Rossi gets his preparations right! As the last chance for the drivers to square up to each other before the battle begins in earnest, these Eurocup Megane Trophy collective testing sessions, held at the Paul Ricard HTTT, provided the teams with...
Rossi gets his preparations right!
As the last chance for the drivers to square up to each other before the battle begins in earnest, these Eurocup Megane Trophy collective testing sessions, held at the Paul Ricard HTTT, provided the teams with the ideal opportunity to check the final adjustments to their setups. In a repeat of proceedings at Barcelona, Michael Rossi (TDS) bagged the fastest time ahead of Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing). Under such changeable conditions, it was however difficult to draw any clear conclusions about how the standings might pan out over the course of the season. Spa-Francorchamps will be the judge of that!
22 Megane Trophies took part in this second session of collective testing of the season. The weather in the South of France was not ideal, with the first day of testing disrupted by showers.
By Tuesday morning, the track had however dried out even if the clouds continued to threaten. The chosen version of the circuit was the 3.841 km variant. As a result, all the drivers decided to go after their fastest times fairly early on. Michael Rossi (TDS), who had already been fastest in testing in Barcelona a few weeks back, set the fastest time, as a result of some steady improvement. He duly found himself up in first position, with a lap in 1'33''560. Only two other drivers were able to come close to the times set by the TDS driver and they were Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech Sport) and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur).
The rain then started to fall, with some brief showers making it impossible to improve on times any further. The session was brought to a halt by two successive red flags, one shown when Bernard Delhez (Tech 1 Racing) ran into the safety barrier and the other as a result of a spin by Erik van Loon (Equipe Verschuur). The positions remained unchanged from there until the break, with Rossi ahead of Dhouailly, Ten Brinke, Walfisch (Oregon Team) and Meichtry (Race Performance).
In the afternoon, the surface of the track was once again damp. No-one was able to improve on the times set in the morning. However, under these tricky conditions, it was Jonathan Hirschi (Tech 1 Racing) who seemed to thrive most. The Swiss driver set the fastest time of the afternoon ahead of Fabrice Walfisch, Michael Rossi, Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and Bernhard Ten Brinke.
On Wednesday morning, though there was a brief reprieve from the rain, the track still remained pretty damp. The drivers quickly started to set a faster pace than that seen on the previous day. Michael Rossi was the first to improve on his own fastest time. By the close of the session the track had practically dried out completely, allowing everyone to have a go at the fastest time. Rossi however still remained fastest, with a lap in 1'32''255, closely followed by Dimitri Enjalbert and Mathieu Cheruy (Tech 1 Racing). The three Frenchmen were the only drivers to go faster than 1'33''.
The rain made its return at the break, with the teams bringing their wet tread tyres back out as a result! Maxime Martin set the fastest time for this session, without however managing to improve on the time to beat set by Rossi.
With the Paul Ricard circuit not on the race calendar for this season, the teams above all concentrated their efforts on fine-tuning the setups of their Meganes, in both the dry and the wet. Race simulations and refuelling tests were also on the agenda. But now we move onto the real competitive action, with the next Megane Trophy event scheduled to kick off the season at the start of May at Spa-Francorchamps.