Victory at last! A week after the Nurburgring round the Le Mans Bugatti circuit hosted the Eurocup Megane Trophy in front of 170 000 spectators. It was a national festival for the World Series by Renault that the Tech 1 team tackled full of ...
Victory at last!
A week after the Nurburgring round the Le Mans Bugatti circuit hosted the Eurocup Megane Trophy in front of 170 000 spectators. It was a national festival for the World Series by Renault that the Tech 1 team tackled full of confidence. The Toulouse-based outfit came away from Le Mans with a victory on Saturday for Dimitri Enjalbert and a rostrum finish on Sunday for Matthieu Cheruy. Tech 1 Racing is still in the running for the teams' title, the outcome of which will be decided in a couple of weeks.
This season the battle in the Eurocup Megane Trophy has been fast and furious! Dimitri Enjalbert put himself back in the title chase with his two rostrum finishes in Budapest and the Nurburgring. In the fight for the teams' championship Tech 1 Racing is neck and neck with TDS and Boutsen Energy Racing, so the Le Mans round was of crucial importance before Estoril and Barcelona.
It was raining for the collective test session, and Dimitri took advantage of the tricky conditions to shine setting the quickest time on the slippery track. Jonathan Hirschi and Matthieu Cheruy were also on the pace finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Next day in dry conditions qualifying went off perfectly. The Tech 1 Racing team had found just the right set-up and straight away Dimitri went to the top of the time sheets. He was never headed and ended the session with both pole positions in his pocket. "I was on the pace immediately and I just did what was necessary. I feel really at home on this circuit whether it's wet or dry, so I'm feeling pretty confident for the race," smiled the double pole setter. Jonathan qualified fourth and Matthieu was a bit further back, ninth for the first race and eighth for the second.
On Saturday, Dimitri made a perfect start from pole and shot into the lead, which he held until his refuelling stop. Jonathan opted for a different strategy and refuelled later on in the race. He led for several laps before pitting for his compulsory stop. Unfortunately, his efforts were scuppered by a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Dimitri found himself behind Maxime Martin after the refuelling stops, and only needed a few laps to retake the lead under braking for the Dunlop chicane. He went on to win his first race of the year ahead of his two main rivals for the title Maxime Martin and Michael Rossi. Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing boss was delighted with the victory. "I'm very pleased with this win. We've been expecting it for a long time. It's come at just the right moment, at Le Mans in front of a lot of spectators. Victories in the Megane Trophy and in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, you couldn't have a better day! Dimitri's been quick all weekend and it's a great win for him putting him right back in the title chase, and it also gives us a good haul of points for the teams' championship. Matthieu Cheruy's fifth place is a good result for us too even if he could have finished on the rostrum."
The outcome of the second race on Sunday afternoon was decided in the tricky Dunlop chicane, which always poses problems on the first lap. The Tech 1 Racing drivers unfortunately paid the price! A collision occurred between several cars and Dimitri and Jonathan were eliminated on the spot. All the team's hopes were riding on Matthieu's shoulders, and he drove a solid race helped by a perfect pit stop. He was on the rostrum for the third time this season and consolidated his fourth place in the drivers' ratings.
Bernard Delhez also had a good weekend with a third-place finish in the Gentleman Drivers' category. He is currently lying fourth in the championship, which is also hotly contested as four drivers are covered by only fourteen points.
"Saturday's win did us a lot of good. On Sunday, we weren't very lucky," said Simon. "Fortunately, Matthieu drove a good race and he hasn't been on the rostrum since the Spa-Francorchamps event. It's positive, as we need him to help us win the teams' title. We're third at the moment three points behind the second-placed outfit and eleven points behind the leader. Estoril and Barcelona will be crucial. It's up to us not to make any mistakes and go for the title. We'll fight right down to the wire!"