Konvex Motorsports Renaud Kuppens notched the first win of the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series season. The Belgian commanded on the French circuit of Paul Ricard: he started on pole and made the most of the indecision shown by his direct rival, Alan Simoni, at the start. One driver who did his best to stick to the reigning champion was debutant Alberto Cola whose series of quick laps saw him eventually finish second. Cola, however, was slapped with a 25 second penalty for making a flying start, a decision that saw him relegated to third. Race officials also took the same action against Patrick Zamparini, Riccardo Romagnoli and Daniel Waszcinzki.
Ultimately, second place went to another driver making his series debut: Niki Cadei; he also topped the class in the Pirelli Drivers Cup. Simoni took fourth in a race disputed in the rain. Indeed, the weather was the main talking point today with the fog forcing organisers to suspend action on the track for lengthy periods and to cancel the second Maserati Trofeo qualifying session. The grid order for tomorrows two races were determined by the only qualifying session run, meaning that Kuppens will lead the field in both events.
Maxim Akhtyamov, the Russian journalist, did very well to finish fifth. He is a guest driver for this weekend and will not be picking up any championship points. Another new entry doing well was the Dane Mikkel Mac.
Race 2 is scheduled for tomorrow morning, 9.55-10.25, with Race 3, timed for 14.35-15.25, being transmitted live on Sport Italia 2 in Italy and on MotorsTv abroad.
Renaud Kuppens: Things couldnt have gone any better. The win was built on a perfect qualifying session that saw me take pole. Compared to this morning, the weather had really changed. It was much more difficult and you needed to find new reference points for each turn. Two laps behind the safety car I made the most of Simonis hesitation and managed to put some space between us. Halfway through the race, Alberto Cola tried to turn up the heat and a mistake I made nearly saw me throw it all away. Luckily, I managed to get it together and cross the line first.
Race 1 result 1. Renaud Kuppens 3119.281* 2. Cadei/Pellegrinelli 31:35.934 3. Cola/Gobbo 31:48.261
*taking part in the Pirelli Team Cup