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Kenan Sofuoglu has become the first man to win three World Supersport Championships after doing exactly what he needed to do to wrap up the title with one round remaining at Portimao.
The Turk required a mere fourth place finish in Portugal to confirm the inevitable, but he was made to work hard in an exciting race that would see himself, Jules Cluzel, Fabien Foret and Broc Parkes all enjoy stints in the lead.
However, while Sofuoglu would pendulum between first and fourth, it rarely looked as though he would finish lower than where he needed. As it happens, though Cluzel – the only man capable of denying his title – would go on to secure victory, a late charge would get Sofuoglu up to second position just behind him.
It means Sofuoglu adds to his 2007 and 2010 crowns, as well as securing Kawasaki's first WSS title since Andrew Pitt triumphed back in 2001.
The race itself was a frantic one with pole sitter Parkes holding firm over the initial laps before Sofuoglu charged to the front on lap five. Staying put until lap nine, a mistake would allow Parkes to nose ahead again briefly, but the lead would proceed to change hands repeatedly as they slipstreamed one another down the long home straight.
Indeed, even Foret was able to get in front with just three laps remaining, only for Cluzel to decisively pass with a lap to go and hold on until the chequered flag.
However, it wasn't enough to keep his slim title dreams alive, Sofuoglu – despite the odd error - getting the better of Foret and Parkes to claim a hard-fought second.
Unable to get into the lead fight, Sam Lowes settled for fifth position, ahead of Sheridan Morais, the duo well clear of seventh place finisher Dan Linfoot, the Briton notching up an impressive result for the new MSD RN Kawasaki team.
Alex Baldolini finished eighth on the best of the Suriano Triumphs, ahead of PTR Honda duo Ronan Quarmby and Mathew Scholtz, while Massimo Roccoli, Vladimir Leonov, Andrea Antonelli, Jed Metcher and Gabor Talmacsi.