EU Megane: Series Spa qualifying report

Hirschi on pole for first time Winner of both races at the season's first round in Barcelona, Jonathan Hirschi (TDS Racing) had yet to taste the pleasures of pole position. But the Swiss driver was faultless today in qualifying on ...

Hirschi on pole for first time

Winner of both races at the season's first round in Barcelona, Jonathan Hirschi (TDS Racing) had yet to taste the pleasures of pole position. But the Swiss driver was faultless today in qualifying on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and put in the best performance of the morning. He is pole-sitter for both races and will share the front row with Mike Verschuur (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) this Saturday and Michael Rossi (TDS Racing) on Sunday for race 2.

Following collective testing sessions that were disrupted by rain, there was bright sunshine at Spa to welcome the twenty two New Megane Trophy drivers as they got into qualifying action. TDS Racing were first off, bumper-to-bumper, with Jonathan Hirschi ahead of Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS Racing) and Pierre Thiriet (TDS Racing).

Jonathan Hirschi underscored his leadership by clocking a 2'26''879 lap. But the Swiss driver had Michael Rossi, Mike Verschuur and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) all hot on his heels. Just after the mid-way point, Mike Verschuur overhauled Michael Rossi to feature in second place on the timing-screens and Nick Catsburg (Tech 1 Racing) moved up the fourth at the expense of Ten Brinke, relegated to 5th. The red flag then had to be brought out with Matthieu Cheruy stranded at the side of the track.

The Eurocup Megane Trophy pack were set loose for another six minutes, but the drivers could scarcely get back on the pace before Jeroen Schothorst (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) brought his car to a halt. The session was red-flagged once again, with the standings showing Jonathan Hirschi in the lead followed by Mike Verschuur, Michael Rossi, Nick Catsburg, Bernhard Ten Brinke, Pierre Thiriet and Anthony Tardieu (Tech 1 Racing).

Drivers could then restart for one final attempt. The standings stayed the same and, for the first time this season, Jonathan Hirschi took pole - and for both races of the weekend! The Swiss driver will share the front row with Mike Verschuur on Saturday and with Michael Rossi on Sunday. His team-mate Jean-Philippe Madonia also performed well and leads the Gentlemen Driver category.

Quote, unquote:

Jonathan Hirschi: "I didn't perform too well in qualifying at Barcelona. I made up for it in the wet but I still needed to show what I could do on the dry in Spa. I feel very comfortable on this track. The two poles are a great success. I'm enjoying the car and everything is perfect with my team and my engineer. I'll do all I can to make that continue under race conditions."

Mike Verschuur: "I wasn't able to spend much time behind the wheel in free practice and I didn't fit new rubber. So I had everything to discover in this qualifying session. I can be satisfied with a second and a third position. I reckon I could do better with a little more knowledge of the track and the car. The races are long, so we'll see."

Michael Rossi: "I got a little bit held up in the second sector. I must have lost 0''6. I think I could have grabbed at least second place. The two in front will be fighting it out and I'll need to be there to take advantage of any situation."

-credit: wsr

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Matthieu Cheruy , Bernhard Ten Brinke , Anthony Tardieu , Michael Rossi , Jonathan Hirschi , Philippe Ma , Pierre Thiriet
Teams TDS Racing