Davies forges ahead with fourth victory
31 July 2011
Chaz Davies has taken a potentially definitive step towards the 2011 World Supersport Championship title after holding his own in a hard fought race at Silverstone.
A fourth WSS win of the season, Davies stayed calm as various incidents unfolded around him, the ParkinGO Yamaha rider fending off the attentions of David Salom and Fabien Foret to claim a popular victory on home soil.
A somewhat unexpected win having struggled somewhat through free practice and qualifying, Davies nonetheless manoeuvred himself into a good position at the start, slotting in behind early front runners Florian Marino and Gino Rea.
Third became second when Davies passed Rea on lap two, before overhauling Marino – who had the pleasure of leading a WSS race for the first time – on lap three.
Further back, drama unfolded on lap three after Sam Lowes, running in fifth place after a poor start from second on the grid, clipped the rear-end of Rea's Honda on the run up to Becketts and was catapulted off his bike. Though unhurt, it signalled a disappointing climax to a race he had been tipped to win.
The incident also delayed Rea back to seventh, the Brno race winner nonetheless lucky to stay upright after the impact lifted his rear-wheel off the ground at a fast part of the circuit.
Their collision enabled the top five to break away, Davies leading Marino, Robbin Harms, David Salom – fighting back after dropping from first to sixth initially – and Fabien Foret.
Harms ruled himself out of the equation with a low-speed fall on lap four, while Marino, following a strong first-half of the race, dropped down the order as he began to struggle with tyre wear.
As such, Davies, Foret and Salom disputed the win, with Foret muscling his way to the front on lap ten, only for him to run wide on the exit of the Arena hairpin, allowing both Davies and Salom back ahead of him two laps later.
The error would allow Davies and Salom to gap the Frenchman, the latter duly taking advantage of the clear air to pounce on his rival for the lead of the race at Stowe. However, Salom would go in too hot and run wide, allowing Davies to retake the position.
It would prove the final significant act of the race, Salom shadowing Davies but unable to do anything to prevent the Welshman from completing another victory, arguably the finest of what is turning out to be a superb season.
With four races remaining and a maximum of 100 points available, Davies's victory sees him extend his lead to 42 points over Salom now, while Foret holds third even though neither has won a race this season.
Indeed, Foret was able to hold onto third, but only after resisting pressure from a remarkable Rea, who hauled his Step Racing bike into podium contention from several seconds adrift to challenge his Honda counterpart on the final lap.
However, after a series of heart-stopping moments as his bike – almost completely devoid of grip – bucked and weaved over the bumps, Rea's luck would run out on the very final corner as he slid off. Though he'd get going to console himself with 11th, it was scant reward for a brave performance.
His misfortune would see Roberto Tamburini come through for a fine fourth place finish, while Massimo Roccoli had the satisfaction of beating factory Kawasaki rider Broc Parkes to fifth position.
Behind them, Balazs Nemeth put in an excellent performance on the unheralded Team Toth Hungary for seventh – by far his and the team's best-ever WSS result -, beating out Honda trio Miguel Praia, Marino and James Ellison.
Behind Rea, former championship leader Luca Scassa's season goes from bad-to-worse as he lumbered to 12th place, while Alexander Lundh, Ronan Quarmby and Vittorio Iannuzzo made up the remainder of the points' finishers.