The Barde of Zandvoort

Ange Barde threw down the gauntlet to his Ferrari Challenge title rivals with a win and a second place at the season's halfway point at Zandvoort on Sunday. His main competitor, Irishman Michael Cullen, had a far from ideal weekend that leaves him 36 points adrift of Barde in the title race

The Barde of Zandvoort

Luciano Linos, an Italian Challenge regular and double winner in the European series last year, sat on pole for his 2003 début in the European Challenge. He made a strong getaway from a badly formed rolling grid that should never have been shown the green light and held off Barde in the opening laps.

Frenchman Barde heaped on the pressure, though, and passed Linos around the outside into Tarzanbocht on lap six. Cullen nearly demoted Linos to third on the next lap but was frustrated by the waved yellows triggered by an incident between Nick Hommerson and Norbert Graf. Although Cullen harassed Linos to the flag he was unable to overtake. Teammate Paddy Shovlin followed him home in a lonely fourth.

Linos made amends at the start of race two, not allowing Barde the luxury of a single lap in the lead. Barde tucked behind the Italian for half the race before a spin lost him 12 seconds. Unlike at Le Mans, when the 550 Maranello he was driving went up in flames, luck was on the Frenchman's side at Zandvoort. He recovered and finished second, with Shovlin taking third place - the Irishman's third podium finish of the season.

Andreas Koenig and Emilio Giusti shared the class two spoils. Koenig's win owed much to a stop-go penalty given to Giusti after the Italian jumped the start in the first race. On Sunday, though, Giusti made a start that was both lightening-quick and legal. It launched him from sixth on the grid to first in two corners and he never looked back. Koenig now leads the series by 16 points from Freddy Kremer.

Ange Barde (F) 26:00.28
Luciano Linos (I) 26:04.29
Michael Cullen (IRL) 26:04.49
Paddy Shovlin (IRL) 26:22.96
Daniel Kunzli (CH) 26:29.01
Martin Lanting (NED) 26:29.19

Luciano Linos (I) 39:06.14
Ange Barde (F) 39:16.81
Paddy Shovlin (IRL) 39:18.241
Norbert Graf (D) 39:18.88
Martin Lanting (NED) 39:20.63
Nick Hommerson (NED) 39:22.29

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