Jordan Brown-Nutley wins on the line
Jessica Backman (Daems Racing) set the benchmark and upstaged her male opponents, but the decision was a close one: only 0.001s separated the Swedish driver from her closest chaser, which was championship leader Nicolas Schoell (Strawberry Racing) from Austria. Dutchman Lars Lamborelle (Dan Holland Racing), Spanish local hero Lluc Ibanez (Binakart) and Belgium’s Glenn van Parijs (Bouvin Power) followed directly behind.
In the heats Berkay Besler (Bouvin Power) took control. After being in 7th in Qualifying, the Turk really stepped up and won all of the heats so freshly crowned X30 Euro Series champion asserted himself on top in the inyermediate classification. Lars Lamborelle followed in 2nd place ahead o Schoell, Jordan Brown-Nutley (Dan Holland Racing) from the UK and van Parijs. Pole sitter Backman could notfollow on with her performance from Friday. She dropped back to 7th place in the ranking and was looking unlikely to play a decisive role in the final phase.
Besler, Schoell and van Parijs formed the leading trio in the Prefinal, and were able to pull away from the rest of the grid. Besides a brief change of lead in favour of Schoell, the order was settled. But then the race was stopped by a red flag due to an incident at the back of the grid. After the re-start Schoell did not wait long in order to make another move on Besler: with two laps to go, the Austrian took the lead and defended it up to the finish line. Behind him the fight was very close and many drivers struggled for the leading positions: Finally it was Brown-Nutley who showed an impressive final spurt, rewarding him with 2nd place ahead of Besler and van Parijs. Championship contender Gary Donnelly (Strawberry Racing) gained important points in 5th place.
In the Final, Schoell, Brown-Nutley and Besler pulled away from the field in the first laps, occasionally changing the lead. By halftime another group of drivers was able to catch up and disturbed the peace at the top. That was when Schoell had to fight hardest: the Austrian could not keep the pressure and dropped back to 5th place in the end. On top Brown-Nutley established himself in the lead and got rear cover from his team-mate Lamborelle, who had started the race from 6th place. The DHR drivers then broke away and arranged the win amongst themselves. Towards the end Lars Lamborelle made a successful move and seemed to defend his position up to the chequered flag. But literally on the finish line, he was caught by Brown-Nutley. In a last minute action the Brit drew out of the slipstream and took the win by only 0.016s over Lamborelle in 2nd place. Besler completed the podium in 3rd spot ahead of van Parijs and Schoell.
When it comes to the championship Schoell was able to celebrate the overall victory. Since the championship aspirants Donnelly and Rinus van Kalmthout (Daems Racing) experienced a topsy-turvy weekend with rather moderate race and point results, Schoell gained enough points to secure the European title before the big finale in France. Only very extraordinary circumstances could influence the championship at Salbris.