Leo Robinson and Connor Jupp end the season in style for Fusion by taking the Mini and Senior IAME I-Games titles at Portimao, Portugal, the unofficial IAME World Championships.
As IAME teams and competitors from around the globe defended on the superb Kartodromo International do Algarve, the Fusion team made their presence felt from the first day of the week long test and race schedule.
Fusion's X30 mini squad, including European champion Cathal Clark, and vice Champion Sacha van t Pad Bosch, along with Leo Robinson set the pace in mixed conditions during testing, but one of the surprises of the event was Roman Kamyab who ran at the front in Qualifying and the heats. Seb Minns was among the heat winners as his pace improved throughout the week.
As the weather took a turn for the worse heading into the final heats and Pre Final, the Fusion drivers showed good pace but were out of luck in the Pre Final. In the Grand Final however, the track started to dry. Fusion led the tyre choice decision opting for slicks at the last minute, with most others following suit.
Despite a steady start, the team set up started to come good from mid distance as the drivers surged forward. Initially it looked like Sasha had the pace to take the win, storming through the field from 11th to 3rd with team mates Leo and Cathal all looking strong enough to challenge for victory. On to the penultimate lap, Sacha hit the front but Leo had followed him through and snatched the lead going into turn one , holding his team mate off for a great win and Fusion 1-2!
In Juniors, British Champion Ollie Greenall was on form and looked confident aboard his new CL kart in all conditions. He took 2 wins and a second in his heats top claim pole position for the Pre Final. Portugese driver Ivan Domingues, in his first race with the team also looked very fast and took victory in his first heat just ahead of Kanato Le who was right at the sharp end all week.
Ollie won the Pre Final in the wet but as the track dried enough for slicks, despite the odd puddle, he struggled for pace, and for the first time all weekend he looked on the back foot, which it later transpired was due to his chassis having a crack on the front yoke. Despite him dropping back a Fusion win was still on the cards due to Kanato's amazing turn of speed, followed by Vinnie Phillips who had made dramatic improvements through the week in his first Junior race.
Kanato reached 4th and was closing rapidly on the leaders just before the heavens opened and chaos ensued. Had the race been red flagged straight away Kanato would have taken victory as the 3 in front all had penalties but he was taken out a lap before the red flag and had to settle for 5th on count back with Vinnie an impressive 6th.
The best was saved till last as Connor Jupp, who had also switched to the new Charles Leclerc chassis provided the drive of the day. His pace had been strong all week and he looked comfortable, especially in the dry. After some strong heats he came home second in the pre-Final in wet conditions, as the track dried for the final (despite a few rivers running across 2 corners) the stage was set for a thrilling race.
Connor made a strong start but was bundled back to just inside the top 10 on lap 3. He chipped away and using all his experience he drove back through the field with some impressive speed. With just a handful of laps remaining he was in the lead and broke away with Westover to make it a 2 kart race to the flag.
On the last lap he lost the least but with an inspired move regained it half way round the final tour and hung on to take a hugely popular and emotional victory, capping off an amazing return to racing after a 5 year sabbatical.