Rossi boosts title hopes The fight for the Eurocup Megane Trophy title is set to go down to the wire! In Race 2 at Estoril, the battle between Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) and Michael Rossi (TDS) was fiercer than ever, with...
Rossi boosts title hopes
The fight for the Eurocup Megane Trophy title is set to go down to the wire! In Race 2 at Estoril, the battle between Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) and Michael Rossi (TDS) was fiercer than ever, with Rossi overtaking Martin and Martin coming back at him hard. Rossi's fourth win of the season means he will head to Barcelona with a lead of six points over Martin.
As was the case yesterday, Michael Rossi started from pole with Maxime Martin alongside him. The two drivers were neck and neck as they headed into the opening bend, but Martin was better placed and came out of the bend ahead. There was contact between the two cars, which knocked Rossi slightly off course and allowed Dimitri Enjalbert to pass him.
At the end of the opening lap, then, Maxime Martin was leading from Dimitri Enjalbert, Michael Rossi, Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech) and Cesar Campanico (Oregon Team), who had managed to move past his teammate Fabrice Walfisch (Oregon Team).
Maxime Martin drove aggressively early on but was not able to shake off Enjalbert and Rossi. Behind the front three, Dhouailly, Campanico and Walfisch were locked in battle. The Portuguese driver made his experience of the track count, overtaking Dhouailly on lap three. Fabrice Walfisch followed suit shortly afterwards.
On lap 8, Dimitri Enjalbert headed for the pits, as did Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur). Maxime Martin and Michael Rossi made their stop one lap later, rejoining the race just ahead of Enjalbert, who quickly slipped in between them. The pit stops thus saw no change in the race order, the front three still running nose-to-tail.
The change came when Michael Rossi skillfully exploited a lapping manoeuvre to overtake Enjalbert. Enjalbert immediately attempted to reclaim second place, but Rossi resisted the pressure and then pulled away.
The end of the race was full of excitement and suspense, with Michael Rossi closing the gap on Maxime Martin and looking for a way past.
Michael Rossi knew the score. If he was to retain first place in the championship, he would have to take some risks. And so on lap 18, he made his move and overtook Martin. Martin immediately moved back ahead, but Rossi stayed with him and then launched an unstoppable assault.
The last two laps were tense. Martin threw everything at Rossi, but the leader did not yield, and Martin lost touch after his wheels locked under braking. Rossi thus took his fourth win of the season - his first since Budapest a result that could prove critical in the title race.
Michael Rossi: "I didn't get a good start, but the car wasn't really running well at the beginning of the race. After the refueling stop, it was better. I took some risks. I had to win. I need to stay focused till the end. Barcelona will be a difficult meeting."
Maxime Martin: "I got a good start. The team did a good job of the refueling stop, but Michael took advantage in the second part of the race. Six points is nothing. Anything is possible at Barcelona, which is a circuit I like."
Dimitri Enjalbert: "I couldn't compete with Michael and Maxime today. I can't finish first or second in the championship now, so I'll be heading to Barcelona to try and finish my season with a win."