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Motorsport Games: France leads the way with three gold medals on Saturday

Host nation France led the way with three golds at the FIA Motorsport Games at Paul Ricard as the first of the medals were handed out.

#81France Mercedes AMG GT3: Eric Debard, Simon Gachet, GT Cup

SRO

Spain missed out on gold, despite securing six medals, while the United Kingdom took a gold and a bronze.

France’s opening triumph came in the GT Cup, with Simon Gachet and Eric Debard prevailing against a charging Germany in a race that finished behind the safety car.

Team UK’s pairing of Ian Loggie and Sam Neary secured bronze, the latter called up at the last minute for the unwell Chris Froggatt.

Frenchman David Meat was the class of the field in the Senior Cross Car event, building on a dominant semi-final performance to win the final ahead of Spain’s Ivan Pina-Chinchilla, who recovered from a slow start to beat Sweden’s Patrick Halberg to second.

The UK’s Dan Rooke suffered heartbreak after a second engine failure in as many days ended his day early.

Team Netherland’s Nathan Ottink won the final in the Junior equivalent, holding off Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson. Diego Martinez Gonzalez was third for Spain, while UK’s Corey Padgett missed out on a medal in fourth despite charging up the order.

Mathieu Arzeno took France’s third gold alongside co-driver Romain Roche in Rally2 in a Skoda Fabia as the day’s action drew to a close, having won all-but-one special stage, while Spain secured another silver.

#12 France Skoda Fabia Rally2 EVO: Mathieu Arzeno, Romain Roche, Rally 2

#12 France Skoda Fabia Rally2 EVO: Mathieu Arzeno, Romain Roche, Rally 2

Photo by: SRO

Italy took a double-gold in the other two rally disciplines, with Roberto Dapra and Luca Guglielmetti triumphing in a Peugeot 208 in Rally4 after a close fight with Spain, who suffered a 10-second penalty and dropped to third behind Turkey, and Andrea Zivian and Nicola Arena dominated the Historic Rally in an Audi Quattro.

Belgium won the four-hour Karting Endurance event, finishing one lap clear of Spain.

The UK led early on, but were handed a 10s stop/go penalty for its kart not being stationary during a driver change.

Despite recovering to pass Spain for second, the Titan Motorsport-run squad was further thwarted by an exhaust failure and an uncompetitive replacement kart, eventually finishing fourth behind the Czech Republic.

Team Latvia’s Kristaps Bluss beat Kuwait’s Ali Mahkseed to gold in the final of a spectacular drifting competition in a BMW E92.

Despite setting the second-highest score in qualifying, UK’s Martin Richards was eliminated in the last-16 round in an iconic Nissan Skyline R32.

There was further disappointment for the UK with Mark King and Laura Christmas knocked out by Israel in a tight quarter-final in Auto Slalom.

But the team’s spirits were soon lifted by James Baldwin, who delivered on his pre-event favourite tag by taking a lights-to-flag victory ahead of Chris Harteveld (Netherlands) and Alberto Garcia Gomez (Spain) in the Esports final.

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