Barde doubles up
Up front the drivers got off to a clean start but things were a little more hectic down the field. Mac managed to hold off an eager Kuppens courtesy of a fine start; behind them the trio of Fascicolo, Calamia and Wong headed into turn 1 side by side. Contact between Calamia and Wong was inevitable and the American spun. An accidental collision with Shovlin’s Trofeo followed, leading to his retirement; Wasczcinski suffered the same fate.
While all this was going on, Kuppens had edged past Mac into an early lead while Barde had consolidated third from Venier and Simoni. Behind the leaders, Bakker was getting the better of Gobbo and a fine Simoni move saw him grab fourth from Venier.
Kuppens, Mac and Barde were posting similar lap times but Barde was the most aggressive as he turned up the heat on Mac. The Frenchman eventually managed to get past on lap eight but the dogfight had allowed Kuppens to extend his lead.
With the compulsory pit stops coming up, the results of the first two races meant that extra time would have to be spent in the pit lane by Mac (20”), Simoni/Ragazzi (20”), Kuppens (10”), Sbirrazzuoli/De Leener (5”) and Bakker (5”). The first to pull in was Fascicolo to hand over to Cecchellero.
By lap 11 Barde was in Kuppens’ slipstream and he pulled off a decisive move to take the lead. Kuppens then opted to pit leaving Barde the freedom of the track until he too pulled in a lap later. Mac, the provisional leader, chose to pit on lap 13.
Coming back out onto the track, the Dane managed to sneak in front of the group battling for fifth made up of Tengyl, Cecchellero, Bakker, Sbirrazzuoli, Cola and Gardelli, who had replaced Venier.
Up ahead, Barde held a 10”3 advantage over Kuppens. In third was Mauro Calamia whose cute strategy saw him climb the field from twelfth. Behind the Swiss driver came Mac, Tengyl, Cecchellero, Sbirrazzuoli, Bakker, Cola and Gardelli.
All eyes were on Tengyl in this phase of the race as he comfortably held off the attacks launched first by Cecchellero and Sbirrazzuoli. The Chinese driver also had Cola to deal with on lap 17. The action didn’t end there for this group with Sbirrazzuoli hounding Cecchellero into a spin that saw him overtaken by Cola. Cola then got the better of the Monaco-based driver to seize fifth.
Now only Barde, Kuppens and Mac were able to lap in under 1’56” with the Dane pacy enough to pull away from Calamia. Attention was drawn to the duel between Mac and Calamia over the final three laps. The Dane attacked Calamia at different points around the circuit but the Swiss driver held him off without fuss until the final lap when Mac squeezed through at the very last chicane.
So, Ange Barde secured victory from Kuppens (9”8 down), Mac (16”1) and Calamia (16”3). Behind the leaders came Cola, Sbirrazzuoli, Tengyl, Simoni, Cecchellero, Bakker and Gardelli.
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