE
So it was pay day and Team Australia were raring to go. Heavy rain over night cleaned the track which would make it difficult to determine how effective chassis setups were from the previous day......
CLICK HERE to view lots more photo's and extensive coverage of the event from Day 1 to Day 5
Adam Hughes disappointed as he was unable to get any track time before his pre-final, due to his kart not being ready in time to make the morning warm up. Mitchener on the other had lit up the track setting the quickest time, by only .01 of a second, between first and 4th fastest, there was only a gap of approximately one tenth.
This wasn't enough to rattle Mitchener's cage, pulling out of the first corner in the lead and pulling a gap on the rest of the field in the Pre-Final. The track was damp but by driving aggressively Mitchener was able to get heat into the tyres enough to get by the first few laps with good pace. It wasn't long before the slight precipitation, turned into more of a rainfall.
"Being on slicks, the karts become very nervous, and unpredictable under brakes" Mitchener said, "I was still able to keep my cool, and was able to defend my ground". It wasn't until lap 8 that the only driver that gambled the wet weather tyres passed him leaving left 24 seconds behind by the end of the race finishing in second position.
Hughes , again stuck on the outside again from grid position 8th, was relieved as his expectations after having a few rough heats thinking that he would be starting much further back. "although I'm on the outside, I'm quite happy starting where I am".
The alpha kart team decided to only run 2 new tyres on the outside of the kart, planning to switch them to the inside for the final and placing the rest of the new tyres on the outside again.
Adam had his best start of the weekend, exiting the 3rd turn in 4th position, showing strong pace Adam was moving through the field consistently. "The Alpha kart had great pace and was coming on more and more each lap" he commented,
"I knew that I had the pace to continue through the field as I knew that I had the pace at the end of the race as well as the start".
Adams luck was still not with him coming off 2nd best in a battle and dropping back to 14th. Still putting in 110% Adam made his way back to 9th to start on the inside (for the first time) in the Final.
During the Lunch break, once again the inconsistent French weather, went from 35 degrees, of blue skies, back to pouring rain, cooling the track temperature, leaving it fairly fresh for the coming heats. There were a a few remaining races before the Final of X30 Gentleman's class, with Lee starting the front row, outside.
The DR Belgium team went along with the strategy of running all 4 new tyres, allowing Lee good grip early to try and gain a break away from the field. Although, due to the new tyre drop off, this could pose problems for Mitchener mid race, he would need to conserve his pace a little, in order not to overheat the tyres.
The euro kart scene just isn't about karting, there are many events that keep everyone interested of all ages. In between races, there are dancing girls, and music.
It was time for Lee to show his stuff, Starting on the outside was not unfamiliar to him, so he was confident, at getting himself setup for the race by the first turn. Which without fail did so by immediately gaining the lead, closely followed by the last years winner (Frederic Ostier).
It was Mitchener who lead the entire race with the number 1 kart ready to pounce in the closing laps. Lee Had great pace throughout the infield, but wasn't enough to shakeOstier down the straight, from the slipstream.
The last lap board was out, and as predicted, Ostier made his mover around the outside down the long straight. Ostier didn't quite have the edge to close the door on Mitchener, which gave the Aussie an opportunity to outbrake the reigning champion. It was a very late maneuver by both drivers, causing them to come to and almost complete stop. Mitchener continued to lead the final lap finishing just ahead of Ostier, announcing Lee Mitchener the new Iame x30 Challenge Champion.
"The race was tough, I knew that the number 1 kart was behind me the whole time, but I knew I just had to keep my eyes forward and keep my mind on the job. I was predicting a last lap move, and I knew I just had to cover my lines the whole time, it was lucky that I was able to outbrake him or because I Ostier I know would have been able to put on a strong defence to hold the lead for the rest of the lap, he is a very good driver and it has been a pleasure to race against him" Mitchener said.
With Lee celebrating on the podium, Adam Hughes was preparing himself for a start mid pack in 9th position, "I'm very confident in gaining a good position, I'm finally starting off of the inside row, and I have 2 new tyres, so I'm sure that I will be able to put on a good show for the French crowd".
Unfortunately for Adam it was a crash infront of him that caused him to prematurely end his race. Adam got held up in the incident and re-entered the race in last position, he tried to recuperate but the damage to the kart was too great, and caused him to retire.
Team Australia has put on a very professional campaign, and word has certainly getting around about the talent of the drivers down under. Many friends have been made, and the Aussies have been made more than welcome, with hope from the French that they will be seen more often on the track.
Full Results X30, X30 Gentlemans Class & X30 Lavelanet Cup