Race 3

Abu Dhabi - UAE

Ange Barde

Barde, a triple endurance triumph

Ange Barde’s endurance event winning streak, which started at Sonoma, continued at Yas Marina.

The Frenchman lead from lap one, coping with the pressure and keeping the pack at bay. He also made the most of the extra time his rivals had to spend in the pits to build a decisive lead that saw him to the finish.

The racers rolled off to a fuss-free start but the event soon lost one of its potential stars in Alan Simoni after he collided with Giuseppe Fascicolo. Kuppens was outdone by Barde at turn 2 with Mac, Calamia, Fascicolo, Zamparini and Adrian De Leener all ready to pounce. At the first chicane, with all the cars jostling for position, Bocellari’s race came to a premature end with a broken front-right suspension.

Calamia was another driver to edge past Kuppens while Mac was dealing Zamparini without too much effort.

On lap three, Barde was leading from Calamia (2”0 down), Kuppens (3”2), Mac (4”6), Zamparini (5”6), Fascicolo (8”3), Gobbo (9”9) and Max Braams (12”6).

With the top drivers all posting similar lap times, the action only really came alive when the pit stop window opened on lap 9. Fascicolo was the first in but pulled out rather than hand over to Cecchellero. The damage to the radiator, after the clash with Simoni, was too serious for them to continue.

Barde, up in the lead, saw his lead being cut by Calamia and Kuppens to less than two seconds; Mac, meanwhile, had increased his advantage over Zamparini to four. All eyes were on the pit lane when most of the drivers opted to pull in at the same time. This led to duels taking place ‘off-stage’ with one, between Luc Braams, Carlo Curti and Overgaard, continuing in the tunnel heading out of the pits.

Ange Barde made his pit stop on lap 10, followed a lap later by Calamia, Mac and Kuppens. Once order had returned on lap 13, Barde was leading Mac by 4”6, Calamia by 12”0, Kuppens by 19”7, Zamparini by 23”0, Sbirrazzuoli by 35”7 and Mantovani, Gobbo’s partner, by 38”3. The top eight were within 50 seconds of each other, testimony to how closely matched the cars were. Cordoni, in tenth, ended up spinning but managed to continue. Towards the back of the field, Carlo Curti was putting on a fighting comeback that saw him move to the edge of the points zone, tucked in behind Pietro Foglio.

Mac was smelling victory and lapping five tenths quicker than Barde until he was just under three seconds off the lead. Still, with the end approaching, the race order was unchanged but Segler and Sbirrazzuoli had retired.
So, the season’s last chequered flag was taken Ange Barde from Mikkel Mac (2”6 down) and Mauro Calamia (13”7). Just off the podium came Renaud Kuppens, Patrick Zamparini, and Gobbo/Mantovani. The remaining top ten slots were taken by Cordoni, Cullen/Shovlin, Lino and Carlo Curti and the Foglio/Zanini crew.

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