Van Lagen and Lahaye lock horns The two in-form drivers for this first day were Jaap Van Lagen (Equipe Verschuur) and Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing), who monopolized the top two spots in all three sessions. The Dutch driver posted the day's ...
Van Lagen and Lahaye lock horns
The two in-form drivers for this first day were Jaap Van Lagen (Equipe Verschuur) and Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing), who monopolized the top two spots in all three sessions. The Dutch driver posted the day's best overall time.
The fourth meeting of the season got underway this morning with one very significant absentee: Ludovic Badey. The Frenchman had to withdraw after being involved in quad accident last weekend, leaving his arm fractured in five places. In spite of events, he tried to remain positive: "I will try to visit the guys in the paddock at Le Mans. I'm hoping to get back to driving in December and go for the 2007 title!"
Consequently, it now looks as though the race for title will be between Jaap Van Lagen and Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Epsilon Euskadi). For the moment, the Verschuur team driver remains in the driving seat. Now fully focused on the Eurocup Megane Trophy, the Dutch driver set the best time in the first two sessions. As the track started to dry out, Matthieu Lahaye was able to show what he could do in the third session. A good result for Tech 1 Racing's Junior driver: "I hope that the track will be totally dry in qualifying. I never really managed to complete a perfect lap today. I think I might have beaten Jaap if I had been able to do so. We'll make sure that we avoid making the same tactical errors tomorrow morning that we made in Misano."
Although he was up with the leaders throughout, Jean-Philippe Dayraut was left dissatisfied with his day's efforts: "I am not entirely happy with the setup of the car. We need to do a complete overhaul tonight and analyze the data. If we can't put it right by tomorrow morning, the weekend will be difficult!"
The Epsilon Euskadi engineers can look forward to a busy evening, as they are also going to changer the engine on James Kirkpatrick's car: "It's just an oil leak but we'd rather change it now so as to be sure the car is reliable."
Behind the two leaders, the competition was very even. The usual suspects were there: Cesar Campanico (Racing for Belgium), Pedro Petiz (Iris Racing) and Luigi Ferrara (Oregon Team), but there was also a return to form for Frederic Gabillon (Team Lompech Sport) and Bruce Lorgere-Roux (Tech 1 Racing).
A new face is also looking to mix it up with the leaders. Dutch driver Olivier Tielemans, who has hooked up with Racing for Belgium, is hoping to finish 2006 in Eurocup Megane Trophy, after starting the season in DTM: "I didn't hesitate for a second when Wim Coekelbergs offered me this drive. Obviously, the car is less powerful than the DTM cars, but I must say Renault have done a fantastic job with the Megane. Technically, the car is a very high-spec and I have been particularly impressed by the braking. This will be my first experience of the Megane and the track but I hope to make progress throughout the weekend."