Rossi and TDS gear up for 2008
Michael Rossi was one of the revelations of Eurocup Megane Trophy 2007, and he's determined to build on the experience he has acquired next season. The Frenchman, driving with TDS, clocked the best time of the day. Renault Sport Technologies also invited the national Clio Cup champions along to get a taste of the Megane Trophy.
After a couple of relatively still days, the Mistral wind was back with a vengeance today, and the weather conditions did not help the drivers as they sought to clock some quick times. The track record for the car (1'31''387), set by Jaap van Lagen in 2006, remains unbeaten!
A nasty crash in the last race of the season at Barcelona left Michael Rossi with a badly bruised knee. Two weeks on, the young driver from the Savoie region was back behind the wheel of his Megane, setting the best time of the day in 1'31''729 : "I'm ready for another season in the Eurocup. We're talking with TDS and I will probably be racing for Xavier Combet's team in 2008". The French team had two cars out on track today, the second driven by Matthieu Cheruy, who clocked a time of 1'32''449. Cheruy is keen to turn good performances into results, and he too is likely to carry on in Eurocup Megane Trophy next season.
The Verschuur team also fielded two cars. British Clio Cup champion Martin Byford was delighted to be given the opportunity to test out the Megane. Martin, who heads the Z Speed Racing team, is even thinking about competing in the 2008 Eurocup after a highly encouraging first experience with the car.
Dutch champion Tim Buijs, another man new to the Megane, was no less enthusiastic, and Frans Verschuur is keen to sign him up for 2008. Kristian Nagele, the German Clio Cup champion, also embraced the opportunity with relish.
Team Lompech used the second car reserved for the 2007 Champions. Italian rookie champion Ronnie Marchetti was initially invited, but he was replaced by Junior champion Nicola Baldan. Thanks to Jerry Canevisio's talents as an interpreter, Nicola, who hails from Padua, was able to communicate with the French team and made good progress throughout the day despite getting a sore neck from the lateral accelerations on the infamous Signes and Beausset bends!
Performance of the day goes to Jean-Philippe Bournot. The French Clio Cup champion showed impressive assurance in clocking the second-fastest time of the day (1'32''244) on his fresh set of tyres.
The fourth team taking part, Oregon Team, used the occasion as an opportunity to test four Italian drivers. Salvatore Gatto crashed off in the afternoon, but nonetheless made an excellent impression on the team. Paolo Montin, who has previously competed in single-seater racing and Japanese GT, recorded the third-best time in 1'32''442.
Today also gave Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert the chance to test out the Oreca team's Saleen S7R. The top two from Eurocup 2007 were coached by Stephane Ortelli the Megane Trophy development driver as they tried their hand at the wheel of the GT1. It was an excellent opportunity to show their driving prowess, but also their ability to listen and adapt. After a fantastic 2007 season, both now have their minds set on moving up a level. Pedro is eyeing up a spot in DTM, while Dimitri is tempted by LMS.