EU Megane: Le Mans preview

Here come the French! Thanks to some very spectacular racing, with a host of surprises, the Eurocup Megane Trophy has quickly become a favourite amongst spectators. Belgian driver Jan Heylen (Racing for Belgium) comes to Le Mans as leader, after...

Here come the French!

Thanks to some very spectacular racing, with a host of surprises, the Eurocup Megane Trophy has quickly become a favourite amongst spectators. Belgian driver Jan Heylen (Racing for Belgium) comes to Le Mans as leader, after dominating proceedings in Valencia. He will be up against a French contingent that makes up a third of the field!

With victories in the first two Eurocup races, Jan Heylen more than lived up to his status of favourite. The hotshot Racing for Belgium driver, naturally enough, finds himself leading the overall standings, ahead of Renaud Derlot (TP Competition), who has managed two podium finishes.

And so the two drivers who finished ahead of their rivals in the opening meeting are both former Formula 3 drivers. It has to be said that in terms of its structural design and aerodynamics, the Megane Trophy drives more like a single seater than a saloon!

Three other drivers stood out in Valencia. Jeffrey Von Hooydonk (Thierry Boutsen Racing), a convert from Formula 3000, has also adapted very well to racing cars "with doors". Proof of this has been his fifth and second place finishes, which have lifted him up to third place in the provisional overall standings.

Lying in equal fourth, Ludovic Badey (Pouchelon Racing) and Renaud Kuppens (Thierry Boutsen Racing) have also showed their potential.

Three Belgians and two Frenchmen thus share the first five places, a situation that is making their Latin cousins see red! Unlucky on home soil, Spanish driver Luis Miguel Reyes (Team Elias) is determined to get back to form in France. The same goes for Portuguese driver Cesar Campanico (Racing for Belgium), who showed great potential during the demonstration races at Zolder, and the Italian Nicola Gianniberti (Oregon Team).

On their home circuit, the dozen or so French drivers will all want to hear the Marseillaise on the podium. Derlot and Badey will be there, of course, but they will be far from being on their own. Equal seventh, Frederic Gabillon (Team Lompech Sport) and Simon Abadie (Tech 1 Racing) will also be out to win. And this is no less true for Jean-Christophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi), who has been short on success since the start of the season!

Locked in battle in the Junior category, Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech Sport), Mike Parisy (Gemo Sport) and Mathieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) will be trying to maintain their supremacy over Swiss driver Marc Benz (Iris Racing) and Portuguese driver Pedro Petiz (Oregon Team). Lahaye, born in Rennes, is this round's local boy.

As for the "gentlemen drivers", nice guys Philippe Mace (TP Competition) and Pascal Ballay (Energy Racing) will be looking to take advantage of their knowledge of the track to get the edge in the battle with their peers! Fighting will be fierce in all sections of the field!

Everyone is glad to see the return of Jiri Janak (Auto Janak), having recovered from the ankle injury he picked up before the first Valencia race, and also Rafael Unzurrunzaga (Blue Jumeirah Team), who was unable to compete in Valencia after crashing out during free practice.

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Thierry Boutsen , Jan Heylen , Renaud Derlot , Ludovic Badey , Sebastien Dhouailly , Philippe Mace , Nicola Gianniberti , Simon Abadie , Luis Miguel Reyes , Pedro Petiz , Frédéric Gabillon , Pascal Ballay , Jiri Janak , Rafael Unzurrunzaga , Matthieu Lahaye , Mike Parisy