Verschuur comes good!
By getting the better of Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen Energy Racing) in the closing stages, Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) takes his first Eurocup Megane Trophy win. Despite finishing in third, Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance) failed in his attempt to make it back onto the final Championship podium in place of Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing). For once, Tech 1 just wasn't at the races when it came to the fuel stops.
Ralph Meichtry's car broke drown on the start grid, meaning that there had to be a second formation lap. The Swiss driver started from the back of the field. When all hell was let loose, it was Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen Energy Racing) who made it into the opening corner first while Greg Franchi (Equipe Verschuur) span right in the midst of the bunch.
Behind Kuppens, Walfisch was holding onto second ahead of Enjalbert, Petiz, Lahaye, Ciro, Dhouailly, Verschuur, Ten Brinke and Martin. At the start of lap two, Enjalbert tried to pass Walfisch. He finally found a way through one lap later.
At the start of lap four, Enjalbert got past Kuppens to move into the lead. One lap later, Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) and Ludovic Badey (TDS) collided and the safety car had to be called out.
Most of the drivers headed straight for the pit lane to refuel: this was the chosen option of Kuppens, Walfisch, Ciro, Verschuur, Martin, Cheruy, Meichtry, Madonia, Pedala, Mayerl, Miginiac and Coekelbergs. Of the favourites, only the Tech 1 and Rossi drivers stayed out on track!
The race resumed after one lap behind the safety car. First out of the pits, Walfisch was soon to be passed by Kuppens at the start of lap 8. Lap nine saw Michael Rossi (Racing for Belgium) crash violently out of the race. It was not however deemed necessary to call out the safety car for a second time and the race continued as normal. Lahaye then got past Petiz to move up into second.
Clearly in difficulty, Walfisch was passed by Verschuur before coming under pressure from Ciro. Enjalbert came into the pits on lap ten, handing control of the race to Lahaye. Meichtry, who had found a way past Ciro, was now posing a threat to Walfisch. Dhouailly, Lahaye and Petiz then took it in turns to come into the pits. Due to a mechanical problem, the Portuguese driver was unable to rejoin the race: it was the first time this season that the 2007 Champion had been forced to retire!
Renaud Kuppens regained control of the race at the end of lap 13. But the race was not won for the Belgian yet, as Verschuur was only 7/10ths further back! Meanwhile, Meichtry, Ciro and Martin had all found their way past Walfisch.
On lap 16, Verschuur started to try some attacks on Kuppens. At this stage, the top ten standings were still far from decided: Ciro was having to hold off Martin for fourth place, while Cheruy had moved up into sixth ahead of Walfisch. On the final lap, Mike Verschuur saw his chance and went past Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen Energy Racing) to drive to his first ever Eurocup Megane Trophy victory!
Mike Verschuur: "I performed badly in qualifying but the car was fantastic during the race. I thought no way am I going to miss out on this chance of a win."
Renaud Kuppens: "I'm satisfied as it's only my third race of the season. Mike got past me by using the drag on the main straight."
Ralph Meichtry: "This weekend wasn't easy for me as I wasn't feeling well. I had a clutch problem on the start grid, but I gave it everything I had to make it back onto the podium."