Juan Carlos Canas was in absolutely invincible form at the EFRA 1/8th Buggy European ‘B’ Championships on Sunday, dominating his semi-final as well as the 45-minute Main Final to sweep to a faultless victory in Freixedas, Portugal.
The young Spaniard was in hugely confident and impressive form, and whilst others were desperately trying to keep up with the changing track conditions and weather, Canas left his setup unchanged from final qualifying on Saturday – and reaped the rewards. Goncalo Melo may have pipped him to the TQ spot, but there was nothing Melo could do to deny Canas come final time – nor anyone else, for that matter, as Canas finished almost two laps clear of the competition.
Melo had a difficult race day, after a rough start to his semi-final left him well down the order five minutes in before having to fight back to qualify for the final leaving him starting P7 in the Main Final. Nevertheless, his strong car speed meant he was able to climb the order, and after a tough battle with Guillaume Hebert for P3 in the first 20 minutes, he was able to also pass Joao Lopes and take a satisfying 2nd in front of a passionate home support. Lopes had been 2nd for the first 15 minutes, but wing damage dropped him down the order for repairs; but after a flame-out for Hebert, he was able to come home to take a confident 3rd.
It was a long day of mixed conditions; having started in heavy fog and dampness, the track quickly had the sun beating down on it, and the rough, abrasive surface proved a challenge for the largely inexperienced and youthful roster of drivers tackling it. What made Canas’ performance more remarkable was how, with so few setup changes, he was able to lap at times 0.5-1 seconds faster than the competition. It was incredible to watch, and those raving about Canas having a huge future in the class had a fair point on this basis.
Frenchmen and Semi-Final 1 winner Baptiste Debroux battled hard to beat Manuel Iniesta home to P4, ahead of Alejandro Daras, Vincent Meertens, Nuno Rebelo, Thomas Musso and Hebert.