Martin wins at last! Having come close to victory on several occasions this season, Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) has finally picked up his first race win! Tech 1 Racing's Dimitri Enjalbert and Matthieu Lahaye joined him on the podium,...
Martin wins at last!
Having come close to victory on several occasions this season, Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) has finally picked up his first race win! Tech 1 Racing's Dimitri Enjalbert and Matthieu Lahaye joined him on the podium, which means Enjalbert still has a chance, albeit slim, of pipping Pedro Petiz to the title!
It was Maxime Martin, starting from pole, who got off to the best start, and he went into the first bend in the lead, ahead of Pedro Petiz. Just a few bends in, Mike Verschuur was involved in a collision that would soon force him to retire. Ralph Meichtry, meanwhile, moved up to third place, followed by Dimitri Enjalbert, Micha0xc812ossi and Fabrice Walfisch.
Verschuur's bonnet flew off at the start of lap 2, forcing the young Dutchman back to the pits. Ludovic Badey, Bernhard Ten Brinke, C0x3872 Campani0xf821nd S0x2873tien Dhouailly were placed seventh to tenth at this early stage. Lahaye, Scheier, Ciro and Cheruy were also part of the chasing pack.
Enjalbert overtook Meichtry on lap 3. Two minor errors by Petiz then allowed the Frenchman to make further progress. The Eurocup leader, struggling to come to terms with the loss of his rear diffuser, was subsequently passed by both Rossi and Meichtry. After stopping to refuel on lap 6, he rejoined the race at the back of the field.
While his rivals jostled for position behind him, Maxime Martin stretched his lead over Dimitri Enjalbert to three seconds by the end of lap 8, which is when Walfisch, Campani0xf821nd Dhouailly came into the pits. Badey and Scheier, engaged in a ferocious battle, followed suit on lap 9. Two laps later, it was Enjalbert's turn to refuel. At the halfway stage, Martin, Rossi, Meichtry, Lahaye and Ten Brinke were the only drivers not to have stopped.
Martin, Rossi and Lahaye eventually came in on lap 13, handing the lead to Meichtry for one lap only. The Swiss driver's pit stop was not a success; he rejoined the race in fifth position behind Martin, Enjalbert, Campani0xf821nd Lahaye! Martin regained the lead on lap 16, when Ten Brinke stopped to refuel. The Verschuur driver was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
With ten minutes remaining, Martin boasted a three-second advantage over Enjalbert, Campani0xf821nd Lahaye, who were really going at it behind him. Rossi and Meichtry stayed in touch with these three, ready to pounce, while Walfisch and Petiz were involved in another duel a few lengths further back.
The end of the race didn't go to plan for C0x3872 Campani0xfea0the Portuguese driver, who was lying in third place, ran out of fuel, handing Matthieu Lahaye a place on the podium. Ralph Meichtry snatched fourth place from Rossi on the final lap.
Maxime Martin: "I led from start to finish and I was able to control the race from the front. We've had a lot of problems with our pit stops this year, so it's pleasing that everything finally went well today!"
Dimitri Enjalbert: "At the start of the season, people said I didn't have a chance of challenging for the title, but, going into the last race, I'm in with a shot! It's a long shot, admittedly, but I'll be aiming to finish with a win."
Matthieu Lahaye: "It's great to be back, after three races where I got no further than the first bend It gives me the motivation to finish the season with a bang!"