Three titles destined for Tech 1 Racing! By claiming a fourth win at Estoril, Pedro Petiz has taken another step towards this year's Eurocup Megane Trophy. In Barcelona, the only person capable of challenging him for the title will be his team...
Three titles destined for Tech 1 Racing!
By claiming a fourth win at Estoril, Pedro Petiz has taken another step towards this year's Eurocup Megane Trophy. In Barcelona, the only person capable of challenging him for the title will be his team mate Dimitri Enjalbert. The same situation applies to the Junior Championship, which will go to one of the Toulouse-based team's two drivers. Finally, Tech 1 Racing is also guaranteed to hang onto the teams' title first won by the squad last year--
In free practice Tech 1 Racing established an impressive benchmark: Matthieu Lahaye and Dimitri Enjalbert set fastest times in the two sessions, having carried out all their usual preparation work for the two races.
As has been their usual strategy this year, Tech 1 Racing's drivers did not prioritise getting pole position -- preferring instead to concentrate on race pace. Dimitri Enjalbert and Pedro Petiz shared the second row of the grid for race one, while Sebastien Dhouailly put in his best qualifying performance of the season to occupy sixth. Matthieu Lahaye was unable to repeat his lap times of free practice and had to settle for 12th. On his second-fastest lap -- which would determine the grid for race two -- Petiz went a little better, earning himself a place on the front row. Enjalbert, Dhouailly and Lahaye were fifth, eighth and 12th on the grid respectively for race two.
At the start of Saturday's race, Pedro Petiz set about Martin immediately. Sebastien Dhouailly also made an excellent start, ending the opening lap in third place. Things went less well for Dimitri Enjalbert -- who dropped to 10th -- and Matthieu Lahaye, who was forced into retirement after a coming-together at the first corner--
Once again, it all came down to the pit stops. Having already shown themselves to be master refuellers in the past, the Tech 1 Racing mechanics gave Pedro a perfect stop that allowed him to come out in the lead and take his fourth win of the year -- to the great joy of his home fans in Estoril. Dimitri was on combative form in the middle of the pack, and eventually fought back to claim fourth. He was passed by Campanico in the closing stages, but this did not affect anything as the Portuguese driver is not registered for championship points. Sebastien had a much more difficult race and was unable to rediscover the pace he had demonstrated in qualifying. Nonetheless, he scored points for finishing ninth.
On Sunday, the scenario was somewhat different. Pedro was hit from behind by Verschuur at the start. This ripped off most of Pedro's rear diffuser -- which provides a large proportion of the Megane's downforce. Dimitri was fourth at the start of the race, but did not take long to gain a place at Meichtry's expense. Pedro struggled after the incident at the start, and could not hold off his team mate for long. Dimitri took second position, which he maintained all the way to the chequered flag.
Having put his recent negative form behind him, Matthieu staged an impressive fightback. Helped by the slick pitwork of the Tech 1 mechanics, he moved up to fourth after the stops. At the very end of the race Campanico ran out of fuel and retired -- which promoted Lahaye to the podium. Petiz finished seventh, scoring vital points after a damage limitation exercise.
After a weekend marked by Tech 1 Racing's sixth win, team boss Simon Abadie drew a more than positive conclusion from the fact that three titles are now destined to go to Tech 1 Racing. "In terms of scoring points, we've done an excellent job this weekend," he said. "Pedro and Dimitri have confirmed their dominance with some top performances. I'm equally happy for Matthew, who is back on the podium after a barren spell. I hope he can continue this upward trend in Barcelona. My only disappointment is for Sebastien, who was very quick in free practice and qualifying. But we do not understand why the races have been so difficult for him. We're going to analyse everything carefully now so that he can come into the next round with a better chance of success."