Popow was making his debut in the Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo and profited from Renaud Kuppens’ retirement – Kuppens had been dominating the race and held a four-second lead when he had to pull out. A puncture ended the Belgian’s interest after he had earlier secured pole position. Still, Kuppens might be able to make up for it in the two races scheduled for tomorrow as he will again be lining up on pole.
The race was conditioned by the entry of the safety car on lap 12. It was called for to allow Owen Kratz’s car to be towed away after a puncture saw him smash into the wall at turn six. Luckily, the American didn’t suffer any lasting damage. With the race order frozen until the chequered flag, the other podium slots went to Riccardo Ragazzi and Andrea Dromedari. Another driver making his debut, Columbian Felipe Merjech, placed fourth.
Other star names who failed to finish included Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, who pulled up when in third, and Fabio Venier, who saw his podium chances dashed after just a few laps when he strayed off the track. Guest driver and actor Patrick Dempsey enjoyed a good day, finishing sixth after lining up in tenth. Dempsey, best known for playing Dr Shepherd in the TV series Grey’s Anatomy, will be back in the Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo for the afternoon race. He is sharing the drive with Greg Tracy, the stuntman who made it into the Guinness Book of Records with his Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X-Games.
Race 2 is programmed for tomorrow, Sunday, at 09.45, with the final race scheduled for 16.45 (local time). Crewed cars will have to make a pit stop and driver change in Race 3.