Super MacMikkel Mac had to beat the rain and an in-form Renaud Kuppens to secure Race 3. Kuppens had earlier taken races 1 and 2 in this first round of the Maserati Trofeo but this time missed out.
Cautious at the start, decisive when needed, mean when overtaking and quick when other drivers struggled to stay on the track; this was a fantastic drive. It was a majestic win and pushes the young Dane into the spotlight as a possible challenger to Kuppens in 2013.
The group was packed close together at the start and this increased the chances of the cars clashing. Unlike the first two races, turn one was the scene for a series of accidents that conditioned the outcome. Cola pulled alongside Kuppens but he held firm. Behind them came the crash that took out one of the main players: Ragazzi, overtaken by Cola at the off, tried hard not to lose any more positions and clipped Cadei. This set off a spin that saw the driver from Sarmico end up in the middle of the track just as Gardelli came through; the impact was inevitable, as was the safety car coming on to allow the debris to be taken away. Even before the officials could call the safety car out, Cola lost control of his Trofeo and fell back down the field. Romagnoli broke the deadlock and overtook Bakker, who soon hit back.
Up front, behind the safety car, filed Kuppens, Bakker, Romagnoli, Akhtyamov, Boccellari, Zanini, Silva and Cola. Ragazzi had been forced to retire.
Once the cars started racing again, Romagnoli set about Bakker once more and this time overtook and left him behind. He was helped by the field being bunched up again with Silva, Cola, Adrian De Leener, Mac and Zanini all competing for fifth. The weather was not helping the drivers with Herpell and Zanini both spinning. This opened the door for Delli Guanti, up to seventh, and Fascicolo, in eleventh.
Akhtyamov, pressured by Cola, mistimed his braking at Mistral and was overtaken by the Italian on lap four. Cola then got past Bakker a lap later while Akhtyamov and Mac closed in on the front two.
As the pit stop window opened, Akhtyamov was outdone by Mac. The Dane was in storming form and also found a way past Bakker.
First to pull into the pits, on lap six, were Cesari and Fascicolo. Mac opted to stay out and gained two seconds a lap on Cola. He was soon into Cola’s slipstream even though visibility forced the Dane to lift off the pedal at times.
Just behind the leaders, Columbian Merjech swept past Javier to take seventh behind Akhtyamov. The Russian was contesting fifth spot with Bakker before pitting, on lap eight, along with Romagnoli. One lap later it was the turn of Kuppens, Cola and Mac with Kuppens having to stay in the pit lane for an extra 20 seconds as a handicap for his points haul in the first two races; Bakker and Mac for five. When they came back out, Gobbo (Cola’s replacement) led Mac and Kuppens. The young Italian needed time to get to know how the car handled in the wet and was overtaken by Mac. He then went on to lose control of his Trofeo on the Mistral straight, allowing Kuppens through for a risky overtaking move.
With the window now shut, Mac was holding a lead from Kuppens, Calamia, Akhtyamov, Cecchellero (Fascicolo’s team mate), Gobbo, Merjech, Adrian De Leener and Barde (who had replaced Sicart). Gobbo was finding it hard to keep his spot against drivers with more experience on the wet track and he soon had to give way to Merjech.
The race was unfolding without any major surprises but it was easy for mistakes to be made. One was made by Kuppens while lapping Pierre Marie de Leener: he clipped him, damaging a flick up, and sent his fellow Belgian into a spin.
On lap thirteen, Calamia also spun, leaving Bakker free to strike. However, Bakker was then hit with a drive through for not making his pit stop in the regulation time.
Still the rain came down and still the drivers suffered: Cecchellero careered into a spin when in sixth place. Fascicolo’s team mate lost three positions in the process, just as Akhtyamov was setting the race’s fastest lap of 2’41”229. The Russian contested third spot with Calamia but could not wrestle it away.
In the end, Mikkel Mac triumphed from Kuppens, Calamia, Akhtyamov, Merjech and Bakker. Then came Gobbo, Cecchellero, Adrien De Leener, Barde, Zamparini, Bettini, Javier and Herpell.
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