Trofeo World Series 2012 - Paul Ricard
ROUND 4, PAUL RICARD: Kuppens wins European title
In spite of a problem due to a little bad luck, Renaud Kuppens came away from the fourth event in the Maserati Trofeo World Series Maserati at the Paul Ricard circuit with an impressive haul. Thanks to the points received for his second place in race 1 and pole position for race 2, the Belgian concluded the European phase of the manufacturer’s championship by winning the continental title. He also staked a strong claim for the world title, to be decided at the two remaining events at the Infineon Raceway in the USA and in Shanghai in China.
However, the fight for this title is still wide open: the other hopefuls include the team of Giuseppe Fascicolo and Giorgio Sernagiotto, who recorded the best time in the first qualifying session and won race 1 at Paul Ricard, the pairing of Alan Simoni and Roberto Ragazzi, who made the podium once again with third place in race 1 and second place in race 2 respectively and, some way behind, Andrea Dromedari, who started to compete with Max Pigoli at the previous event, in Imola, and achieved his first victory of the season in race 2 on the French circuit.
After the Paul Ricard meeting, Kuppens leads the championship table, followed by Fascicolo-Sernagiotto only seven points behind, Simoni-Ragazzi ten adrift and Dromedari twenty. Kuppens has the advantage of competing alone and always managing to be very fast - as his stunning pole position for race 2 proved - and very consistent during the races.
The Sernagiotto-Fascicolo team is less well balanced: at Paul Ricard the former recorded his third victory in four races while his partner, a genuine gentleman driver, finished fifth. The Simoni-Ragazzi couple is less consistent; in the previous race in particular they forfeited a lot of points due to a number of errors.
Finally, Riccardo Romagnoli and Edo Varini, and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Alessandro Chionna, had to bid farewell to their title hopes. Romagnoli paid the price for trying to be too competitive with three spins in the two races, although one was not his fault, while Sbirrazzuoli was the victim of an overly aggressive duel with the leader Sernagiotto, hitting his car while trying to overtake him and finishing out of the race.
I am pleased at getting my first win in the Maserati Trofeo. I managed to take the lead at the start and just never let go.
RACE 1: Treble for Sernagiotto while Sbirrazzuoli’s bid for the lead ends in retirement
In race 1, Sernagiotto immediately surged into the lead, followed by Kuppens. Barde initially attempted to attack the leading pair, but then fell into step behind them. While Sernagiotto increased his lead, Sbirrazzuoli overtook first Barde and then Kuppens. But then the Swiss driver attempted his attack on Sernagiotto too soon and ended up colliding with a lapped driver and being forced out of the race. This left Sernagiotto to go on to his third victory.
RACE 2: With an impressive start, Dromedari takes an early lead ahead of Ragazzi
Dromedari surprised everyone in race 2. Starting in third place, he immediately sprang into the lead. A fierce struggle then ensued amongst the first five, all within 3.5 seconds of each other, and Dromedari took advantage of this to proceed to an unchallenged victory. In the dogfight between Ragazzi, Barde and Romagnoli behind him, the latter two collided leaving Romagnoli in a spin and enabling Venier to finish third ahead of Romagnoli.