Rossi and Martin neck-and-neck The final showdown between Michael Rossi (TDS) and Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) looks like being a close-run affair. Today, in the first encounter of a weekend which will see one of them crowned ...
Rossi and Martin neck-and-neck
The final showdown between Michael Rossi (TDS) and Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) looks like being a close-run affair. Today, in the first encounter of a weekend which will see one of them crowned Eurocup Megane Trophy champion, the two men came out with honours even. After two hours of collective testing, the two leaders' best times were just 0.05 of a second apart. Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing), just a tenth of a second slower in third place, again showed the crucial role he could play in deciding the outcome of the title race.
Two hours of collective testing were scheduled for the Eurocup Megane Trophy drivers at the Barcelona circuit today. Michael Rossi was the first to make his mark. The Eurocup Megane Trophy leader was immediately into his stride and improved on his time lap on lap.
Dimitri Enjalbert, who won here last year, soon hit back. The Tech1 Racing driver strung together a series of rapid times and grabbed top spot with a lap timed at 1'54''139 before whittling that down to 1'53''922 to pull further ahead.
Matthieu Cheruy (Tech 1 Racing) was second to his teammate Enjalbert at this stage. But late in the session, Michael Rossi, who had lost a few minutes when he ran out of fuel, slipped in between the two Tech 1 men. Maxime Martin has followed the same formula all season long: he spends the first session working on his car's handling, without pushing for fast times. He was fourth this morning.
The duel between Rossi and Martin really came into its own in the second session. The Frenchman put in the best performance, clocking 1'53''709 to the Belgian's 1'53''793. The two title contenders were both consistently rapid in the first half hour.
Dimitri Enjalbert stepped up the pace in the second half of the session. A time of 1'53''464 put the Tech 1 Racing driver top of the pile, as he had been in the earlier session. Rossi and Martin wasted no time in hitting back, however. Michael Rossi eventually came out on top, but once again, there was little to choose between the two: second-placed Martin was just five hundredths of a second slower than his rival.
Michael Rossi: "It was really close between the two of us, as was to be expected. Three of us finished within a tenth of a second of each other today. From my point of view, we finished in the right order! I'll have to fight hard. It's going to be a real battle. The weather could play its part, as they are forecasting rain for tomorrow. I'm approaching this meeting like any other. Just because the Barcelona meeting is being billed as a final, doesn't mean I'll be putting myself under any additional pressure."
Maxime Martin: "We did what we usually do in collective testing, working on the car without paying attention to what the other drivers were doing. It's not my favourite circuit of the season. I won the Clio title last week, so I'm hoping to keep up my momentum and win here. There's no room for strategy or questions: our goal is to win both races."