Following on from Alfie’s impressive last European race in Salbris, his next adventure took him to Le Mans in France for the biggest race of his career, the IAME World Finals.
Alfie entered in the minime / cadet class for the IAME world finals along with another 30 drivers. Surprisingly, testing was very limited considering the class was the youngest to compete, with only 3 test sessions before big decisions had to be made. Alfie’s choice was whether to use his synergy kart or his kart republic chassis. With only 2 sessions in the morning before qualifying, Alfie made the decision to race his synergy kart, which was a bold choice, but turned out to be the best decision for the week.
Heading into the qualifier Alfie had an impressive practice and had a good chance of being in the top 5. As the flashing green light went, Alfie’s strategy was to go straight away and get the laps in as the bad weather seemed to be imminent.
The second lap was showing promise, but unfortunately Alfie got held up and had to overtake.
On the 3rd lap, a sudden change of weather caught Alfie and the other drivers somewhat off guard and caused a big slide. This then meant the qualifier
was over as the track was off which left Alfie in 8th position which was still a great result for the young British driver.
With Alfie showing such great potential in the earlier qualifier he was ready for the green flag. The track was off as it had rained in the night, the class did not allow wet tyres meaning slicks needed to be used.
Alfie had a good start moving into 6th place and chasing down 5th position. After a battle, Alfie gained 5th position, but then had a big gap to the front pack so crossed the line in a solid 5th. However, disappointingly due to a miscommunication of technical rules with the British scrutineers and the French meant Alfie ended up getting disqualified.
The second heat Alfie started 8th and once again had a good start and got up to 6th.
The race was proving incredibly hard to drive well in as the torrential rain created challenge after challenge. Alfie unfortunately caught himself out twice under braking and spun, causing him to drop down to 11th position.
Alfie’s 3rd heat was dramatic as he was unfortunately involved in an incident in the first corner. The track was drying out and was only one dry racing line around the track.
A competitor slid into Alfie causing him to spin and as he was mid spin another competitor also crashed into him. This resulted in him managing to straighten out. After the incidents, he actually came through the field to 8th position but then realised that he had a 5 second penalty for his front nose cone resulting in finishing 12th overall.
The fourth and final heat was dry and Alfie was hoping to make up some places from the bad luck he had in previous heats. The final heat was similar to the 1st, Alfie had a good start and made his way to 5th position but again, a gap in front of him and not enough time in the heats to catch the front pack.
With all the qualifying heats completed the grids were calculated and with the disqualification and nosecone penalty, he was on p12 for the prefinal.
As the green flagged dropped, Alfie was race ready to make up as many places as he could to gain a great position for the all important final.
He had an amazing start jumping from p12 all the way to p5 in one lap and chasing down p4. After a couple of laps he was there and ready to make up another place and he skilfully managed to succeed.
Being in fourth position, Alfie was working on chasing down the front pack but just didn’t have enough time to get there, an overall amazing result finishing in fourth position.
Now was time for the all-important final which would crown the first minime/cadet world champion and with Alfie starting in fourth position, he was full of confidence. Alfie had a good start, and got straight into 3rd position and was there in the front pack with his team mate Alex O’Grady.
Alfie and Alex worked together to get to the front with the two rival ORM competitors behind working together. It was an intense battle throughout with Alfie chopping and changing positions from 1st to 4th and a small incident in the first corner dropped Alfie down to 5th.
He quickly got back up after a squabble in front he was now third and chasing the front 2 with only 2 laps to go. Alfie was chasing hard and caught up to Lewis Wherrell the ORM driver and perfectly overtook him and made an instant gap.
The intense last lap started and Alfie set his fastest first sector and was closing the gap. He had the world championship in his sights racing his absolute hardest but he just couldn’t quite get there by the line and finished just 0.127 of a second behind.
A gutted but ecstatic Alfie finished 2nd in his first ever world championship race.
An amazing week for Alfie Slater showing his true potential and how much he’s really learnt over the last year. He showcased how much he’s improved and the promise that he has for the future.
The next big race for the young British driver is the infamous super nationals 23 which is held in las Vegas Nevada where Alfie, the new vice world champion, will look to be a top contender and hopefully come back with gold.