Podiums a-plenty at Estoril! Dimitri Enjalbert's two podium finishes on the Estoril circuit in Portugal reaped a harvest of precious points for Tech 1 Racing. The final in Barcelona will be decisive for the teams' title. Winning it will be a...
Podiums a-plenty at Estoril!
Dimitri Enjalbert's two podium finishes on the Estoril circuit in Portugal reaped a harvest of precious points for Tech 1 Racing. The final in Barcelona will be decisive for the teams' title. Winning it will be a hard task for the Toulouse-based outfit but with a perfect weekend, it's on the cards.
Tech 1 Racing boosted by Dimitri Enjalbert's win on the Le Mans circuit arrived in Estoril hungry for further victories. The team's 4 drivers worked together during the collective test session, and gathered useful information to enable the engineers to find the right set-up.
The speed was there in qualifying. Dimitri set the quickest time of the session only to have it cancelled when race control hung out the red flag. When the session restarted he went hell for leather and finally set the third-fastest time giving him third place on the grid in each of the 2 races. Matthieu Cheruy and Jonathan Hirschi were a bit further back, but they knew they had what it took to put on a good performance in the race. Bernard Delhez qualified third among the gentlemen drivers.
At the start of the first race Fabrice Walfisch got the better of Dimitri but the Tech 1 driver soon got back into third place, and began to push to catch the first two, Maxime Martin and Michael Rossi. After a few laps he closed the gap and the 3 drivers stayed nose-to-tail until the obligatory refuelling stop.
The race hotted up after the stops. Dimitri was right on the back bumper of the Eurocup Megane Trophy leader, Rossi, and got past past him thanks to a magnificent piece of late braking. He crossed the line in second place. "Dimitri bagged a big haul of points, but he was quick enough to win the race," was how Simon Abadie analysed the result. "We lost a little time during refuelling and that's what cost him victory. We really haven't been lucky this season even though we're among the quickest." Jonathan started from eight and scored a few extra points by finishing fifth. Matthieu's and Bernard's races were rather more hectic!
Dimitri made a good start to Sunday's race and slotted into second behind Maxime Martin. Tech 1 Racing decided to bring him in very early on to enable him to really go for it. It was the right choice. Dimitri reeled off quick lap after quick lap and after refuelling the 3 leaders, Enjalbert, Martin and Rossi, were wheel-to-wheel. Then a tail ender baulked Dimitri and Rossi nipped past. The final laps were less hectic and the Tech 1 driver held onto third till the chequered flag. His second podium allowed him to remain third in the drivers' championship. Matthieu finished sixth just ahead of Hirschi. Bernard Delhez scored more points in the Gentlemen Drivers' category in which he is now third only 3 points away from second place.
The final round of the Eurocup Megane Trophy will be held on the Barcelona circuit, and it will be difficult for Tech 1 Racing to win the teams' title as it is 14 points behind the leader. But with a perfect weekend anything can happen. "We're going to fight to the bitter end. But being realistic it'll be very difficult for us to win the championship," admits Simon. "We're quick but we haven't had that little helping hand from Lady Luck. Without being fatalistic I reckon it's just not our year. We've fought back well after a difficult start to the championship; we've proved that we're able to turn things around when we have to. It's important to finish the year with a perfect weekend. We have to win in Barcelona to end the Megane Trophy on a high note."
-credit: tech 1