It was a triumphant weekend for Konvex Motorsport's Renaud Kuppens. The Belgian secured two wins and a second place in the first round of the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series. After this weekend's action at Paul Ricard, France, Kuppens leads the standings on 59 points.
The reigning champion in Maserati's single-make series missed out on only the final race of a weekend conditioned by fog and rain; the weather even forced Saturday's second qualifying session to be cancelled. It was Mikkel Mac, the Dane making his debut, who secured the win in the 50-minute endurance race. The safety car was called for just after the start to allow debris to be removed from turn one. The debris came from a crash involving Riccardo Ragazzi, Niki Cadei and Andrea Gardelli; all three were ruled out. When things got going again, the action came thick and fast with places continually swapped. With the compulsory pit stops out of the way, Mac had taken the lead by making the most of the new regulation that adds 20 seconds to the time the quickest driver in the first two races has to pit. In this case it was Kuppens.
Behind the Dane and the Belgian came the Swiss Team pairing of Romagnoli/Calamia. The crew made the most of the drive-through handed to Mathijs Bakker for not respecting the pit-stop window - this was the second podium Bakker missed out on this weekend. The Dutchman eventually took sixth behind Columbian Felipe Merjech. In fourth came a surprising Maxim Akhtyamov, the Russian journalist appearing as a Maserati Trofeo guest and who set the race's fastest lap of 241.229.
Taking the runners-up spots behind Kuppens in the 30' events were Niki Cadei and Alberto Cola (on Saturday) and Riccardo Ragazzi and Mathijs Bakker (on Sunday morning).
The next round in the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series is scheduled for 2 June at Germany's famous Nuerburgring.
Renaud Kuppens: "It was a fantastic weekend: two wins and a second place in the endurance race was the most I could have hoped for in France. The weather was no help at all and the safety car also held me up. Without the stop I might have built up a big enough lead to have come out of the pits in the lead. Still, those are the rules and this is still a great result. Now we prepare for Germany and the Nuerburgring; my favourite of the European circuits".
Race 2 results 1. Renaud Kuppens 32:43.862* 2. Ragazzi/Simoni 32:49.188 3. Mathijs Bakker 32:49.934
Race 3 results 1. Mikkel Mac 52:07.473 2. Renaud Kuppens 52:14.922* 3. Romagnoli/Calamia 52:47.191*
*taking part in the Pirelli Team Cup
Overall classification 1 Renaud Kuppens 59 points 2 Mikkel Mac 37 points 3 Cadei/PellegrinelliSimoni/Ragazzi - Bakker 25 points