Lorenz Luciano (Junior Black Knights Team) is the first race winner of the 2021 Northern Talent Cup, the Belgian coming out on top in a race-long duel to take victory by less than a tenth in tricky conditions at Le Mans. Jakub Gurecky (JRT Brno Circuit) was the rider just denied in second, with his teammate Jonas Kocourek taking a lonelier but commendable third as Round 1 Race 1 started wet and then dried out throughout the 15 laps.
It was polesitter and rookie Rossi Moor (FAIRIUM Next Generation Riders Team) who took the holeshot, but the Hungarian was soon hit by bad luck in the first dose of drama: overcooking it out of the chicane, the number 92 slid out the lead, leaving Luciano to take over. From there, experience and speed from some familiar 2020 frontrunners started to show as Luciano led from Gurecky, and Kocourek, Jacopo Hosciuc (Hos Racing Team) and Niklas Kitzbichler (Racing-Team-Kitzbichler) squabbled it out.
As the laps ticked by, however, Luciano and Gurecky started to make a break for it. The gap extended and extended as the 59 led first before the 81 struck back, but by the final few laps it was an almost as-you-were, locked together and everything set for a duel to the flag.
That’s exactly what we got, as Gurecky steamed past for the lead at Turn 1 on the last lap and prepared to defend from the Junior Black Knights rider behind. The next lunge was a huge dive from Luciano early on the final lap, and the metres lost seemed almost insurmountable but not so. The number 81 somehow clawed his way back onto the rear of the Czech rider, so would he try it again and could he? Yes and yes, and this time he made it stick. The ball was in Gurecky’s court and as the final chance for a dive up the inside before the drag to the line approached, and the Czech rider looked tempted… but it wasn’t to be.
They crossed the line glued together but with Luciano ahead, the Belgian taking the first win of the season and by definition, the points lead. Gurecky’s P2 was impressive nevertheless, with teammate Kocourek completing the podium after pulling well clear of those on the chase.
They were led by an impressive ride from Lennox Phommara (Phommara Team) as the Swiss rookie took fourth place late on, coming back into it to overcome an impressive but slightly fading Kitzbichler, as did Dustin Schneider (PrüstelGP Junior Team) as the German completed the top five. Kitzbichler takes a solid sixth. Where’s Hosciuc? The Romanian sadly crashed out and will be another out for revenge on Sunday, along with Rossi Moor.
Seventh went to Kas Beekmans (Team KNMV) as the Dutchman had a solid first race of 2021, with Noel Willemsen (PrüstelGP Junior Team) taking P8. Tibor Varga (Forty Racing Team) took ninth, the Hungarian impressing to get back into the top ten despite a double Long Lap for a jump start. Compatriot rookie Kevin Farkas (FAIRIUM Next Generation Riders Team) completed the top ten.
That’s it from Sunday and it’s advantage Luciano after Race 1. Race 2 gives Gurecky chance to fight back and the likes of Moor and Hosciuc the stage to bounce back… but how will the conditions change? All will be revealed as the lights go out for Race 2 at the adjusted time of 16:25 (GMT +2)!