EU Megane: Series Estoril Friday notes

Dimitri Enjalbert is learning fast After being crippled by mechanical problems for much of the two-hour collective testing session, Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) nevertheless managed to set the fastest time at a circuit which is completely...

Dimitri Enjalbert is learning fast

After being crippled by mechanical problems for much of the two-hour collective testing session, Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) nevertheless managed to set the fastest time at a circuit which is completely new to him! Still as fast as ever, Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) and Michael Rossi (Racing for Belgium) finished the day just 2/10ths off the pace set by the leader.

The two one-hour sessions were held under extremely hot conditions. The 40-minute races certainly look like they are going to be quite taxing on both man and machine! This morning, Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) set the best time ahead of Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance) and Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur). But all the candidates for victory improved in the afternoon session, with Dimitri Enjalbert finally gaining the upper hand, snatching the fastest time away from Maxime Martin at the chequered flag.

After falling victim to an engine problem at the start of the first session, the Tech 1 driver only completed 22 laps this afternoon: "I think I've had it all today! I stopped after only two laps so that the mechanics could drain the hydraulic system, then I had to complete the rest of the first session without first gear. I came back in the pits with only fifteen minutes left to go and the team resolved the gearbox problem while I was changing onto new tyres. I came back out of the pits, went on the attack and set the fastest time! Still, I know there are a few points on the track where I can still improve further."

In second, the ever-impressive Maxime Martin is joined by a teammate this weekend: Jobo' Scheier, who won the French Clio Cup in 2006, will be driving the second Boutsen Energy Racing Megane: "Pascal Ballay, who is my teammate in GT, was supposed to drive this race. But he wasn't able to make it and asked if I wanted to take his place. I'm really grateful to him and I hope to pay him back by getting a good result here this weekend! With Maxime, we tested some different settings today."

Back in third, Michael Rossi was also looking pleased with himself: "This morning's session was difficult for me, as I was trying to get the feel for an unfamiliar track in a car with serious understeer. Things were better this afternoon as the car goes really well on fresh tyres. I am in third 2/10ths off the pace, but I lost 4/10ths when I locked up in the second sector."

In the top five, Fabrice Walfisch (Team Lompech Sport) had a day full of ups and downs: "I must have managed to get only five quick laps in all day! We changed the final drive assembly in the first session and I was having some gearbox problems this afternoon. We are now going to try and get our set-up right for qualifying. Above all, we will be looking to get a good result in the race after having learnt from our mistakes in the past. A victory would be a really nice reward for the team!"

Making it into the top ten, Cesar Campanico (Equipe Verschuur) seemed happy to be back in the Eurocup fold: "After two years of racing Meganes, I decided to try my hand at the Portuguese touring car championship. Things are going well and I'm currently in second overall. But its nice to be behind the wheel of a Megane again, as it feels more like a single-seater than a touring car! I hope to be able make it onto the podium in front of my home crowd."

And finally, there is one withdrawal, and no minor one at that, to announce for this weekend: Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Oregon Team) has been forced to pull out after a Sebastien Loeb-style mountain biking accident.

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Cesar Campanico , Pascal Ballay , Dimitri Enjalbert , Maxime Martin , Jean-Philippe Dayraut , Matthieu Lahaye , Ralph Meichtry , Michael Rossi