Meichtry back to winning ways A combination of his own faultless performance and the risky strategy employed by Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch enabled Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance) to notch up his second race win of the season...
Meichtry back to winning ways
A combination of his own faultless performance and the risky strategy employed by Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch enabled Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance) to notch up his second race win of the season at Donington today. Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) also found his way back onto the podium, while, with his eighth top-three finish in as many races, Pedro Petiz (Tech 1 Racing) continued his march towards the title.
The start was a heated affair, with Greg Franchi (Equipe Verschuur) forced into a wall while Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) got into a scrape with Ludovic Badey (TDS). Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) got off to a flying start, taking an early lead ahead of Fabrice Walfisch (Team Lompech Sport).
The front two immediately put some open track between themselves and the chasing pack of Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance), Ludovic Badey and Michael Rossi (Racing for Belgium). Sebastien Dhouailly (Tech 1 Racing) was lying in sixth place at the end of the first lap, but was quickly passed by Matthieu Cheruy (TDS).
Giuseppe Ciro (Oregon Team) was some way clear in ninth place, but the battle for the final spot in the top ten was an incredible tussle involving seven drivers: Dimitri Enjalbert, Pedro Petiz, Mike Verschuur, Bernhard Ten Brinke, Jean-Philippe Madonia and Andreas Mayerl. Madonia was the first victim of this somewhat lively group.
Michael Rossi found a way past Ludovic Badey on lap 5, but Sebastien Dhouailly ran into Giuseppe Ciro, who ended up crashing into a wall. The safety car was brought out after seven laps, prompting a flurry of pit stops. Meichtry, Rossi, Badey, Enjalbert, Verschuur, Van Dam, Ten Brinke and Mayerl all stopped immediately. Cheruy, Dhouailly, Petiz, Miginiac, Beelen and Lahaye followed suit on the next lap.
When the safety car left the track after lap 9, only the two leaders had yet to refuel. This strategy from Martin and Walfisch was surprising, to say the least. Further back, the action was really heating up. Rossi attempted the impossible and ran into Verschuur, forcing both men to retire and allowing Badey to move up into fifth place, some way behind the leading group of Martin, Walfisch, Enjalbert and Meichtry.
But a struggling Badey could not hold onto his position for long, and was overtaken by Carlo Van Dam. Petiz also moved past Dhouailly into seventh. Fabrice Walfisch and Maxime Martin finally went into the pits on laps 14 and 15 respectively. The gamble clearly did not pay off: they rejoined the race in 13th and 11th.
The prospect of victory seem to put wind in the sails of Dimitri Enjalbert and Ralph Meichtry, who wrestled for control of the race. Badey stayed in touch with Van Dam, but crashed into the Dutchman on a hairpin turn. With both drivers having to abandon, Petiz inherited third place. Meichtry seized his chance to pass Enjalbert on lap 18. Trailing the top two by some distance, Petiz was lapping on his own, well ahead of Ten Brinke, Dhouailly, Mayerl, Cheruy, Martin, Walfisch and Miginiac. On the final lap, Martin snatched seventh place from Cheruy.
Ralph Meichtry: "After missing out on the podium yesterday, we have won here, and I'd like to dedicate this victory to the team, who worked hard to get the car back on the track."
Dimitri Enjalbert: "I started from the back row and overtook a lot of cars. The safety car helped me a lot. It's a good result after I had to retire yesterday."
Pedro Petiz: "I just focus on being consistent. My aim at the start of this race was to score some points. So a podium finish was more than I was hoping for!"