There's no stopping Hirschi! Jonathan Hirschi (TDS Racing) strengthened his position as Eurocup Megane Trophy leader by totally dominating the first of the two races at Spa-Francorchamps. Only Mike Verschuur (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) -who...
There's no stopping Hirschi!
Jonathan Hirschi (TDS Racing) strengthened his position as Eurocup Megane Trophy leader by totally dominating the first of the two races at Spa-Francorchamps. Only Mike Verschuur (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) -who finishes second- could organize something resembling resistance. We had to wait for the very last lap to find out who would be on the remaining place on the podium, as Matthieu Cheruy managed to steal a third place from Fabrice Walfisch (Team Lompech Sport).
After the qualifying, several drivers found that their best lap times had been cancelled out due to infringement of the racing line rules. Both Michael Rossi (Boutsen Energy Racing) and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) saw their three best lap times go up in smoke. As a result, Ten Brinke lined up in 17th place on the grid with Michael Rossi bringing up the rear. Jonathan Hirschi took full advantage of his pole position and took command of the race very early on, leading from Mike Verschuur and Nick Catsburg (Tech 1 Racing). The Boutsen Energy Racing drivers had a troubled time from the word go. In the first lap, Michael Rossi span at La Source while David Dermont went onto the grass. The two men finished the first lap 17th and 18th. Two laps later, Michael Rossi brought his car to a standstill and retired. Firmly in control of the race, Jonathan Hirschi applied himself to extending his lead over Mike Verschuur and Nick Catsburg. Fabrice Walfisch, in fourth, had Matthieu Cheruy (Tech 1 Racing) hot on his heels. A little further back, Pierre Thiriet (TDS Racing), Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS Racing) and Anthony Tardieu (Tech 1 Racing) were fighting for 6th place. Jonathan Hirschi was the first of the leaders to go in for the compulsory pit stop, on lap 6. This meant Mike Verschuur inherited the race lead for a while ahead of Fabrice Walfisch. Nick Catsburg on the other hand saw his podium chances disappear as he was forced to bring his New Megane Trophy to a halt after experiencing an electrical fault. Jonathan Hirschi retrieved his rightful position as front runner after the spate of refuelling, with a lead of over seventeen seconds over nearest rival Mike Verschuur. Their one-two positions were to stay that way to the finish line. The last lap was decisive for the third place on the podium. Matthieu Cheruy overtook Fabrice Walfisch a first time in the La Source hairpin. Walfisch succeeded in getting back ahead as they approached Les Combes. But Matthieu Cheruy wasn't going to leave it at that and got the definitive upper hand. For Fabrice Walfisch, this was the beginning of the end. The French driver came together with Marlène Broggi in the "bus stop" chicane, leaving Jean-Philippe Madonia, first of the Gentlemen Drivers, and Pierre Thiriet to benefit. They finished 4th and 5th respectively.
Jonathan Hirschi: "It was a long race for me because I was ahead on my own from start to finish. Also, I had to draw out my lead because I'd got a ten second penalty for jumping the start. Thankfully, it all worked a dream, the pit-stop was good and we won. It's perfect!"
Mike Verschuur: "We've had a problem on the car since Barcelona. We're short of speed. My team has changed pretty much everything but the problem is still there. Under these conditions it's difficult to compete with Jonathan." Matthieu Cheruy: "Above all I want to thank my mechanics, because I crashed out in qualifying and they've done an amazing job so that I could be ready to start this race. The last lap was incredible. Fabrice Walfisch has lots of experience, it wasn't easy to get past him. I hope this podium will mark the real beginning to my season!"