With rain disrupting practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, and grip notoriously unpredictable in the wet at Magny-Cours, the six Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders had to overcome numerous obstacles at the French circuit, with crashes in the incredibly tricky conditions also hampering their progress.
Home hero Andy Verdoïa crashed in FP1, forcing him to sit out FP2, but then crashed again in the wet conditions of FP3 and went into qualifying without completing a single flying lap of the 4.4212km Magny-Cours circuit. Despite this handicap, the young French rider rode superbly to qualifying on the front row of the grid in third place.
A big crash in FP2 left Galang Hendra Pratama battered and bruised, but the young Indonesian bounced back in qualifying to claim fourth place at the head of the second row of the grid for Sunday's 12-lap WorldSSP300 race.
The mixed conditions in qualifying proved tricky for Jacopo Facco, Kevin Sabatucci, Beatriz Neila and Finn de Bruin, all of whom had to take on the challenge of the Last Chance Race to secure their place on the grid for Sunday's WorldSSP300 race. De Bruin was forced to retire before the start due a technical problem on the sighting lap, but his three bLU cRU teammates all managed to finish inside the top six to secure their places on the grid for Sunday's main event.
From the start of the 12-lap race, both Verdoïa and Galang Hendra were involved in a five-way battle for the win, which saw the protagonists swapping places in almost every corner. With some pain from the shoulder injured in his FP2 crash, Galang Hendra was forced to drop out of the fight for the win but held on to the lead group to finish fifth, leaving Verdoïa to fight it out at the front.
The French youngster led the field across the line to start the final lap but got passed out of the slipstream by his three pursuers, who managed to hold on to the chequered flag to claim the podium positions, with Verdoïa missing out by the narrowest of margins to finish fourth in his home race.
The remaining three bLU cRU riders were hampered by their starting positions at the back of the grid, or from pit lane in Sabatucci's case, but all rode intelligently to finish the race and to pick up valuable experience in their debut WorldSSP300 season.