2017 Champion Marc Garcia returned to the podium top spot, ahead of Jeffrey Buis and Hugo De Cancellis in wet weather drama.
More rain poured today in Magny-Cours; as today’s weather proved to be a lottery with the 300 boys, as last-minute decisions were to be made regarding tyres.
The main man to suffer was pole-man Tom Booth Amos, who was nowhere to be found at the front today, as more bad luck followed from yesterday’s DNF. Having a poor start on Lap 1, it was only backwards for the Brit; as the rain became heavier throughout the 10-lap race, Tom’s slicks proved to be the wrong choice. All three of the RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki riders lost out on today’s race, with Booth-Amos’ finish in 27th being the best result, as Nick Kalinin and Tom Bramich each retired, respectively – yet again, due to choosing to ride on slicks. Today’s race proved the importance of the weather, and just how influential tyre choice can be.
An 8-way battle in the second half of the race saw Garcia fight with the likes of Hugo De Cancellis and Filippo Rovelli; unlike yesterday, Garcia made good use of his P2 position on the grid, remaining in the front group throughout the race.
As the battle for first continued, another fight took place within the lead group, in the form of Jeffrey Buis and Scott Deroue. With just 21 points between them in the championship, Buis looked determined to extend the gap back to his teammate, while Deroue was desperate to close it. Making Race 2 a strategical one for the title rivals.
The MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT duo weren’t the only riders swapping paint in the front group, as Hugo De Cancellis fought his way up from his P9 grid position. De Cancellis broke away from the second group at the race halfway point, crossing the gap to the frontrunners. Taking advantage of the rain, the Frenchman’s pace earned him P1 with 2 laps to go.
On the final lap, Garcia caught up to De Cancellis; a phenomenal highside save from Rovelli put him out of the fight for first, and bumped Buis up to third and into the fight for first, resulting in a nail-biting race finale. While it was Garcia who took the lead, Buis was the one to have a final swipe heading into the last sector, stealing second from De Cancellis in the Turn 11 chicane.
Another sufferer of the weather was Bahattin Sofuoglu, who retired with 2 laps to go, after dropping down the board throughout the race. Luckily for the Turk, however, his third position in the championship remains safe, as 4th place’s Unai Orradre remains 29 points behind.
Buis’ last second steal put De Cancellis between himself and Scott Deroue, a crucial manoeuvre when it comes to the championship points. As Jeffrey Buis now extends his lead to 28 points ahead of his teammate, the title fight will go right down to the wire at the season finale in Estoril, Portugal.
Can Buis wrap it up in Estoril’s Race 1? Or will Deroue make a comeback to steal the crown? We will find out in 2 weeks’ time.
Feature Image: 2R Racing Team