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Home hero Sofuoglu delays Lowes title win
15 September 2013 CLICK HERE
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Kenan Sofuoglu has kept his flagging World Supersport title hopes alive with a hard fought and emotional victory in front of his adoring home fans at Istanbul Park.
An absorbing race that built to an enthralling conclusion, Sofuoglu came into the race knowing anything other than a win over Sam Lowes wouldn't be enough to prevent the young Englishman from wrapping up the title with two rounds remaining.
Coupled to a desire to win the first Supersport race to be held on home soil in Turkey, a determined Sofuoglu overturned an initial deficit to embark on a breathless final lap exchange with Lowes that saw the pair swap the lead three times before the home hero prevailed.
Indeed, Lowes was a fairly comfortable leader for much of the race, snatching the advantage on lap two before eking out his advantage to just over a second by the half-way stage.
However, a fight back by Sofuoglu would see him slowly close the gap before signalling his intentions with an exploratory pass on lap 13 of 16 at the end of the back straight. Though Lowes immediately responded, the stage was seemingly being set for a final lap showdown.
And so it proved, Sofuoglu leading into the final lap to set up a duel with his rival that would see the pair swap the lead three times before going side-by-side down the back straight into the critical turn 15 braking zone. However, having proven strong there all race, Sofuoglu would rebuff Lowes's attempts to pass before holding steady in the final complex to keep his opponent at bay by just 0.040secs.
Sending the home fans – and his family - into rapture, Sofuoglu's win means he has nibbled Lowes's advantage to 49 points with two races remaining. However, despite the delay in celebrating the title, Lowes merely needs a single point at Magny-Cours and Jerez to be crowned the 2013 champion.
Behind the feuding duo, Michael van der Mark put up a good fight early on ride with the leaders before fading to what became a fairly lonely third place, the Dutchman nonetheless securing his third podium of the year on the PATA Honda.
Further back, the battle for fourth would come a dramatic conclusion when Christian Iddon retired from what would have been a career-best finish with two laps remaining. Handing the place to Florian Marino, a crash for him on the final lap would also see the youngster drop out of the place.
As such, Lorenzo Zanetti was on hand to pick up the position for his fifth top five result of the year, ahead of Roberto Rolfo, the MV Agusta rider making big gains in the race to haul his F3 into fifth position.
Lorini Honda's Roberto Tamburini turned in a season's best finish in sixth position, ahead of Kev Coghlan, David Salom, Jack Kennedy and Ronan Quarmby, the latter scoring his first points since his return to WSS competition on the Pro Race Honda.
Rounding out the points paying positions, Iddon and Marino's late troubles would see Luca Scassa, Alex Baldolini, Raffaele de Rosa, Massimo Roccoli and Vladimir Leonov all benefit in 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.