Spa-Francorchamps: what a warm-up! Eurocup Megane Trophy joins the action at Spa-Francorchamps for the second meeting of the 2010 World Series by Renault season. Boutsen Energy Racing's Dimitri Enjalbert is currently hot favourite, but ...
Spa-Francorchamps: what a warm-up!
Eurocup Megane Trophy joins the action at Spa-Francorchamps for the second meeting of the 2010 World Series by Renault season. Boutsen Energy Racing's Dimitri Enjalbert is currently hot favourite, but the Frenchman faces some very stiff competition, in particular from the likes of TDS Racing's Nick Catsburg, McGregor by Equipe Verschuur's Bas Schothorst, and Oregon Team's Stefano Comini.
While the competitors in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and F4 Eurocup 1.6 have already done battle at Motorland Aragon, the season begins in earnest for drivers in the Eurocup Megane Trophy at Spa-Francorchamps. In collective testing back in March, Stefano Comini and Nick Catsburg stood out, setting fastest laps at Motorland Aragon and Valencia respectively.
Having competed in Swiss and Italian Formula Renault for the last three seasons, Stefano Comini this year gets to grips with Megane Trophy. His first experience of the high-performance saloon was very much to his liking, and the young Swiss driver, who has only just turned 20, found his feet immediately. He must now build on his experience, particularly race experience, where you have to know how to earn your place in the peloton!
Comini is not the only newcomer the class. Fellow countryman, Boutsen Energy Racing's Fabien Thuner, who finished fourth in Swiss Formula Renault in 2009 is also competing in his first season in saloon cars. While Oregon Team's Niccolo Nalio is more experienced in saloon car racing, he nevertheless has everything to learn about Megane Trophy. Finally, Bas Schothort also takes part in his first full season of Eurocup Megane Trophy. The Dutch driver already has some experience of the class, having finished second in the last race of the 2009 season. He has the unenviable task of succeeding 2009 Eurocup Megane Trophy winner Mike Verschuur behind the wheel of the McGregor by Equipe Verschuur car, with the aim of doing equally well.
As always, the newcomers will have their work cut out up against the more experienced drivers. Nick Catsburg, joins teammate Pierre Thiriet at TDS Racing, both of whom take part in their second season in the class. Both drivers will be out to take a first race win in Eurocup Megane Trophy, but the title is undoubtedly their real goal.
Up against all these drivers, Dimitri Enjalbert is still hot favourite, even if he kept a low profile in collective testing. Last season's record-winning victor, with seven wins in 2009, he will be keen to take the title now and land himself the try-out in a Nissan GT-R GT1, which will reward the season's champion. To do this he will need to be on form for round 1 at Spa-Francorchamps, a circuit at which he didn't compete last year.
Finally, Team Lompech Sport's Sebastien Dhouailly returns to Eurocup Megane Trophy after taking a break in 2009. Fifth in 2008, with two podium finishes to his credit, he is a name to watch. Meanwhile, the only woman in a pack of 21 male drivers, Boutsen Energy Racing's Caroline Grifnee will also be one to look out for in Belgium.
In the Gentlemen Drivers category, 2008 and 2009 winner, TDS Racing's Jean-Philippe Madonia will be defending his title from his main rivals, who will once again to try to take it off him. Team Lompech Sport's Jean-Charles Mignac, McG Fashion Group's Jeroen Schothorst, McGregor by Equipe Verschuur's Hoevert Vos, or even teammate Harrie Kolen will do everything they can to keep the Frenchman from his hat-trick.