According to experts, this 26th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Karting was one of the hardest, due to intermittent heavy rain during the race. Drivers and karts were put under severe strain and the victory of the two RTKF teams on Sodi chassis has even greater value, considering all these difficulties. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is first of all a great team's race, where the technical partner Sodi has shown once again its formidable effectiveness.
Competing and winning in a competition like the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains an incredibly complicated challenge for everybody. The level of kart preparation reaches peaks that are not always apparent. To face such a challenge, the choice of the right partners is of the utmost importance. From this viewpoint, Claude Jamin, "Mr. RTKF", was full of praises for his collaboration with Sodi. «It must be said that we use Sodi production chassis» he explained, still excited for the outcome of the 24H. «Of course, we have made a few changes for the race, but these are just small details, to allow changing some elements quickly during the race. The frame itself is strictly standard. We can rely 100% on the Sodikart factory for kart adjustments. Technicians answer all our questions and do the impossible to give us the perfect material. Just to give you an example, we have been completely satisfied with the Itaka brakes».
The very difficult weather conditions of the 2011 edition caused quite a few troubles to the RTKF team. First of all, the strategy to change tyres according to track conditions was a real brainteaser, and the solutions adopted often resembled a poker strike. Team no. 1, the one composed of the most experienced drivers, suffered the consequences of this situation more often than the others. In addition to that came some minor, but annoying technical problems concerning the spark plugs, the starter wiring and the radiator mountings. Kart no. 72, driven by young karters David Martine, Adrien Bloyet, Théo and Maxime Bidard led the race since the first laps thanks to an excellent tyre conservation strategy. Their leadership faltered during the night after an engine breakage and it was kart no.1, driven by Wilfried Lecarpentier, Charles Fiault, Antoine Poulain and Antoine Lepesqueux, poleman in timed qualifying, that came to threaten them after a stunning 11-lap recovery!
During the last four hours of the race, the "fratricidal war" became the centre of attention. The one-lap lead for no. 72 soon melted away and it was no. 1 that took back the lead 30 minutes before the conclusion of the race. Unfortunately, it could not avoid a driver in trouble and broke a tie rod. No. 72 regained the leadership and the young drivers won their first 24 Hours after 1447 laps covered, i.e. almost 1,700 km, followed by No. 1, which completed the triumph of RTKF and Sodi. It must be said that in Claude Jamin's team, no instructions about the order of arrival are given: «I think it is inhuman to impose orders to drivers. The young drivers from Normandy did a great race with a lot of determination and lucidity, I am very happy with their result and I am also delighted to see the youth on the top step of the podium. Congratulations! RTKF 1 had more troubles, it's the race. We have collected a wealth of experience in these difficult conditions and we will continue to work hard to strive for a zero fault level. It is our third victory in a row with Sodi, a fundamental partner for us. A big thank you to Gildas Mérian for his unfaltering professionalism and his intact passion for competition».
Before concluding, mention must be made of the IAME KF engines mounted on Sodi chassis, which provide both power and reliability, and of the irreplaceable support of engine tune-up specialists of genius such as Marc and Gérard Boulineau. RTKF is proud to dedicate this double success to the 30 years of Sodikart, celebrated this year, and is looking forward to reaching its other goals in the Endurance Euro Serie.