EU Megane: Series Estoril qualifying report

Rossi comes out fighting Michael Rossi (TDS) knows that attack is the best form of defence. The Frenchman has yielded no quarter in qualifying here, securing pole position for both of the weekend's races. But he will have to watch out for his ...

Rossi comes out fighting

Michael Rossi (TDS) knows that attack is the best form of defence. The Frenchman has yielded no quarter in qualifying here, securing pole position for both of the weekend's races. But he will have to watch out for his closest rival, Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing), who will twice line up alongside him on the front row.

There was bright sunshine at the Estoril circuit as the Megane Trophy competitors took to the track for what was sure to be a fiercely contested qualifying session. Michael Rossi was immediately into his stride, taking an early lead from Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech Sport).

The action was then interrupted as Pierre Hirschi (Team Lompech Sport) crashed off, causing the red flag to be brought out and Hirschi's best time to be cancelled.

At the restart, Maxime Martin got down to business, first slipping in between Rossi and Enjalbert, then claiming provisional pole position for race 2. Sebastien Dhouailly also improved on his time and briefly climbed to third place behind the two Eurocup Megane Trophy leaders, Rossi and Martin, before Enjalbert snatched it back off him.

For poleman Michael Rossi, the challenge at the end of the session was to go after pole for race 2, currently in the hands of his title rival Maxime Martin. Rossi achieved his goal, racking up his seventh and eighth poles of the season. The front three will be identical for both races: Rossi, Martin and Dimitri Enjalbert.

The fourth man on the grid will, however, be different for each race. In the dying seconds, Fabrice Walfisch (Oregon Team) dislodged Sebastien Dhouailly from fourth spot overall, meaning the two drivers will swap places for Sunday's race.

In the Gentlemen Drivers category, Hoevert Vos (Equipe Verschuur) took the best time in the closing moments of the session. Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS) will start from pole position in race 2.

Michael Rossi: "I've got both pole positions, but I won't let that go to my head. These are my seventh and eighth pole positions, but I've only got three race wins to show for it so far, so there's still a lot of work to do! I need to focus on my start and try and open up a lead over Maxime Martin and Dimitri Enjalbert. I hope Dimitri will be battling it out with Maxime, that way I'll have less to worry about. But I'm expecting two tough races. I hope I don't have any technical problems!"

Dimitri Enjalbert: "The pole was within my reach, but the red flag cost me dear. I couldn't get back into a rhythm afterwards. I'm a bit disappointed, but you have to look on the bright side: our Megane is performing well. I'm going to keep an eye on what's going on ahead of me. Michael Rossi and Maxime Martin are competing for the championship. This race is really important for them and they're going to be under pressure. I'm going to stay cool and seize my chance if I get one. It could be an eventful race!"

Sebastien Dhouailly: "Third place was gettable. I used the car well at the beginning of the session, but then I lost my way a bit and paid the price. Fifth and fourth isn't a bad result. I wouldn't say no to a podium finish!"

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Thierry Boutsen , Sebastien Dhouailly , Dimitri Enjalbert , Maxime Martin , Hoevert Vos , Michael Rossi , Pierre Hirschi