Race Report: Verschoor wins Academy final and title
Qualifying: Verschoor on pole ahead of Martin
Konstantinos had long held the lead in the first qualifying session of the Academy Trophy at Sarno, but Hikaru Kogure dislodged him shortly before the deadline but then Richard Verschoor finally went ahead courtesy of a lap of 1:11.960s. Kogure stayed 2nd, and Murilo Della Coletta climbed into 3rd position ahead of Konstantinos, Michael Hausler Hafidason in 5th, Artem Slutskiy 6th and Berkay Besler 7th.
Ross Martin, Lucas Légeret and Kakunoski Ota were at the front of the second session, joined in the top five by Xavier Lloveras Brunet and Mike Beckhusen and later Illya Zamula and Oliver York. Ross resisted the threat from Ota with a time of 1:12.013s. Légeret took 3rd at the last moment, Lloveras was 4th, and Michelangelo Amendola 5th ahead of York.
Verschoor was the pole sitter ahead of Martin, with Kogure 3rd, Della Coletta 4th, Ota 5th and Konstantinos 6th.
Heats: Besler emerges at the top after the heats
The young drivers in the Academy Trophy have experienced, some painfully, the new penalty rule for loss of the spoiler after contact.
The three heats during the day didn’t go badly at all. Berkay Besler raced consistently although his times were not particularly exciting and he is on pole in the intermediate standings ahead of Richard Verschoor and Hikaru Kogure who are on equal points. Murilo Della Coletta moved up to fourth while Ross Martin and Lucas Légeret were well back in the race. Some favourites were held up during this phase. Rinus Van Kalmthout is only 19th, Alexandre Vromant 23rd and especially Kakunsohin Ota in 25th in part because of a penalty in the first heat.
Prefinal: Besler ensures the prefinal win
Berkay Besker retained the advantage of his pole position at the start of the Prefinal at the Academy Trophy ahead of Hikaru Kogure and Xavier Brunet Lloveras who took 2nd on the second lap. Richard Verschoor grabbed 3rd place, Lucas Légeret took 5th, Ross Martin 6th and Martin Hesse 7th. Kakunoshin Ota was only 20th, behind Rinus Van Kalmthout, two drivers in contention for the title, while Alexander Vromant was 25th. Verschoor passed Lloveras Brunet for 2nd place on the 3rd lap. Marta Garcia Lopez moved into the top 10 with the fastest lap.
Kogure continued to lose ground, dropping behind Martin. Verschoor upped the pace, 0.6s behind the leader Besler. But the Turk didn’t let it worry him and won ahead of the Dutch driver. Lloveras Brunet finished 3rd, Martin 4th ahead of Alessandro Brigatti. Légeret improved at the end of the race, he was 9th, Van Kalmthout 15th and Ota finished 17th.
Final: Victory and title for Verschoor
Berkay Besler was able to control the heated Ross Martin to retain the lead at the start in the final. Richard Verschoor was in 3rd, he went on the attack and took the lead ahead of Besler, with Max Hesse 3rd, Xavier Brunet Lloveras 4th, Hikaru Kogure 5th, Artem Slutskiy 6th, while Martin found himself out of the top 10. Besler took command on the fourth of 15 laps at the expense of Verschoor. The championship was being played out between these two drivers.
Lucas Légeret, after a superb lap, took 7th ahead of Slutskiy while Marta Garcia Lopez was in 6th position. The positions were always changing in the lead. Verschoor was again leading on lap 6, but their opponents were close behind the duo. Despite being faster, Verschoor could not get away from Besler, and Lloveras was also not far away. Rinus Van Kalmthout returned to 12th position, but especially noticeable was the formidable recovery of Kakunoshi Ota with 20 places in 14 laps, which commands admiration.
Besler upped the pace from the 10th lap onwards and seemed to be able to challenge the leader, he touched his bumper on some parts of the circuit. Verschoor was resistant to the pressure and began to close the doors only on the last lap. Besler didn’t make it easy, but Lloveras Brunet captured 2nd position. Hesse finished 4th, and York 5th ahead of Garcia and Légeret. Van Kalmthout moved into the top 10 ahead of Ota.
The unofficial ranking of the Academy Trophy in 2014 shows Verschoor as the winner ahead of Ota and Van Kalmthout with Besler 4th and Vromant 5th.