Willemsen masterclass in race one

09/07/2017

Race One – In boiling hot, sunny conditions, crews rocketed off the line on a regraded track surface. In the shadow of the giant wind generators, they made an impressive sight as the gate dropped.

Willemsen/Bax had chosen the extreme left of the grid – and that worked for them. The usual nervous gardening had taken place with most of the teams searching for the extra ounce of wheel-grip.

Willemsen got the hole shot from Etienne Bax and Vanluchene, and Julian Veldman close behind.

The conditions played into the hands of the “sandmeisters” and they steadily pulled away.

Hermans/van Gaalen hit trouble on lap five and dropped out of contention. Up to that point, they had been going well.

Then, sensationally, Bax/Musset collided with a bogged down backmarker and spent precious seconds pulling themselves out of trouble.

Veldman moved to second, whilst series leader Valentin Giraud was up to fifth after another slow start.

Not for nothing is Willemsen multiple world champion, and his class showed as he piloted his immaculate outfit perfectly throughout.

Bax meanwhile, was closing in again on Veldman/den Bogaart as both crews ran into traffic without incident. Next up were Vanluchene/Kurpieks with Giraud/Mucenieks coming up to play.

Stuart Brown/Joe Millard laboured up through the field and were in eighth at the half-hour point with a big gap to seventh. Shortly after they were to drop a place again, only to have an inspired ride to eventually claim seventh.

Willemsen though, was invincible and made it to the flag with an impressive lead. Giraud stayed fifth, but his series lead is now looking shaky as Bax was two places ahead behind Veldman, with Vanluchene in fourth.

 From Barry Nutley