Michaël Rossi takes it on the line

Eurocup Mégane Trophy - Spa-Francorchamps Race 1

Leader from start to finish, apart from during pitstops, Michaël Rossi (TDS Racing) dominated this first race. The TDS Racing driver won the first of race of this season's opening meeting ahead of Tech1 Racing's Mathieu Chéruy and Jonathan Hirschi.

Starting in pole position Michael Rossi made a faultless start leading Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) whilst Sébastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech) made a mistake at la Source, helped by Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS Racing).

At the top of Eau Rouge, Dimitri Enjalbert made a slight error, which allowed Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) to go on the attack. Michaël Rossi finished his first lap in the lead, followed by Dimitri Enjalbert, Maxime Martin, Bernhard Ten Brinke, Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen Energy Racing), Jonathan Hirschi, Fabrice Walfish (Oregon Team) and Mathieu Chéruy.

Michaël Rossi made a clean get away. Behind the leader, Maxime Martin made use of drag and overtook Dimitri Enjalbert. The group of Martin, Enjalbert, Ten Brinke, Kuppens, Hirschi, Walfisch and Chéruy stayed very tight. This group was falling apart by the third lap as Bernhard Ten Brinke span off at the Bus Stop chicane and when Renaud Kuppens ran straight on at the same spot.

The duel between Maxime Martin and Dimitri Enjalbert for second place left the crowd breathless. Behind them, Fabrice Walfisch dislodged Jonathan Hirschi from fourth position. Fabrice Walfisch worked hard to regain contact with the two men, whilst Jonathan Hirschi fought off Mathieu Chéruy.

Mathieu Chéruy revealed his strategy for dealing with the rest of the pack as he entered the pits for the obligatory refueling stop one lap ahead of everyone else. Ahead, Dimitri Enjalbert, hampered by a loose front bonnet, lost one place after another to Jonathan Hirschi followed by Fabrice Walfisch.

On the eighth lap, the leader Michaël Rossi, who led the course by more than six seconds, entered the pits, as did Jonathan Hirschi and Dimitri Enjalbert. Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch stayed out on track for longer than anyone.

The refueling stops over, Michaël Rossi was still leading, without any worries about the competition. With more than nine seconds lead on Mathieu Cheruy, the lead driver needed only to guide himself home. Meanwhile for second place, Mathieu Chéruy, Jonathan Hirschi, Maxime Martin and Fabrice Walfisch still had everything to play for.

By the end of the race, Michaël Rossi's lead was seriously diminished. He was finally handed his victory by an also-ran ahead of Mathieu Cheruy and Pierre Hirschi. Hoevert Vos (Equipe Verschuur) took victory in the Gentlemen Drivers category.

Michaël Rossi: «The race really started well. I was leading and everything was going great until three or four laps from the end. At that point the car was becoming difficult to control. It was hard to stay on the track. It's still not clear why. One more lap and I don't think I'd have won the race.»

Mathieu Chéruy: «This is my first podium in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy. The Tech1 Racing team chose a perfect strategy in making me stop so early. Ninth on the grid, it was everything we wanted to get on the podium.»

Jonathan Hirschi : Like Mathieu, starting eighth, we needed to run a strategic race. The first few laps were a bit up in the air but after everything went fine."

Pos Number Driver  Team  Laps Time GapFirst KPH 

1 12 Michaël ROSSI TDS 16 41:21.625 - 166.7   2 2 Matthieu CHERUY Tech 1 Racing 1 16 41:21.796 +0.171 166.2   3 3 Jonathan HIRSCHI Tech 1 Racing 2 16 41:24.929 +3.304 166.2   4 8 Maxime MARTIN Boutsen Energy Racing 16 41:25.813 +4.188 165.9   5 24 Fabrice WALFISCH Oregon Team 1 16 41:31.591 +9.966 166.1   6 22 Renaud KUPPENS Boutsen Energy Racing 16 41:47.603 +25.978 165.6   7 7 Bernhard TEN BRINKE Equipe Verschuur 1 16 41:49.640 +28.015 165.3   8 11 Andreas MAYERL Race Performance 16 41:54.981 +33.356 164.1   9 21 Hoevert VOS Equipe Verschuur 2 16 42:16.216 +54.591 163.8   10 25 Giuseppe TERMINE Oregon Team 1 16 42:17.872 +56.247 163.8   11 9 David DERMONT Boutsen Energy Racing 16 42:19.181 +57.556 163.3   12 4 Bernard DELHEZ Tech 1 Racing 2 16 42:19.763 +58.138 163.7   13 1 Dimitri ENJALBERT Tech 1 Racing 1 16 42:22.137 +1:00.512 166.3   14 17 Pierre HIRSCHI Team Lompech Sport 15 41:30.648 1 Lap 157.2   15 6 Harrie KOLLEN Equipe Verschuur 1 15 41:35.121 1 Lap 157.8   16 16 Jean - Charles MIGINIAC Team Lompech Sport 15 42:27.474 1 Lap 153.8   17 18 Rafael UNZURRUNZAGA Blue Jumeirah Team 15 42:36.640 1 Lap 152.8     73 Angelo BAIGUERA Oregon Team 1 12 32:46.402   158.9     15 Sébastien DHOUAILLY Team Lompech Sport 1 3:21.319         14 Jean - Philippe MADONIA TDS 0