A true World X30 Championship, the 2018 IAME International Final took place at the Le Mans circuit from October 8th to 14th with 465 drivers from 55 countries and five continents. The X30 Mini category brought together the top 70 drivers from around the world. Qualified with the support of the FFSA thanks to his performances in the French Minime Championship and IAME Series France, Arthur Raphanel began a real race against the clock as soon as his last-minute selection was announced.
Alexandre Ravoire of RK Competition struggled to get hold of an engine and tyres specific to this competition. His experience of X30, confirmed by the performances of Romain Bonetto and Louan Fernandez last year, allowed him to make the most of this tight timing, especially with regard to carburettor settings.
For the chassis, Arthur could count on Energy Corse, a very famous international brand. At the same time, Tony Lavanant, the French importer, brought his help and his great knowledge of the equipment. A3PI took part in the adventure with the choice for the seat.
After this rush to prepare, the competition itself started with Timed Practice on Thursday 11th, and it was not easy for Arthur. With 24th time in his session, he was 49th in the overall standings, with the direct result of starting from the 13th row in the Qualifying Heats. The challenge was likely to be difficult…
Arthur threw himself bravely into the battle and regained a lot of ground in each race. Successively 15th, 14th and 13th, he was unfortunately demoted to 23rd in the second heat because of a spoiler penalty. After an anxious wait, the classification of the heats was announced: Arthur had qualified 33rd and last for the Final stages. The first objective had been reached and the pressure relaxed on his young shoulders.
At first, Arthur drove a beautiful Prefinal as the fight intensified around him. Calm and determined, he gained no less than 13 positions to finish 20th. He continued his momentum without faltering in an epic Final and reached an unexpected 12th place, as well as taking the best French result of the event.
Arthur Raphanel and his friends from the Team France!
Ludovic Baetz, who has worked with him for two years, looks back on the 2018 season.
“It was not easy this year! Despite some good performances early in the weekend, we did not manage to put it together until the end of the competition. He is a young driver who has good qualities, but sometimes suffers from lack of motivation and concentration. At Le Mans, in difficult conditions because of his age and the very high standard, he did his best to move up without making any mistakes. He has made tremendous progress in managing his races and defending his position by competing at the international level. It is also a pity that he cannot stretch himself more often during the season.”
Accompanied by his loyal mechanic Valentin Guérinot and Cédric Touchard of the TTC team, Arthur and his family took advantage of this beautiful sporting moment, rewarding the investment and the sacrifices of those around him. The Cadet category will be the next step of Arthur’s progress next year. He will race on a Birel ART chassis, the brand that Thomas and Patrice Mich support, which he has always used since his debut.
Info Kartcom / © Photo KSP – Matthieu de Faria