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Lowes closes on title as Sofuoglu crashes out
1 September 2013 CLICK HERE
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Sam Lowes has extended his World Supersport Championship lead to a substantial 54 points with just three races remaining after claiming his fifth win of the season at the Nurburgring, while main rival Kenan Sofuoglu crashed out.
Recovering from a poor start to move into the lead on lap three, the Yakhnich Yamaha rider was holding a comfortable margin over Sofuoglu in second place when the Turk came down at the mid-way point on lap ten.
His third non-score of the season, Sofuoglu's DNF puts him well onto the back foot in his quest for a fourth World Supersport title, the Mahi Kawasaki rider now facing a 54 point margin with just three races remaining and 75 points in the offing.
For Lowes, meanwhile, his win means he can afford to finish behind Sofuoglu in the remaining rounds at Istanbul, Magny-Cours and Jerez and still claim the title.
With his arch rival out of the running, Lowes's win was a relatively easy one, the Briton finishing more than seven seconds up on Fabien Foret, Sofuoglu's team-mate raising some cheer for the Indian-backed outfit to secure his fifth podium of the year.
The final podium spot, meanwhile, looked to be heading the way of Lowes's team-mate Vladimir Leonov, the Russian moving up a spot at the expense of Sofuoglu to run a lonely third. However, a technical issue with four laps to go would instead turn the rostrum into a battle between Lorenzo Zanetti and Kev Coghlan.
Fighting back from a poor start that left him down in 11th place early, DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki's Coghlan launched an outstanding recovery to work his way up the order, overtaking Zanetti with two laps remaining to record his first-ever WSS podium at the circuit where he claimed his maiden Superstock 1000 podium a year earlier.
Despite missing out on the top three, Zanetti can be satisfied with fourth given he has been riding with flu all weekend, with Michael van der Mark bouncing back from a poor qualifying to secure fifth on the second of the PATA Hondas.
Rallying with Zanetti early on, Riccardo Russo would fade to sixth position, the youngster finishing just ahead of Roberto Tamburini, Jack Kennedy, David Salom and Florian Marino.
Outside the top ten, Alex Baldolini picked up more points for Suzuki in 11th, ahead of Christian Iddon, the Briton paying for a mistake that saw him run on at the hairpin to finish 12th having been battling for the top five. Luca Scassa, Raffaele de Rosa and Roberto Rolfo rounded out the points' paying positions.
As well as the disappointment for Sofuoglu and Leonov, there was heartache for Ronan Quarmby, the South African starring in the early stages to run fourth before his Pro Race Honda cried enough on lap six.