Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset victorious, scoring double top in Kivioli
Overnight rain, and I mean heavy rain complete with thunderstorms, dampened the track surface enough for it to be much more rideable than in qualifying. The nature of the ground here means that it drains well, so there would be no mud issues such as we saw in Kramolin.
Morning warm-up was encouraging for Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset, as they jumped into the 1.54's, equally the best time set yesterday in the dust. That meant that nothing, or very little had changed in the track condition.
Arne Dierckens and Valentin Giraud kept them company, very close on times, with Stuart Brown, Etienne Bax and Marvin Vanluchene the next three crews.
Giraud had experienced great success here at Kivioli over the years, so his hopes were high. Would the expectations be fulfilled?
Race One – Before the gate even dropped there was drama for Valentin Giraud and Andres Haller with a recalcitrant Mega engine and a bad misfire. He appealed as the two minute board went up, but it was to no avail, and to his dismay, he was obliged to quit.
It was a flying start for Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset, from a rapid Davy Sanders/Lari Kunnas, Arne Dierckens/Robbie Bax and Etienne Bax/Kaspars Stupelis. This was an unusually good start for the red plate holder, but the pace at the front was incredibly fast.
Marvin Vanluchene was down the order in sixth, deeply aware of what he needed to do.
With Hermans out in front, points were vital for him, so he set about conquering all ahead. After a scrap with Kert Varik and Lauris Daiders, he made his way past both Dierckens and Sanders into third place. That is where he stayed, with Etienne Bax holding second to the flag.
Stuart Brown/Josh Chamberlain battled from a bad start and found themselves in ninth locked in a scrap with Gert van Werven, Zeno Compalati, and the fading Igor Rodionov. The Estonian had started strongly just as in qualifying, but the heat of the chase, and his lack of world class track time took its toll.
This was an impressive display from Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset in the face of disaster for Giraud and his “no-show”. Hopefully the Frenchman would sort his problems and allow himself to make up some lost ground.
Brown kept the pressure on and was able to make his way through to seventh, making up somewhat for his zero score in France.
Such was the nature of this fast track with its massive jumps, making up places called for brave action.
Result – 1Hermans/Musset, 2/ Bax/Stupelis, 3/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart,
4/ Dierckens/Bax, 5/ Sanders/Kunnas, 6/ Varik/Daiders, 7/ Brown/Chamberlain,
8/ Compalati/Chopin, 9/ Van Werven/Beunk
Race Two – This time Giraud got away, but not well, in fact he was not in the top twenty, so he had plenty of work to do. Likewise, Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis had a shocking start and had to fight from tenth on lap one.
At the front though, it was a brilliant start by Arne Dierckens and Robbie Bax, chased all the way round turn one by Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain. The British pair were flying this time, and became embroiled in a scrap with Davy Sanders and Lari Kunnas.
Sanders was as consistent as ever, and simply kept the pressure on, getting the better of Brown as the race wore on.
In fourth after after lap one, Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset were in brilliant form, and steadily wore Brown and Sanders down before setting their sights on Dierckens.
Once by the young Belgian, Hermans and Musset opened a comfortable cushion which they held for the entire race. This was vindication of just how much they had been robbed in previous failures of mechanical parts, or by crashes in recent races.
With Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart fighting up from sixth, Hermans knew he was going to take yet more points off his Belgian rival, and was under no impression he was doing anything else but win the race.
Vanluchene got the hurry-up as Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis closed in, and they were eventually to climb to fourth behind Arne Dierckens, retaining the red plate, although with a slightly diminished series lead
Result – 1/Hermans/Musset, 2/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart, 3/ Dierckens/Bax,
4/ Bax/Stupelis, 5/ Sanders/Kunnas, 6/ Van Werven/Beunk, 7/ Brown/Chamberlain,
8/ Giraud/Haller, 9/ Santermans/Beleckas, 10/ Kolencik/Hejhal
Standings – Updated standings are available on this website
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From Barry Nutley