Dromedari triumphs, Kuppens celebratesAfter dominating from start to finish, Andrea Dromedari made Race 2 his own at Paul Ricard. Dromedari’s win saw Swiss Team’s colours top the podium for the first time in this single-make series.
The driver from Florence outpaced Kuppens at the start and then pulled away as the drivers behind him squabbled. He went on to cross the line without any trouble.
The race was full of twists and turns. At the start Kuppens was overtaken by Dromedari, Ragazzi and Romagnoli. The championship leader, from Belgium, did manage to keep his Trofeo ahead of Venier and Barde for a while. Soon after, an aggressive Venier ignored the track speed limits and got past Kuppens whose suspension broke, sending him into a spin. The Belgian was not the only driver having problems early on: Richard Denny spun from seventh down to the back of the field.
In the leading positions, Ange Barde overtook Venier on lap 3 and, once free of the Swiss driver, was soon on Romagnoli’s tail. However, all eyes were on Giuseppe Fascicolo as, with Kuppens dropping out, a win for the Italian would give him the European title. The driver from Veneto was in sixth, ahead of Bakker, but some 15” off the lead man. At the back, Richard Denny was beginning a comeback that would see him climb to 14th spot by lap six, tucked in behind Adrian De Leener.
The five leading drivers were within 3”5 of each other with Ragazzi, Romagnoli and Barde drawing the attention with their constant infighting. Making the most of this was Dromedari who extended his lead to 2”1 over Ragazzi. In midfield, Buttarelli was battling Azcarate just ahead of Shinichi Katsura, the Japanese journalist in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP Car.
On lap 10 came the next shock: Romagnoli was hounding Ragazzi but left some space for Barde to sneak into. The Swiss driver breezed past the Italian, who tried to lock the outside door. With neither willing to give an inch, a clash was inevitable and it was Romagnoli who fared worse as he spun down to fifth.
Once the officials had taken a look, they decided to hit Barde with a drive though just as the Swiss driver was overtaking Ragazzi (Venier also edged past). Still, Ragazzi is quicker on the gas than Venier and didn’t waste any time snatching his spot back at turn one. Romagnoli profited and pulled up behind Venier and cruised past on lap 15 before also dealing with Ragazzi. Again Ragazzi was not going to roll over and he managed to regain his place while also respecting the track speed limits.
Curve after curve the two went at it. Venier could exploit the situation and did so by overtaking Romagnoli with little fuss. Meanwhile Dromedari was beginning his 17th lap. The duel was far from over with Romagnoli outdoing Venier but, in doing so, he strayed too wide and spun once more. The episode gave Ragazzi a free ride and ended the dispute for fourth.
Andrea Dromedari took the chequered flag for his first Trofeo win. However, the officials decided that Ange Barde deserved a 45-second penalty that saw him slip from second to eleventh.
So, the final standings saw Riccardo Ragazzi and Fabio Venier join Dromedari on the podium. Fifth went to Giuseppe Fascicolo as he saw his, and team mate Giorgio Sernagiotto’s, title hopes dashed by Renaud Kuppens. Still, the crew managed to close the gap in the overall world classification. Mathijs Bakker took sixth to make up for a difficult Race 1 and he was never troubled by Samuele Buttarelli. The young Italian headed a group bunched within three seconds of each other: Azcarate, Denny and Katsura, in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP Car.
» Official website