Portuguese DD2 star Tiago Ribeiro stormed to victory in the third round of the 2010 Rotax Euro Challenge DD2 Championship at the Austrian Speedworld venue, upsetting the series pacesetters in the process.
The Intrepid mounted Ribeiro, little more than a bit part player in the opening two rounds of the championship, was on the pace right from the word go in his Korridas run kart and coped well despite the shift from boiling temperatures seen at the start of the weekend to the cooler weather than characterised Sunday's finals.
Ribeiro set his stall out early, leading the way in timed qualifying by three hundredths from Haase mounted Dutchman Maik Barten and the Intrepid of Poland's Tomasz Krzeminski. Championship leader Andreas Jensen qualified sixth fastest one place behind his nearest points rival, Englishman Patrick Pearce.
Ribeiro backed up his qualifying form with victory in two of the three heats, only missing out on a clean sweep when Barten pipped him to the post by six tenths in heat two.
Continuing to provide the closest competition to Ribeiro, Barten started the 17-lap pre-final from the outside of the front row but was unable to keep pace with the flying Portuguese driver, who crossed the line more than two seconds ahead of Barten with round two winner, Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis, rounding out the top three.
Points leader Jensen could only finish tenth as his weekend-long struggles continued, finishing directly behind Pearce and leading lady Tiffany Chittenden, who was back in action after missing the previous round through injury.
With temperatures a little cooler for the 21-lap main final Ribeiro simply picked up where he left off and set about opening up an unassailable early race lead. As Barten dropped back towards the lower reaches of the top ten first Juodvirsis and then Frenchman Damien Vuillaume took hold of second place but all the while Ribeiro was pulling away, eventually taking the chequered flag with a commanding 3.3-second margin of victory.
Vuillaume took an easy second place, two seconds ahead of German Maxi Fleischmann with Pearce, Krzeminski and Chittenden completing the top six. Canadian Matthew Di Leo finished seventh with Barten a disappointed eighth having been penalised several seconds for jumping out of the start line formation.
Jensen's title aspirations took a major blow when he retired on the opening lap, ending a thoroughly miserable weekend for the Danish driver.