European champions! Having taken Matthieu Lahaye to the Junior title at Le Mans, Tech 1 Racing also claimed the teams' title at last weekend's Eurocup Megane Trophy encounter. The Toulouse-based team has therefore picked up its first...
Having taken Matthieu Lahaye to the Junior title at Le Mans, Tech 1 Racing also claimed the teams' title at last weekend's Eurocup Megane Trophy encounter. The Toulouse-based team has therefore picked up its first international championship!
Tech 1 Racing went into the final race meeting of the year with two key objectives. The first was to claim the teams' title. The second was to profit from any weaknesses in Jaap Van Lagen's weekend that might allow Matthieu Lahaye to add the overall drivers' title to his junior championship.
Matthieu got the weekend off to a perfect start by setting fastest time in free practice ahead of Van Lagen. Bruce Lorgere-Roux suffered from a slight off, and got into the top 10 without being able to show his full potential.
On Saturday morning, the qualifying session went in favour of Van Lagen - who qualified in front of Matthieu twice. This meant that the title rivals would line up alongside each other for both races! The two other Tech 1 Racing cars were also in the top 10 for both races : Bruce Lorgere-Roux was 7th and 6th, while Jonathan Hirschi was 8th and 9th.
The start of race one took place on Saturday afternoon as usual. Matthieu immediately fell into place behind Van Lagen, but Frederic Gabillon managed to get past him. In the meantime, Bruce had enjoyed a stunning start to the race, ending the first lap in 5th place. Despite losing his front bodywork, the Frenchman went from strength to strength - hunting down Cesar Campanico, Matthieu and Frederic Gabillon!
Just after the half way point, Matthieu managed to frame up to Gabillon and re-take second place, as Bruce went off into a gravel trap ! He recovered to rejoin the race in 4th place, just ahead of Jonathan Hirschi who was also making good progress. The positions stayed the same until the end of the race, which meant that Van Lagen became drivers' champion while Tech 1 Racing claimed the teams' title .
On Sunday afternoon, the Megane Trophy brought the 2006 World Series by Renault to a close with a 'friendly' race. Once more Gabillon grabbed the advantage from Van Lagen to the detriment of Matthieu. The start of the race was hectic, with Bruce taking a trip into the scenery once more - unfortunately hitting Matthieu and Jonathan as he got back on ! This indiscretion earned him a 'drive-through' penalty from the race organisers.
Matthieu recovered from the incident to regain second place on the 6th lap, before heading off in hot pursuit of Van Lagen. But the Dutchman held onto his advantage all the way to the chequered flag, ending what has been a breath-taking season from start to finish.
On Sunday night, Tech 1 Racing boss Simon Abadie picked up the Eurocup Championship trophy at the World Series by Renault prize-giving ceremony, held at the prestigious Palau Nacional in Barcelona. He said: "The whole team gave everything to earn this trophy. I would like to thank everyone: our mechanics, engineers, drivers, sponsors, and all those people who have supported us from the start of the whole Tech 1 adventure. I hope now that this trophy is just the first of many--"
<pre> Drivers' Championship 1. Van Lagen 149 pts 2. Lahaye 122 pts 3. Campanico 107 pts 5. Lorgere-Roux 68 pts
Junior Championship 1. Lahaye 167 pts 2. Lorgere-Roux 100 pts 3. Ferrara 94 pts
Teams' Championship 1. Tech 1 Racing 191 pts 2. Equipe Verschuur 177 pts 3. Racing for Belgium 121 pts
-credit: tech 1 racing