Eerõ Nomm won season fifteen of the Heusinkveld Mazda MX-5 World Tour at Imola a season ago, however, Nomm didn’t return to defend his title, and Sonny Kanchin was left with another challenger. Robert Hartley.
Hartley got pole for the final round, a double distance, double points finale, by two tenths over Kanchin in second. AMS teammate, Schwenke would be in third, with Jean-Francois Penot in fourth. Jordie Fike would be the first AM driver, starting in eighth place.
Gene Fiddes, who missed qualifying was making his way up through the field from last, and had made his way up to eighth within three laps.
On lap eight Robert Hartley started to move to the middle of the lead train, giving Kanchin the lead, after Hartley had lead the race from the start. Leading the race at the start, and then moving to the middle of the lead train is something Hartley does quite often, with this most recently being seen in the Advanced Mazda Cup Strength-Of-Field race.
A lap later Kanchin let Pagnan by, and into the lead, so Kanchin could stay behind and save fuel.
Kip Stephens was the first driver to come in, and on lap seventeen of fifty. Canta followed him in at the end of the next lap.
On lap eighteen all three of the Asbury Motorsport cars came in to the pits from the lead pack. Fiddes and Fike followed them in. The order stayed the same when they came out of the pits, Hartley, Penot and Hampson came in a lap later to respond. Robert came out in front of Kanchin, but they had the overspeed and got past him before turn one. The gap was a second, and Hartley had to close the gap before the AMS drivers broke the slipstream buffer.
Fiddes was able to make his way up to fifth place in the stops after a shorter stop.
Gene Fiddes came in for a second and last time on lap thirty-four.
Schwenke and Hartley came in on lap thirty-seven. They kept the same positions as they came out, but Hartley was slightly slower in the pits, putting him a bit further behind.
Kanchin and Pagnan reacted and came in a lap later. As Hartley went down the inside of Schwenke for the lead, the pair went by Kanchin as he exited the pits. Hartley was still not in a championship winning position though, Kanchin would need to finish in tenth or lower.
Kanchin caught up to Hartley, and with four laps to go Kanchin made his way down the inside at turn one to take the lead. Pagnan then made a late move at turn four to take second place away from Hartley and move him down to third.
After some smart racing from Hartley, he was able to get back past Pagnan at turn two after AMS went two wide to block the track.
Hartley tried to make a move for the lead around the outside of turn one on the final lap, but ran wide onto the grass, giving Sonny a slightly bigger gap.
He made his final attempt as the pair went onto the front straight, they were side by side until the line, but Hartley didn’t have enough speed to get in front.
Giving Kanchin the win, and a record-breaking fourth Mazda MX-5 World Tour win to his name.
After leaving AMS for a race, then coming back a week later, Kanchin went on to win once again in the MWT. Will he be back next year to defend his title and go for five? Only time will tell.