Bas Schothorst before the rain The weather certainly had a trick or two up its sleeve today in France's NiÃ¨vre region. Eurocup Megane Trophy drivers took advantage of dry track conditions for a good part of the day, but the rain made its entry...
Bas Schothorst before the rain
The weather certainly had a trick or two up its sleeve today in France's Nièvre region. Eurocup Megane Trophy drivers took advantage of dry track conditions for a good part of the day, but the rain made its entry during the second session of collective testing. Before the clouds broke, Bas Schothorst (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) claimed the fastest time of the day, ahead of Nick Catsburg (TDS Racing), Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) and Pierre Thiriet (TDS Racing).
From the off, the Eurocup Megane Trophy competitors took to the track on slick tyres, even though the Magny-Cours circuit was still damp in places. The start of the first collective testing session was nevertheless comparatively calm. After ten minutes or so we saw the first significant times, in particular with a 1'58'' 600 lap by Nick Catsburg.
The first half hour of testing saw the rankings change continually. Lap by lap, Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS Racing), Dimitri Enjalbert (Boutsen Energy Racing), Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team), Raymond Coronel (McG Fashion by Verschuur) and Pierre Thiriet took turns at the top of the timing screen. But in the end it was Bas Schothorst who came out on top, lapping in 1'46'' 881. The Dutch driver was to be ousted from first place by his compatriot Nick Catsburg, as the final half hour of this first session approached. The TDS Racing driver then turned in a series of fast laps and established a best time of 1'46''192, before going even quicker right at the end of the session. Credited with a time of 1'45''351, he finished on top of the leaderboard ahead of Pierre Thiriet, Stefano Comini, Bas Schothorst and Dimitri Enjalbert.
Pierre Thiriet dominated the early part of the afternoon session. The French driver stayed in first place throughout the early part of the session. But Bas Schothorst was eventually to steal the show. Lapping in 1'44'' 957, the Dutch driver beat his rivals for pace on the day. Nick Catsburg climbed back up the standings to finish with the second quickest time ahead of Stefano Comini in third.
While the drivers got ready to fit new rubber, the heavens opened and the Magny-Cours track was drenched with rain. Ultimately, the end of the session turned into a good opportunity for the drivers to practice in wet conditions. Naturally, there were no further changes to the session standings, so Bas Schothorst claimed the fastest time of the day followed by Nick Catsburg and Stefano Comini.
Bas Schothorst : "We're on the pace now and I really like the Magny-Cours track. This is a real racing track, nothing like all the modern circuits that are completely sanitized. I have a lot less experience than the others in the rain, so I put in a lot of laps at the end of the session."
Nick Catsburg : "This morning things were not perfect. I didn't have a great feeling with the car. But the team succeeded in sorting it out and it became a lot more pleasant to drive this afternoon. Like many of the drivers I chose to stay out in the rain, because I'm not used to this circuit in these conditions."
Sefano Comini : "Testing is for trying things out^a so we tested quite a lot of things. I still have details to work on from the point of view of set-up. We had a problem with the inlet manifold at the end of the session. That was a pity, because it stopped me driving in the wet and I could have done with that practice."