Kuppens takes the win and the titleRenaud Kuppens triumphed in the endurance event and earned the 2013 European title in doing so.
Renaud Kuppens triumphed in the endurance event and earned the 2013 European title in doing so. The Belgian also won the Trofeo Europa last year and drove impeccably today. His cause was helped by Mikkel Mac, his closest rival, only finishing fourth. Drive through penalties featured heavily in the endurance race, as they did in Race 2. This affected the overall standings and influenced how the race unfolded.
The start was pretty uneventful for the leaders with Kuppens holding off Mac, Barde and Cola. In midfield, a clash at Becketts between Waszczinski and Boccellari livened things up and forced the Italian to retire.
Barde mistimed his braking at Stowe and was overtaken by an aggressive Cola, who went on to hassle Mac. Still, Barde did not let his head drop and moved into Cola’s slipstream, ready to pounce. Meanwhile, Calamia was showing how at ease he was on the English circuit, just as he had in the earlier races. His overtaking was spectacular at times, especially his lap 3 move on Simoni.
Even after his good start, Mac struggled to stick with Kuppens and was driving defensively with Cola hard on his heels. The Italian seemed to have found a way through Mac’s inside at Brooklands but both drivers ended up running off the track. Mac came back on in third place, behind Barde, with Cola now in sixth after recovering from his spin.
The race lost one of its stars on lap six when a technical hitch saw Mauro Calamia bow out. This was happening just as the officials were reaching for the black and white flag to show to a group of drivers, including Cola, Pier Marie De Leener, Venier and Mac, for not respecting the track speed limit.
Mac and Kuppens came into the pits for the obligatory stop on lap 12; the other drivers pitted from lap 13 on.
On lap 13, Gobbo, Cola’s partner, was attacked by Ragazzi, Simoni’s replacement. Gobbo ran wide at Copse when attempting to defend his position, making a drive through penalty inevitable. Ragazzi was none the wiser and still tried to overtake his rival, managing to do so coming out of Complex.
On lap 15, Kuppens was holding a 3”6 lead over Barde and 18”5 over Mac. Next came Ragazzi, Gobbo and Bakker. The Dutchman had been driving brilliantly but, two laps later, he was forced to abandon his Trofeo just after the start-finish line. This was not the only shock as Mac was hit with a drive through for not respecting the track limit. The penalty saw him relegated to sixth, behind Adrien De Leener, before Bakker’s retirement. It didn’t take Mac very long to ease back into De Leener’s slipstream and overtake him one lap from the end.
So, the chequered flag was shown to Renaud Kuppens with Barde in second and Ragazzi/Simoni third. Mac took fourth, De Leener an encouraging fifth and Gobba/Cola sixth. Next came Venier/Gardelli, Cesari/Wong and Pierre Marie De Leener/Sbirrazzuoli.
» Official website