However, heartbreak would promptly follow for Badovini when, with just two laps remaining, he slid out of the lead at Hoge Heide, his elimination compounding a race of missed opportunities for BMW.
His misfortune duly handed the lead straight to Guintoli, who needed no second invitation to assume the advantage and pull away from the pack. Keeping it neat and tidy over the final two laps, Guintoli would cross the line to take a hard fought and well deserved first win for himself and Effenbert Liberty Ducati in tricky conditions.
Heading up a Ducati 1-2-3, Giugliano put in a superb ride for second, the Italian having started down in 19th position originally. Indeed, the Althea rider even had the distinction of keeping his champion team-mate behind him with a surprisingly determined overtake at the final corner.
After their disappointing qualifying, Biaggi and Laverty were a satisfied fourth and fifth for Aprilia, ahead of Michel Fabrizio, who flew the flag for BMW at the end of an otherwise frustrating race for the manufacturer.
Having started from the pit lane, Smrz battled his way back up to seventh place, ahead of Niccolo Canepa and Melandri, the Italian really struggling for pace in the slippery conditions having looked a threat in the dry.
Young Argentine Leandro Mercado rounded out the top ten for Pedercini Kawasaki, ahead of the remaining finishers Maxime Berger, Hiroshi Aoyama, David Salom, Lorenzo Zanetti (who fell and remounted) and Mark Aitchison.
Together with Badovini, Haslam and Rea, Leon Camier crashed out on the warm-up lap, while John Hopkins followed suit on lap two to complete a disappointing race for Crescent Fixi Suzuki. Similarly, Davies, who was starring in the dry conditions having gotten as high as sixth, saw no return on his performance after crashing out on lap three.