Tech 1 Racing still in the lead Although the weekend got off to a bad start everything fell back into place on Sunday for Tech 1 Racing. The Toulouse-based outfit is still in the lead in the teams' championship lead ...
Tech 1 Racing still in the lead
Although the weekend got off to a bad start everything fell back into place on Sunday for Tech 1 Racing. The Toulouse-based outfit is still in the lead in the teams' championship lead thanks to Dimitri Enjalbert and Matthieu Cheruy finishing in second and fourth places respectively. Where the drivers are concerned there's still everything to play for. After a well-deserved summer break the Tech 1 Racing squad will be back more motivated than ever to grab that elusive first place.
The twisty Hungaroring circuit has never been the Tech 1 Racing Team's Méganes' happy hunting ground. The four cars arrived in Hungary in exactly the same set-up as last year, so it was up to the drivers and team to fine-tune this set-up during the weekend.
Free practice showed that there was room for improvement in the overall handling. Things went better in qualifying as Dimitri Enjalbert set a couple of third-quickest times, while Matthieu Cheruy and Jonathan Hirschi were also on the pace. Bernard Delhez qualified third twice in the Gentlemen Drivers' category. "We weren't quick when we arrived at this circuit; we knew it would be the case as the Hungaroring layout doesn't really suit the way we run our cars. We managed a good damage limitation exercise in qualifying, though," explained Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager.
The first race got off to a pretty hectic start! Dimitri was in 3rd place at the end of lap 1 and quickly got up to second. He led for a while after the leader, Maxime Martin, stopped at his pit. Unfortunately, Dimitri's chances of winning were dashed when he was hit by Bernhard Ten Brinke. He lost several positions and damaged his tyres. Despite this he still managed to finish sixth scoring a few precious points.
Matthieu Cheruy came home eighth after being hit with a drive- through penalty for having pushed Bernard Delhez! The latter lost time in this incident, but sill managed to finish on the podium in the Gentlemen Drivers' category. Finally, Jonathan Hirschi also had a difficult race as he hit Fabrice Walfisch resulting in a pierced radiator and instant retirement for the no.3 Mégane.
Things went much better for Dimitri in the 2nd race in which he finished second. He spent the first part in 3rd spot: after the obligatory refuelling stop he upped the pace and overtook Maxime Martin for second. "It was an important podium finish as it made up for yesterday's disappointing result. Today, we improved performancewise and the car handled a whole lot better,' said Dimitri.
Matthieu Cheruy also drove a good race and his reward was 4th place. For a while he battled with Jonathan Hirschi for this position, but the Swiss made several errors and fell back to fourteenth.
Finally, Bernard scored his first point in the overall classification by seeing the flag in 10th place. He also came second in the Gentlemen Drivers class, a good performance that brings him to within 8 points of the leader in this category.
So Tech 1 Racing is still in the lead in the teams' classification while Dimitri is now in 3rd place in the drivers' one 5 points ahead of Matthieu. "Without the collision between Dimitri and Bernhard Ten Brinke I think we could have won the first race. Dimitri drove well on Sunday, the team's pit stop was faultless and the reward was a good result. There's still a long way to go till the end of the season, and we have to be perfect at the restart. We're counting a lot on the Nürburgring event where we won both races last year including a triple on Saturday," was how Simon summed up the situation.
So after a few weeks' rest, it'll be nose to the grindstone again at the end of August for the final stretch of the 2008 season.