Kuppens in overall command with one round left in the Maserati Trofeo
The last race in round five of the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series, held at Shanghai, saw Ange Barde climb to the top of the podium. Barde’s latest win is a repeat of his victory in the endurance event at Sonoma in August. The Frenchman’s victory marked a turnaround in his fortunes in China after two retirements on Saturday. Barde made the most of his not being handicapped during the pits stops, extra time that Renaud Kuppens (second) and Mikkel Mac (third) had to sit out.
Fourth across the line was Mauro Calamia who put on a convincing drive from a starting position of twelfth. The Swiss driver saw his podium place vanish only towards the end of the 50-minute race when Mikkel Mac got the better of an exciting duel in which both drivers gave as good as they got. The fans that had gathered at the cutting-edge Formula 1 circuit were glued to the action. The crew made up of Alberto Cola and Patrick Gobbo took fifth ahead of Sbirrazzuoli and Adrien De Leener. Jiaing Tengyl, the first of the Asian drivers taking part, finished seventh. In all, 26 Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeos lined up on the grid.
During the day, a number of special awards were bestowed on the best drivers from Asia in Maserati’s Hospitality area. The prizewinners were the Chinese pairing of Wang Yang and Wei Yu and the crew formed by Akihiro Asai (Japan) and Billy Fung (Hong Kong).
Saturday’s races were won by Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Alan Simoni.
With Shanghai out of the way, Renaud Kuppens is still in command of the Overall classification on 229 points. In second is Mikkel Mac who has closed in and is now 52 points off the pace. Third is the Italian crew of Simoni/Ragazzi on 115 with Ange Barde sitting on 113.
The final, decisive round in the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series will be run in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) on 13 December.
Ange Barde: “I am pleased to have finished this race and I did it in the best possible way by making the top of the podium. On the other two occasions, be it down to bad luck or clashing with other drivers, I was forced to retire. The win is even more special and came in front of lots of friends who came here to support me”.
Renaud Kuppens: “It was crucial to finish the Shanghai weekend with a solid performance to leave me with a healthy lead going into the last round in Abu Dhabi. Perhaps I could have collected a few more points yesterday but I opted not to take any risks and limit the pit lane handicap. The plan worked out well and allowed me to take this second place. The only disappointment is that this is the only round this season in which I haven’t won a race”.
Race 3 results1. Ange Barde 51’40.7272. Renaud Kuppens 51’50.567*3. Mikkel Mac 51’56.921
*taking part in the Pirelli Team Cup
Overall classification1 Renaud Kuppens 229 points2 Mikkel Mac 177 points3 Simoni/Ragazzi 151 points