Tech 1 Racing cart off the spoils The Tech 1 Racing team dominated their opposition at the first meeting of the Eurocup Megane Trophy. Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert came home from Belgium leading the overall title race.
Tech 1 Racing cart off the spoils
The Tech 1 Racing team dominated their opposition at the first meeting of the Eurocup Megane Trophy. Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert came home from Belgium leading the overall title race. Sebastien Dhouailly enjoyed his best result in the category, while Matthieu Lahaye was held back by an unusual lack of form.
One week after Monza, the Tech 1 Racing team headed to Zolder for the first World Series by Renault meeting. In the absence of the Formula Renault 3.5 cars, the Eurocup Megane Trophy played a starring role in Belgium. Having snatched the teams' and the junior Megane title last year, Tech 1 Racing aimed to start 2007 in exactly the same way that they had finished 2006.
Tech 1 Racing emerged from the two free practice sessions on Friday with mixed fortunes. On the one hand, Pedro Petiz, Dimitri Enjalbert and Matthieu Lahaye set the three fastest times. On the other hand, an off-track excursion from Matthieu at the end of the first session meant that the team was forced to re-build the number 1 Megane. Team boss Simon Abadie said: "These things just happen sometimes. Matthieu rarely makes a mistake, but it could compromise his weekend as he will be forced to start qualifying with less time in the car compared to everyone else."
On Saturday morning, Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert confirmed their pace by setting the two fastest times in the qualifying sessions. Dimitri Enjalbert replied by claiming pole position for race two, while Pedro had to settle for a place on the third row. Sebastien Dhouailly qualified ninth in both sessions, while Matthieu had to settle for 10th and 15th after picking up a puncture.
In the first race, lasting 40 minutes with an obligatory fuel stop, the two Meganes of Pedro and Dimitri immediately took the lead in style. On the second lap, the safety car came out following an accident. When the race re-started, the two leaders once again emerged on top, while Matthieu fought back to fifth place.
By the time the fuel stops were over, Pedro still had a slight lead over Dimitri. However, the race was stopped early due to another accident. Tech 1 Racing scored a one-two formation finish, while Matthieu was poorly rewarded for his efforts with eighth place. Sebastien Dhouailly finished just outside the points.
The following day, Dimitri made the most of his pole position in race two to make the best start. The first lap marked the end of the road for a number of drivers, including Matthieu Lahaye who was taken out by another Megane. Pedro steered clear of trouble to move up to second place, just before the safety car came out again. But unlike the other teams, Tech 1 Racing were unable to bring their cars in for an early fuel stop. "Our positions on the pit lane were blocked by Formula Renault cars in parc ferme and cars belonging to other teams" explained Simon Abadie. "By the time we had cleared them out of the way, the safety car was ready to come back in again."
Dimitri and Pedro were the fastest on the track but had to settle for second and third places in the race behind Ralph Meichtry, who had been able to carry out his pit stop during the safety car period. Sebastien Dhouailly finished fifth after a faultless race: his best result to date in the Eurocup.
Simon Abadie concluded: "I'm disappointed by Matthieu's lack of form here and the win that slipped through our fingers in race two, but of course I'm happy that we were the quickest all weekend. Two pole positions, one win, four podiums and two fastest laps is a great result. We leave Zolder with the top two places in each of the three championships, which is something that doesn't happen every day! We have to keep on working hard, as these 'mini-endurance' races are constantly throwing up new variables that we need to master perfectly."
The next round of the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 and the Eurocup Megane Trophy will be at the Nurburgring in Germany from May 5-6.