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van der Mark odds on after Portimao win
8 July 2014
Michael van der Mark has moved into a safe lead at the top of the World Supersport Championship standings after a fourth win of the season at Portimao coincided with a potential critical DNF for main rival Jules Cluzel.
Already armed with a comfortable 28 point advantage coming into the event, van der Mark's assured run to victory in Portugal, which saw him steadily work his way into the lead before impending rain saw the race concluded early, was boosted by Cluzel's failure to finish because of technical issues.
It means, with just four races of the season remaining, van der Mark is 53 points clear of Cluzel and can now finish each of those rounds no higher than fourth - regardless of what his rival achieves – to secure a maiden title.
We've been strong all weekend in all sessions and, together with Kenan [Sofuoglu], I think we have been a step ahead of the others here,” he said. “My start was OK but I didn't want to take all the risks in the first few corners. I was looking at the guys in front of me to see where I was stronger and I tried to pass them one by one.
“Kenan made a mistake so I passed him and then I got past Jack. I knew I had a good pace for the race and the others would struggle to follow my rhythm and in the end I saw that Jules [Cluzel] wasn't in the points any more so I slowed down a bit.
“I guess I was quite lucky that the rain came at the same point and the red flag came out, which made the win a little bit easier. But I think I could have won anyway because we have been so strong all weekend. I want to thank the team again for giving me such a good CBR from the first session, it was really fast and had really good handling.”
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