Kuppens defeats a hardworking MacRenaud Kuppens added Race 2 to yesterday’s win. This was another impeccable display of driving as he controlled things from start to finish.
The Belgian proved that he is the man to beat and was unruffled by Mac’s attempts to catch him. The Dane finished in second spot and again showed how quick he is but he couldn’t get the better of his expert rival. In third was a superb Alberto Cola as he made another podium like he did at Paul Ricard.
Today’s conditions were much improved with the sun shining on Eifel, warmer temperatures and perfect visibility. The group was bunched through the first turn and, unlike the first race, this time there was trouble for some of the drivers. Coming off worst was Mathjis Bakker who was rammed by Adrien De Leener. The two cars parked up at the side of the track in a spot the officials thought was dangerous so the safety car was called for. Before the accident, Mac had managed to climb into third by keeping tight to the inside of turn one and making up for a so-so start. At turn two, Calamia sent his team mate Gardelli into a spin and then ran wide when trying to avoid him. Ragazzi and Barde made the most of the confusion as they found themselves in tenth and fourteenth, respectively, after starting on the last row.
The safety car was on until lap three, freezing the positions that saw Kuppens leading from Cadei, Mac, Cecchellero, Cola, Durante and Segler. When things got going again, Cecchellero was caught out and lost touch with Mac. His uncertainty allowed Cola to overtake in the mixed section of the circuit. Katsura was quick to get past Segler to move into seventh while a Cadei error saw Mac and Cola steam through. While this was going on, Davide Durante built on his fast start by moving into Cecchellero’s slipstream and then overtaking him.
A couple of laps later, Ibran tried to attack Segler at the hairpin but was shut out. The two collided, spun, but managed to keep going. However, the officials ruled that Segler’s move was illegal and hit him with a drive-through.
With 5 laps on the board, the top four drivers were within three seconds of each other. Though it wasn’t that exciting to watch, they were all driving at a very high level.
In the middle of the pack, Barde and Calamia were battling for ninth spot. In the end, the Frenchman got the better of the Swiss driver and charged after Ragazzi, now in eighth.
With no Cadei ahead of him, Mac was now targeting Kuppens and set a series of quick laps. The Dane posted 2:07.967 on lap six but Kuppens responded with 2:07.652 a lap later. The personal battle was not the only one being fought: Cadei was closing in on Cola and hounding him for third. The four-way fight for seventh between Katsura, Ragazzi, Barde and Calamia was much hotter with fewer than three seconds separating them.
Katsura, the guest driver in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP car, decided to sit back after mixing it for a few laps with the usual Trofeo drivers. Just ahead of this group Cecchellero was trying to wrestle Durante for fifth but pushed his tyres that little bit too hard. After riding the kerb once too often, the tyres finally gave out and the youngster was forced to retire.
This episode opened the door for Ragazzi and Barde to complete their fine comeback – they were now in six and seventh. The two could have attempted to harass Durante as he had really slowed down but the chequered flag called a halt to proceedings.
So, at the end of the allotted thirty minutes, the race order read: Kuppens, Mac, Cola, Cadei, Durante, Ragazzi, Barde, Calamia, Katsura and Merjech. It was an exciting race with a series of duels taking place up and down the field. It also gave Renaud Kuppens the chance to reinforce his overall lead, Mikkel Mac to confirm his talent and Alberto Cola to show he is podium material.
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