Michael Rossi leads the way The new Meganes had their first outing at Silverstone today. In a highly competitive day of testing, each of the Eurocup Megane Trophy's main contenders held the lead at some point. Michael Rossi (TDS) ...
Michael Rossi leads the way
The new Meganes had their first outing at Silverstone today. In a highly competitive day of testing, each of the Eurocup Megane Trophy's main contenders held the lead at some point. Michael Rossi (TDS) ultimately clocked the fastest time, but Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing), Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and the rest were not far behind, and we look set for a close-fought weekend of racing.
The Eurocup Megane Trophy drivers had two hours' collective testing in which to adapt their setups to a track that allies fast bends with sections that really test a driver's skill. Younger drivers such as Michael Rossi and Dimitri Enjalbert were faced with the added challenge of getting to grips with a track that is totally new to them.
The lead changed hands almost every lap at the start of the session. Initial leader Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) was soon outdone by Michael Rossi, who clocked the day's first serious time in 1'58''578.
Virtually all of Eurocup Megane Trophy's leading names would hold the lead at one time or another. Matthieu Cheruy (Tech 1 Racing) displaced Rossi from top spot, before Jonathan Hirschi (Tech 1 Racing) overtook him in turn. Dimitri Enjalbert and Maxime Martin then each took the lead, before, at the very end of the first session, Enjalbert finally opened up a significant gap with a lap clocked at 1'55''089. Bernhard Ten Brinke, Maxime Martin, Michael Rossi and Ralph Meichtry were his nearest rivals.
The second session was to be just as competitive. Fabrice Walfish took the initial lead. Thereafter, however, many drivers opted for long runs in preparation for the weekend's two races.
Gradually, the pace quickened and the lead began to change hands regularly again. Dimitri Enjalbert once again took first position, ahead of Matthieu Cheruy, Maxime Martin and Michael Rossi, but he was still some way short of his morning time.
The most significant improvements came at the end of the session. Michael Rossi went on the offensive, improving his time first to 1'54''889, then to 1'54''684, as he continued the kind of form that has propelled him to the top of the Eurocup Megane Trophy overall standings. His time was to remain the quickest of this closely contested session, with Maxime Martin and Dimitri Enjalbert just behind and the first ten drivers separated by less than a second. Hoevert Vos (Equipe Verschuur), meanwhile, lived up to his status as the leading driver in the Gentlemen's standings.
Michael Rossi: "It's a great circuit. It's quick at the start and technically demanding at the end, so you have to find the right balance in your setup. The gaps between all the drivers are very small. We will really have to focus in qualifying, as the slightest error could be the difference between finishing in first place and finishing fifth or sixth. The battle for pole position is going to be really tight."
Maxime Martin: "We tried out different things during these sessions, which have been very beneficial for everyone. I think we've found a setup that will work both for qualifying and for the races. I was expecting long straight sections, but that's not the case at all. It's relentless. The pace is really something. The races should be a good watch."
Dimitri Enjalbert: "All in all, we're quite satisfied. We got into the swing of things straight away. I really like this circuit. The average speed is incredible - nearly 160kph. I need points this weekend to make up ground on Rossi."