Hungary’s Bence Balogh continued his domination of the 2018 Lotus Cup Europe season with a second hat-trick of victories when the FIA International Series returned to France last weekend (6-8 July).
Lotus Cup Europe made its first visit to the former home of the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours since 2015, with three races supporting the Championnat de France Camions truck racing series. This posed no problems for Balogh, who joined the championship after its last visit to the venue, as he qualified on pole position. Despite fierce opposition from reigning champion John Rasse from Belgium, who led the first and final races, the Hungarian assumed his authority to take the chequered flag three times, with Rasse finishing in second place on each occasion.
Britain’s Jason McInulty, a winner last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, completed the podium in race one, but was denied a third place finish by compatriot Steve Williams in the second encounter. Williams also got the better of his Evora rival in a thrilling four-way lead battle in the third race, and was on course for second place having also demoted Rasse, but his car made it no further than the Adelaide hairpin on the final lap.
In the 2-Eleven class, reigning category champion Christophe Lisandre scored a victory but was defeated by rival and fellow Frenchman Christopher Laroche in two of the races.
Having failed to finish race one, Britain’s David Harvey capitalised on mechanical troubles for Open class leader and compatriot Andrew Wright to score two category victories in his 340R. The opening encounter was claimed by British Exige driver Pete Storey.
Three sensational races in the Production class featured ultra-close battles between England’s Mark Yates and Swedes Sven Pettersson and Cai Cederholm on the same weekend that the two countries battled in the Football World Cup. Yates upheld English honour with two victories, whilst Pettersson also claimed a win in race two. France’s Thierry Hedoin stood on the podium in race three.
Balogh’s triple win and Wright’s mechanical woes mean that the Hungarian now takes a commanding lead in the championship standings heading into the next rounds at Belgium’s Zolder circuit on 9-11 August.
V6 Cup Bence Balogh (HUN, Evora GT4)
2-Eleven Race one and three: Christopher Laroche (FRA), race two: Christophe Lisandre (FRA)
Open Race one: Pete Storey (Exige), race two and three: David Harvey (GBR, 340R)
Production Race one and three: Mark Yates (GBR, Elise Cup R), race two: Sven Pettersson (SWE, Elise Cup R)
Images courtesy of Kevin Ritson.