The 'Tech 1 boys' pull away Having fought back from some setbacks since the start of the season, Matthieu Lahaye took an excellent win at Donington Park. By continuing to rack up podium finishes, Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert extended their...
The 'Tech 1 boys' pull away
Having fought back from some setbacks since the start of the season, Matthieu Lahaye took an excellent win at Donington Park. By continuing to rack up podium finishes, Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert extended their advantage at the head of the drivers' championship.
After a break of nearly two months, the Eurocup Megane Trophy got underway again at the Donington Park circuit in England. On Friday, two hours of free practice allowed the drivers to get back into the groove of competition and work on their race set-up. Matthieu Lahaye was the quickest of the four Tech 1 Racing drivers, declaring himself confident for the rest of the weekend. " I found an excellent feeling with the car again, " he said. " I think we can have a good weekend and be in the hunt for our first win-- "
The reigning Junior Champion underlined his potential in qualifying, claiming third place on the grid for each race. The other Tech 1 Racing drivers qualified further behind, but this did not worry team boss Simon Abadie. "With races that last 40 minutes and a compulsory fuel stop, qualifying is only relatively important. We prefer to concentrate on our race set-up rather than performance over just one lap. I'm feeling confident for the rest of the weekend." As it turned out, events would prove the Toulouse-based team's principal exactly right.
While Dimitri Enjalbert was forced into retirement early in the first race, Matthew Lahaye was on flying form to claim second place just before the fuel stops. At the same time, Pedro Petiz and Sebastien Dhouailly were driving a tactical race in the middle of the pack: the two team mates in eighth and ninth positions respectively prior to their pit stops.
Once the fuel stops were over, the Tech 1 drivers seemed to have lost a few places. But a dramatic finale to the race would see them triumph. After a number of drivers ran out of fuel on the closing laps, Matthieu and Pedro scored a stunning one-two for Tech 1 Racing! Sebastien Dhouailly was once more in the points with a solid eighth place.
"This one-two is a fantastic reward for all the hard work put in by our engineers and mechanics," said Abadie after the race. "We were confident as we knew that our calculations were correct. Our rivals spent less time in the pits, but we knew that they did not have enough fuel on board to get to the end of the race. We told our drivers on the radio to keep calm and not push too hard."
Unfortunately, Matthieu Lahaye could not repeat his success on Sunday. He was pushed into Franchi car's by Badey at the start, and was forced to retire shortly afterwards. After an excellent start, Sebastien Dhouailly was seventh with a chasing pack behind him -- which included Dimitri Enjalbert and Pedro Petiz. The race was interrupted by a safety car after seven laps, allowing the three Tech 1 drivers to refuel.
Only the two leaders stayed out -- effectively gifting the rest of the field two places. Dimitri Enjalbert had climbed up to second place after picking off all his rivals, and then he took the lead on lap 15. He then made a small mistake that allowed Meichtry in front with just six laps to go. Pedro Petiz was on the podium for the eighth time in eight races, following yet another impressive charge through the field. Sebastien Dhouailly was fifth -- his best result of the year -- after a faultless race.
Abadie concluded: "I feel sorry for Dimitri, who should have won on Sunday, but above all I am very proud of our team, which has worked perfectly this weekend. These endurance races call for a specific strategy that is getting better with every race. Our results this weekend have been won in the pits as much as on the track. We're leading all three championships and I hope that we will finally get the job done in Magny-Cours."