Malukas Conquers IAME International Final
Americans producing results overseas - Healey and Jones score B-Main victories at Rok Cup International Final
David Malukas dominated in Le Mans to become the X30 Junior world champion (Photo: IAME International Final)
It was a busy weekend across the Atlantic Ocean for a select few American drivers competing at two world championships. The IAME International Final was held at the Le Mans Karting International facility in France, and the Rok Cup International Final held at the South Garda Karting circuit in Lonato, Italy. Victories and podiums were earned at each event, highlighted by the triumph and dominance from David Malukas in the X30 Junior category in France.
Malukas led every official session in the four days of competition aboard the CompKart chassis. Malukas led the way in qualifying ahead of the 98-driver field, posting a fast time of 55.323-lap to secure the pole position for all five of his heat races. David came away Friday with two heat races to begin the wheel-to-wheel competition. Saturday was the same result, this time with Malukas winning three heat races to make it a perfect score of 5 for 5. The results kept him on the pole position slot for the Prefinal, and Malukas went on to lead all 11 laps to lead the field to the green flag for the main event. The weekend came to a perfect end following the 18-lap Final. David led the entire distance, stretching out to a 4.5-second advantage to secure the victory. It was the first by a driver from the United States of America dating back to the event’s debut in 2009, known as the Bruno Grana International Trophy until 2012.
Alongside Malukas was USA driver Brandon Lemke. The Franklin Motorsports/Merlin driver made his second straight trip to France for the X30 world championships. Lemke qualified just as well, ending up fourth overall. The only blemish on Lemke’s heat races came in his first on Friday. Finishing sixth, Brandon was penalized 10 seconds for contact which put him down to 15th in the final order. He came back to finish fourth in the following moto, and then led all seven laps of his third heat race. Lemke finished his heats with a fourth and second place result, to land him eighth in the point total. The Prefinal was a hard battle, with Brandon coming out two positions better in sixth. Lemke ran as high as third in the Final until getting shuffled back in the field and fighting for a ninth place result.
Watch the main event here, starting at 16:00 into the video.
In Italy, USA garnered some notable results as well for the Rok Cup International Final. Throughout the event, it was Jak ‘Carlton’ Crawford carrying the Red, White and Blue as the top United States driver. Crawford qualified second overall in the 116-driver Mini Rok division. Going 3-3-1 in his heat races, Jak earned a P4 starting position in the Prefinal. Crawford fought back after falling down to 12th on the opening lap, getting back up to seventh after eight laps with fast lap of the race. A better start put Jak into the top-five and in the lead group throughout the 12-lap battle. Crawford came away with a third place finish, standing on the podium in his first start at the event.
Two race wins were earned Saturday in B-Main races. Morgan Healey scored the Sparco Trophy victory in the Rok division, while Jagger Jones took the T-Kart Trophy win in Junior Rok. Healey started third and ran second for the majority of the 15-lap race, securing the checkered flag with a last lap maneuver. Jones was just two spots away after the heat races from making the big show. Running as low as fourth, Jones fought his way to the point by lap 10, leading the remaining two circuits to take the checkered flag.
Four drivers from North America contested the Shifter Rok main event. USA driver Austin Garrison was the top bullet, starting P2 and dropped to fifth after the 15 lap Prefinal. Austin ran as low as seventh, but managed to assume the fourth position and just unable to reel in the duo fight for P2 in time. AJ Myers struggled throughout the week, but managed to finish 17th after starting 31st. Canadian Dominic Legrand finished 20th with USA driver Gullherme Jacob in 27th.
Another podium finish, or two, was expected in the Super Rok category with Ryan Norberg and Kyle Kirkwood in the hunt. Kirkwood suffered a DNF in the Prefinal, dropping to 24th for the main event grid, while Norberg held his fourth position. Norberg ran sixth the majority of the final, crossing the line in seventh but assessed a three-second penalty, dropping him to 10th. Kirkwood fought strong, and reached 11th in the 20-lap event. Mathias Ramirez and Anthony Gangi Jr. were the only USA drivers in the big show for Junior Rok. Ramirez finished 18th with Gangi placing 24th.