On the line: Odendaal beats Cluzel by just 0.011s in photo finish at Portimao

Sunday, 3 October 2021 12:23 GMT

Race 2 in WorldSSP was decided right at the line between Steven Odendaal and Jules Cluzel with just one-hundredth of a second separating the pair

The FIM Supersport World Championship action concluded at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in thrilling style with Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) claiming his fifth win of the season and denying Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) a Portimao double by just 0.011s across the line in Race 2 for the Motul Portuguese Round as the South African cut his gap in the Championship.


Although Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) got a good start as the lights went out, Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was the rider on the move as he battled his way up from seventh to lead at the start of the second lap after passing three riders into Turn 1, with the action on the opening lap setting the tone for the rest of the race.

Soon, a lead group of nine riders formed with Odendaal leading as the seventh lap started before, he was passed by Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) into Turn 1, with the lead constantly changing throughout the 17-lap race. As Lap 10 ended, Odendaal ran wide throughout the final corner and lost time and positions, allowing Cluzel to take the lead of the race with the South African dropping down into the mid-pack of the lead group.

The race would go down to the wire between Odendaal and Cluzel, as the lead group fragmented in the second half of the race, with the South African claiming victory for the fifth of his season and his first since Race 1 at Most, ahead of Cluzel who doubled up on podiums at Portimao. The pair were separated by just 0.011s at the end of the 17 laps, with Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) claiming his first podium since 2019 at the same venue. Just 0.364s separated the podium trio at the line.


Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) had been in the lead group but a mistake at Turn 1 dropped him down the order, with Championship leader Aegerter in fifth place as he saw the gap closed in the Championship with Odendaal’s victory, with Gonzalez just six tenths separating Gonzalez and a race victory. Yari Montella (GMT94 Yamaha) claimed sixth place in Race 2 of his debut WorldSSP Round, ahead of 2019 Champion Randy Krummenacher (CM Racing). Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) was another who had been competing in the lead group but a Lap 16 crash at Turn 4 forced him out of the race with just a few laps to go.

German star Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the lead Kawasaki runner in eighth place, finishing just ahead of Hungary’s Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) in ninth with Sebestyen claiming his best result of the season. Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) got a good start and was competing in the front group in the first half of the race but finished the race in tenth place.

A TITLE WRAPPED UP: The WorldSSP Challenge season concludes…

With Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team) finishing in 11th place, the Italian rider claimed the WorldSSP Challenge title for 2021 as he retained his crown. Manfredi leapfrogged Caricasulo due to his three points, with Caricasulo only entering the WorldSSP Challenge for two rounds as a replacement for Maria Herrera (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing). David Sanchis Martinez (WRP Wepol Racing) secured points with 12th place ahead of Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) in 13th.


Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had shown strong pace throughout the majority of the race but a late crash at Turn 13 on Lap 16 put the Italian rider down the order, with De Rosa re-joining the race and finishing in 14th place. German rider Patrick Hobelsberger (Bonovo MGM Action) rounded out the points-paying places with 15th place, just 0.003s behind De Rosa.

De Rosa’s fellow Italian rider, Federico Fuligni (VFT Racing) was 16th ahead of teammate Marcel Brenner in 17th, with the Swiss rider battling his way back through the field after an early issue to finish just a second behind his teammate. Ondrej Vostatek (IXS-YART Yamaha) claimed 18th place with Vertti Takala (Kallio Racing) and Bill van Eerde (IXS-YART Yamaha) rounded out the top 20.


Eduardo Montero Huerta (DK Motorsport) did not take part in the final race of his campaign, as a WorldSSP Challenge competitor, due to a technical issue. Leandro Taccini (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was the first retirement of the race after he had a Lap 3 crash at Turn 13, while Unai Orradre (Yamaha MS Racing) had a spectacular highside at Turn 2 on Lap 4, putting him out of the race; Orradre was taken to the medical centre for a check-up. On Lap 11, Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) crashed out of the race at Turn 5.

The top six following WorldSSP Race 2, full results here:

1. Steven Odendaal Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team)

2. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.011s

3. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +0.364s

4. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) +0.629s

5. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +3.196

6. Yari Montella (GMT94 Yamaha) +5.247s

WorldSSP Challenge Winner: Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team) – WorldSSP Challenge Champion

Fastest Lap: Federico Caricasulo (Yamaha) 1’44.910s

Championship standings

1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 354

2. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) 300

3. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) 249

4. Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 232

5. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) 191

6. Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) 161

Two rounds of WorldSSP remain with the title battle still ongoing: watch it unfold using the WorldSBK VideoPass!