Michael Rossi takes it on the line Leader from start to finish, apart from during pitstops, Michael Rossi (TDS Racing) dominated this first race. The TDS Racing driver won the first of race of this season's opening meeting ahead of Tech1 ...
Michael Rossi takes it on the line
Leader from start to finish, apart from during pitstops, Michael Rossi (TDS Racing) dominated this first race. The TDS Racing driver won the first of race of this season's opening meeting ahead of Tech1 Racing's Mathieu Cheruy and Jonathan Hirschi.
Starting in pole position Michael Rossi made a faultless start leading Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) whilst Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech) made a mistake at la Source, helped by Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS Racing).
At the top of Eau Rouge, Dimitri Enjalbert made a slight error, which allowed Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) to go on the attack. Michael Rossi finished his first lap in the lead, followed by Dimitri Enjalbert, Maxime Martin, Bernhard Ten Brinke, Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen Energy Racing), Jonathan Hirschi, Fabrice Walfish (Oregon Team) and Mathieu Cheruy.
Michael Rossi made a clean get away. Behind the leader, Maxime Martin made use of drag and overtook Dimitri Enjalbert. The group of Martin, Enjalbert, Ten Brinke, Kuppens, Hirschi, Walfisch and Cheruy stayed very tight. This group was falling apart by the third lap as Bernhard Ten Brinke span off at the Bus Stop chicane and when Renaud Kuppens ran straight on at the same spot.
The duel between Maxime Martin and Dimitri Enjalbert for second place left the crowd breathless. Behind them, Fabrice Walfisch dislodged Jonathan Hirschi from fourth position. Fabrice Walfisch worked hard to regain contact with the two men, whilst Jonathan Hirschi fought off Mathieu Cheruy.
Mathieu Cheruy revealed his strategy for dealing with the rest of the pack as he entered the pits for the obligatory refueling stop one lap ahead of everyone else. Ahead, Dimitri Enjalbert, hampered by a loose front bonnet, lost one place after another to Jonathan Hirschi followed by Fabrice Walfisch.
On the eighth lap, the leader Michael Rossi, who led the course by more than six seconds, entered the pits, as did Jonathan Hirschi and Dimitri Enjalbert. Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch stayed out on track for longer than anyone.
The refueling stops over, Michael Rossi was still leading, without any worries about the competition. With more than nine seconds lead on Mathieu Cheruy, the lead driver needed only to guide himself home. Meanwhile for second place, Mathieu Cheruy, Jonathan Hirschi, Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch still had everything to play for.
By the end of the race, Michael Rossi's lead was seriously diminished. He was finally handed his victory by an also-ran ahead of Mathieu Cheruy and Pierre Hirschi. Hoevert Vos (Equipe Verschuur) took victory in the Gentlemen Drivers category.
Michael Rossi: "The race really started well. I was leading and everything was going great until three or four laps from the end. At that point the car was becoming difficult to control. It was hard to stay on the track. It's still not clear why. One more lap and I don't think I'd have won the race."
Mathieu Cheruy: "This is my first podium in the Eurocup Megane Trophy. The Tech1 Racing team chose a perfect strategy in making me stop so early. Ninth on the grid, it was everything we wanted to get on the podium."
Jonathan Hirschi: "Like Mathieu, starting eighth, we needed to run a strategic race. The first few laps were a bit up in the air but after everything went fine."