Martin produces performance full of Energy In a race full of incident, poleman Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) came out on top for the first time this season. When Michael Rossi (TDS) ran out of fuel in the closing stages, Bernhard Ten ...
Martin produces performance full of Energy
In a race full of incident, poleman Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) came out on top for the first time this season. When Michael Rossi (TDS) ran out of fuel in the closing stages, Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) and Sebastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech Sport) took full advantage to secure their places alongside Martin on the podium.
Maxime Martin got a perfect start from pole position, with Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing), who had started from the second row, surging past Michael Rossi into second.
Martin and Enjalbert were nose-to-tail at the front, while Michael Rossi was pushing hard to make up ground on the leading pair. Back in fourth, Sebastien Dhouailly was coming under pressure from Bernhard Ten Brinke. The positions changed on lap 4, as Dimitri Enjalbert found a way past Martin and took the lead, while Ten Brinke followed suit, overtaking Dhouailly.
But the battle between Enjalbert, Martin and Rossi was far from over. Maxime Martin tried to reclaim the lead, but only succeeded in handing second spot to Michael Rossi. With the three leaders nose-to-tail, the tension was building. Rossi attempted to overtake, but broke too late, causing his wheels to lock and his car to clip Enjalbert, who was sent into a spin and fell back to sixth place.
Shortly afterwards, on lap 7, Michael Rossi was the first driver to make his mandatory refuelling stop. Dimitri Enjalbert then did likewise, handing the lead back to Maxime Martin, with Bernhard Ten Brinke second.
Once everyone had refuelled, Rossi was still out in front, with a lead of more than two seconds over Maxime Martin, while Bernhard Ten Brinke was doing his best to hold off Dimitri Enjalbert. Enjalbert found a way past, but was then handed a drive-through penalty after a collision with Matthieu Cheruy. Ten Brinke thus moved back into third place.
Michael Rossi had a penalty of his own to serve as a result of his brush with Dimitri Enjalbert at the start of the race, and when he pulled into the pits, Maxime Martin found himself back in the lead, more than ten seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Bernhard Ten Brinke. The Dutchman could do nothing, however, to counter the explosive speed of Michael Rossi, who made an unstoppable move at Copse.
From then on, it was plain sailing for Maxime Martin. Behind him, however, the last two laps would see plenty of incident. Out of fuel, Michael Rossi fell back to seventh place, leaving Bernhard Ten Brinke and Sebastien Dhouailly as the second and third men on the podium. In the Gentlemen Drivers category, Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS) took his first win, finishing ninth overall.
Maxime Martin: I got a good start, but Enjalbert and Rossi overtook me. I didn't want to wear out my tyres, though. I stayed in touch with the leaders, then my team produced the perfect pitstop. Things went my way after that. This first win is important in terms of my prospects in the Championship.
Bernhard Ten Brinke: I started from eighth on the grid, so I wasn't really expecting to finish second. I went off hard, then I focused on keeping a steady pace. That's what made the difference at the end.
Sebastien Dhouailly: After an unsuccessful time at Spa-Francorchamps, I'm really pleased to have got my first podium finish here. Hopefully I'll carry on in the same vein in race 2!