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2010 Indoor Kart World Championship just weeks away!
Racing News2010 Indoor Kart World Championship just weeks away!

As we enter the month of July, anticipation fills the air: the 2010 edition of the Indoor Kart World Championship is only a few weeks away. Champions and hopefuls from across the world will soon be converging in Phoenix for what is the most coveted Title at stake for indoor kart racing drivers!

The 2010 Indoor Kart World Championship is already the 6th IKWC event, and the 4th to be held in the USA. The stage is once again America's top mega track, the F1 Race Factory in Phoenix, Arizona. The week long event is scheduled to begin on July 27, ending on Aug 1, but the unofficial start happens during the week prior, when foreign drivers begin to arrive for practice. The Sonoran desert location poses an enormous challenge for foreigners not used to the 110F+ temperatures and low humidity which are common in Phoenix during the months of July and August. Yet, surprisingly enough, an expected home track advantage for local drivers seems to be non-existent at F1 Race Factory as Werner Truegler and Alex Gumpenberger from Austria, and Rodrigo Faulhaber from Brazil, took the drivers Title at the previous three Indoor Kart World Championship events held in Phoenix. It was not for lack of American talent and numbers, as drivers from the host nation historically have always out numbered the foreigners for obvious geographical & economical reasons. Still, only 1 American driver has ever managed to to add his name to the Indoor Kart Championship's Top 3 podium: Tony Rolfson, with a 3rd Place in 2006.

Will this change in 2010? The list of American drivers is not as extensive as its been in the past, yet Rolfson is expected to be there, as well as a number of other USA top drivers. Current USA Indoor Kart Champion Jon Kimbrell from California will team up with Rolfson at Team Finish Line Race Gear, along with multi-time Arizona Champion & IKWC race winner Truman Godfrey, and Aaron Downs, who has also won a World Championship race in 2007. Another strong US entry, although still unconfirmed, will be Team Victory Lane Karting from North Carolina. The team is expected to have drivers Cody Robnett, who recently won the $5000 IKRL event at the Victory Lane Karting Center, and Jordan Pembleton, who was the best placed US driver at the 2009 Indoor Kart World Championship (5th) and won the 2009 Final GP race in Brazil. At least two, three, maybe four other American teams are expected, including one consisting of drivers from the recently closed Dromo 1 track in Southern California, and local racers from the F1 Race Factory track.

Whatever the ultimate number of Americans may be competing at this year's indoor Kart World Championship, they will have a tremendously difficult task ahead, as the strength of the foreign competitors is never to be underestimated. Austrian driver Werner Truegler, who won the 2005 World Championship and finished 2nd in 2007, has gained a reputation of being perhaps the best driver at the Phoenix track, having accomplished both feats at F1 Race Factory. He will be joined by Austrian Herwig Heckl (2007 IKWC Masters Champion) at Team Kartsport.at Austria. The Belgians will also field a very strong team, Bluestar Belgium Racing Team, headlined by 2008 World Champion (Light) Gregory Laporte. Laporte will be joined by Kenny Geldoff, who came very close to winning the World Championship in Brazil after an amazing string of 3 wins and 2 second places on the first 5 races (but finished 4th overall, after encountering extreme bad luck on the Final day of racing), and IKWC multi-race winner Robin Borremans. The three top Belgian drivers are expected to be joined by Matthias Grooten, 2008 World Champion (Heavy) in what would likely be the team with the most international and national titles won among its drivers. Grooten, who has competed at 3 previous indoor Kart World Championship events, has the most impressive victory results record of any driver in the history of the competition. The Belgian has competed in 17 World Championship races ending up on the podium 10 times. Most amazing of all, 9 of those 10 times were victories, and the one that was not a victory was a 2nd place! Truly an amazing record from a very talented driver. If Grooten does not race in Phoenix, Dutch driver Ruben Boutens, who finished a strong 10th place at the 2008 IKWC in Belgium, and in 3rd place at the IKWC Brazil 2009. Boutens hopes to improve on that record in 2010 and be the first Dutch driver to win the World Championship Title.

Other returning foreign winners looking for the Title include Danish driver Poul Hornemann is the heaviest driver ever (115 lbs) to score a victory in a IKWC race, feat accomplished at F1 Race Factory in 2007. That year, Hornemann scored a victory and a second place on his first two races, and was one of the leaders of the 2007 World Championship before being ejected of the competition for unsportsmans-like behavior after receiving 2 penalties on race 3. Since then, Hornemann has toned down his emotions and has become a model competitor, but could not repeat the stellar Phoenix performance at the Belgian and Brazilian IKWCs. Hornemann, who has Danish and Brazilian citizenship, hopes to pick up in Phoenix 2010 where he left off in 2007. Belgian Mats de Jong comes to his 2nd IKWC, still looking for a 1st victory to add his name to the group of Belgian aces in the sport. Colombian driver Andres Prieto returns to the IKWC after his last appearance in 2006, where he scored 1 race victory and was in route to a top 5 finish, but a bad result on the final dropped him to a very respectful but disappointing 16th place overall. Prieto hopes to improve on that performance in 2010. Colombian Diego Morales, a veteran of 4 IKWCs, also has a IKWC race victory to his credit obtained at the Phoenix track in 2007. Morales also finished 2nd in the Masters class at the 2008 IKWC in Belgium, and has one eye on the Masters Title and another on the Top class Title in 2010. Ten other Colombians had planned to be at the 2010 IKWC, but have yet to confirm and their presence is doubtful at this point.

As usual, a good number of Brazilian drivers will be present. In fact Brazilians currently make up the largest national group of drivers confirmed for the 2010 IKWC. It is the first time ever that a foreign nation has more confirmed drivers than the host nation this close to the start of the competition, so the Brazilians are not kidding around and want the Title. The 2009 Indoor Kart World Championship in Brazil produced 2 World Champion drivers from Brazil: Maxwell Jansley is the current "Top" class World Champion, while Andre Lima holds the World Championship for the IKWC-50 class. The IKWC-50 class was unique to the Brazilian edition of the Indoor Kart World Championship. It ran drivers weighing up to 50kgs (110 lbs), so it featured mostly young drivers 9 to 15 years old, racing in the same karts as the drivers in the "Top" class. The group showed amazing maturity and talent, and many were turning laps faster than the (heavier) Top class. Andre Lima, who is 15, would have certainly been in contention for the "Top" class World Championship Title, had he raced in it, and will have a chance to do just that in Phoenix. Lima will be the only IKWC-50 class driver to race in Phoenix (his main rival for the 2009 Title, Belgian Jordan Beuler is focusing on car racing in 2010 and will not be in Phoenix). Maxwell Jansley is also a confirmed presence. Gustavo Loureiro, 2nd at the 2009 IKWC in Brazil, would be racing his 2nd Phoenix IKWC, having competed previously in 2007. Loureiro ran a strong IKWC in 2007, with 2 second places, but a 10th and 8th place caused him to just miss the final and end in a respectful, but disappointing 29th place overall. Loureiro is still an unsure presence at the 2010 Indoor Kart World Championship, and will depend on a last minute sponsorship deal to be in Phoenix. Other strong contenders from Brazil include Ed Cordeiro, who had 3 second places in Phoenix 2007 on his way to an 11th place finish (3rd place Masters). Francisco "Chico" Ingles, the oldest driver to ever score a race win at an Indoor Kart World Championship race at 57 years old on his way to 10th Place overall (2nd in Masters) at the 2007 IKWC in Phoenix, would be a sure presence in 2010, but may not be in Phoenix due to personal matters in Brazil.

Notably one driver to be very missed in 2010 will be Pedro Washington from Brazil. Washington was the only driver to be present at every Indoor Kart World Championship event since the first one in 2005. Not only was he present, but ran all 27 IKWC races ever run, qualifying for the Final race at all IKWCs. Washington has come close to winning the World Championship, and amazingly has never finished outside of the Top 10 in all 5 Indoor Kart World Championships he competed in (3rd in 2005, 5th in 2006, 6th in 2007, 3rd in 2008, and 9th in 2009). He is a true talent and currently holds the record of World Championship podium finishes (16), and is second only to Matthias Grooten in race wins, with 7 victories to his credit (against Grooten's 9).

The 2010 IKWC will also feature a number of new drivers making their first appearance at the World Championship. These drivers are certainly confident enough about their abilities and could no doubt be a factor in the Championship. Tanja Muller (Germany), Fredi Fuchs (Austria), Willi Strobl (Germany), Peter Dimov (Bulgaria), Eugenio Baranzini (Brazil), Keith Sears (USA), Florian Holzinger (Austria), and Bradley Philpot (UK) are all confirmed.

A number of other drivers are expect to confirm their presence in the coming weeks. The Indoor Kart World Championship is an "Open" event, so any drivers interested in competing are welcome to join the event. There is no requirement to be affiliated with any particular racing organization, have any specific racing licence, or go through any pre-qualifying competition. All a driver needs is to have previous indoor or outdoor karting, or car racing experience. The Indoor Kart World Championship is the most inexpensive motorsports world championship competition in the world, and with its "Open" format, it is also the only such event that allows any driver to test his/her ability against the top names in the sport.

The creator of the IKWC, Brazilian driver Carlos Carneiro, explains: "The concept of the IKWC was to bring the impossible dream of competing at a World Championship level down to a realistic and affordable scenario, and make it accessible to as many drivers as possible, young, old, experienced or not. At the same time, the competition helps lift indoor rental kart racing's credibility within the motorsports community as true competitive racing. It was not easy, but here we are going into the 6th year, having staged events in 3 continents. As a competition, the IKWC has proved to be a very tough, quite possibly the hardest of all motorsports World Championships to win due to the equal nature of the equipment and the sheer number of good drivers competing. The Indoor Kart World Championship is becoming a great stage for indoor karting manufacturers and sponsors to showcase their products and services to the vast global spectrum of this sports' enthusiasts. Winning the Indoor Kart World Championship is a truly remarkable feat, and the drivers that have done it have gone from anonymity to having their name known throughout the global indoor kart racing community."

Entries for the 2010 Indoor Kart World Championship are still open and will continue open until the maximum number of drivers (100) is matched. Any driver interested in competing should send his completed entry form along with the entry fee as soon as possible.

More info, as well as entry forms, can be found at the Indoor Kart World Championship website, at: www.indoorkartworldchampionship.com
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