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RAYMOND BRINGS CROWD TO THEIR FEET WITH PEERLESS PERFORMANCE

RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires championship leader and home hero Cyril Raymond gave the capacity crowds plenty of reason to cheer at Lohéac today (2 September), by speeding to a clean sweep of Qualifying Race triumphs as chief title rival Dan Rooke hit drama...

Q1

R1: With a short run to the first corner at Lohéac, the pole-sitter has a distinct advantage – if they make a good start, and championship leader Cyril Raymond did just that in the first race of the weekend on home soil. The Frenchman led Simon Olofsson, who kept Raymond honest throughout but was never quite close enough to mount a challenge. Jessica Bäckman ultimately prevailed in a tight three-way fight for third with Olsbergs MSE team-mate Tanner Whitten and Thomas Holmen.

R2: William Nilsson led JC Raceteknik stablemate Guillaume De Ridder into Turn One, as contact saw Anders Michalak improve to third ahead of Andreas Bäckman and Glenn Haug. De Ridder pushed Nilsson hard at the front and succeeded in reversing the positions once the joker laps were complete, with Michalak maintaining third at the flag.

R3: Simon Syversen made the most of pole position at the start, as Dan Rooke opportunistically vaulted from fourth to second in the first corner mêlée. The Briton could not make any impression on the leader as the race progressed, however, and actually lost a spot to a hard-charging Sondre Evjen on the last lap, with the young Norwegian following his countryman home in second. Rooke wound up third ahead of Vasiliy Gryazin and Sandra Hultgren.

Q2

R1: Rooke converted pole position into the lead at lights-out, and thereafter proceeded to drive away from his pursuers. The chase was headed by Vasiliy Gryazin, who took advantage of a battling Andreas Bäckman and Haug on the first lap to leapfrog the pair into second. Bäckman ultimately beat his fellow Scandinavian to third, with Hultgren placing fifth.

R2: Contact into the first corner resulted in Evjen emerging in the lead and Jessica Bäckman flying into the wall – and everybody else being delayed. The flying Evjen swiftly made good his escape, as Michalak narrowly held off a hard-charging Holmen for second, with Whitten completing the finishers in fourth – although the American would subsequently be disqualified after his car was found to be underweight.

R3: Raymond seized the advantage at the start and would thereafter never be headed as the Frenchman made it two wins from as many races. Behind the Olsbergs MSE star, Nilsson and De Ridder reprised their Q1 duel, only this time it was the Swede that came out on top after his team-mate found himself stuck behind Syversen upon exiting the joker. The Norwegian maintained his promising form as he very nearly pipped Olofsson to fourth at the chequered flag.

Q3

R1: Pole-sitter Holmen led Haug into the first corner, but a squeeze on the outside resulted in Jessica Bäckman being sent into a spectacular barrel roll, from which she would astonishingly and impressively rejoin. Whitten emerged from the chaos in second, with Haug third. Holmen looked to have the race in the bag, but the leading trio happened upon Bäckman – now suffering with an overheating engine – heading into the last corner on the last lap, and with the young Norwegian momentarily baulked, countryman Haug opportunistically darted past to win.

R2: Gryazin led away at the start, as Michalak and Olofsson disputed second – settled in favour of the former – followed by Syversen and Andreas Bäckman. Gryazin was untroubled out front, with Michalak similarly comfortable in second, but the last three positions would be reversed once all the joker laps had been served, with Bäckman heading home Syversen and Olofsson.

R3: Raymond led at the lights, avoiding the drama that saw Nilsson, Rooke and Evjen make contact, leaving the latter pair with significant damage. Nilsson survived in second ahead of team-mate De Ridder, with the top three holding station all the way to the flag although there would be a late sting in the tail for the Swede in the form of a 30-second post-race penalty for having failed to take his joker lap. Evjen ultimately overhauled Rooke in the battle of the walking wounded some way further back.

Intermediate Classification:

1. Cyril Raymond 150 points
2. Guillaume De Ridder 129 points
3. William Nilsson 115 points
4. Simon Olofsson 111 points
5. Vasiliy Gryazin 110 points
6. Simon Syversen 110 points
7. Anders Michalak 108 points
8. Sondre Evjen 108 points
9. Dan Rooke 108 points
10. Thomas Holmen 105 points
11. Tanner Whitten 105 points
12. Glenn Haug 103 points
13. Andreas Bäckman 103 points
14. Jessica Bäckman 94 points
15. Sandra Hultgren 92 points

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