There's no stopping Enjalbert - Le Mans Race 1
Since the beginning of the meeting, Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) has completely dominated proceedings. After securing pole position for both races, the driver from the Ile-de-France region has now recorded his first win of the season, bringing him a few points closer to Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) and Michaël Rossi (TDS) second and third respectively today in the championship standings.
When the race got underway in brilliant sunshine, Maxime Martin quickly made up ground on Dimitri Enjalbert and the two men arrived at the Dunlop chicane neck-and-neck. Being on the inside, Enjalbert held a slight advantage. Bernard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur), Jean-Philippe Madonia (TDS), David Dermont (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) and Hoevert Vos (Equipe Verschuur) got into a scrape at the same chicane, but Madonia was the only one who was unable to get going again.
The safety car was brought out to clear and clean the track, with Dimitri Enjalbert in first place ahead of Maxime Martin, Michaël Rossi and Jonathan Cheruy. At the restart, there was no change at the front, while Lorenzo Bontempelli (Oregon Team), the leading driver in the Gentlemen Drivers category, ended up in the gravel trap at the first chicane.
Little by little, Dimitri Enjalbert and Maxime Martin pulled away from Michaël Rossi and Jonathan Hirschi. Maxime Martin took the gamble of making his mandatory pit stop before any of his rivals, with Enjalbert and Rossi refueling one lap later.
Martin's decision proved to be a wise one, as Dimitri Enjalbert and Michaël Rossi rejoined the race behind him. Enjalbert immediately tried to find a way past the new leader, but the Belgian driver was having none of it.
Not all the drivers had refueled at this stage, foremost among them Jonathan Hirschi, who was stringing together fast laps at the front of the field. So although Martin and Enjalbert were lying in fifth and sixth place respectively with twenty minutes to go, they were effectively battling it out for the lead. There was little to choose between them. Their cars touched slightly as Enjalbert looked for an opening, but Martin held firm.
The two men reclaimed the lead when Hirschi stopped to refuel at the end of lap 12. Enjalbert seemed energized and slipped past Martin at the Dunlop chicane, but Maxime did not give up and remained close on Dimitri's tail.
Jonathan Hirschi was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, which rather cancelled out the excellent work he had put in earlier in the race and allowed Michaël Rossi to move up into third place, a long way adrift of Enjalbert and Martin.
Just a few minutes from the finish, Dimitri Enjalbert made a minor error which gave Maxime Martin the chance to make up some ground. Martin went for broke at the Dunlop chicane and span off, but still managed to finish the race in second position, with Rossi in third and Enjalbert picking up his first win of the season.
Dimitri Enjalbert: «The start was very difficult. I didn't want to take any risks as I didn't want to make the same mistake I made at the Nürburgring. The end of the race wasn't easy either. I'm not used to leading any more, and I made a few errors. It was hard work, but I'm happy to have got my first win of the season. It gives me a boost in the Championship."
Maxime Martin: «I finally had some luck today! When I span off with a few laps to go I thought my race might be over. I've made up some ground on Michaël Rossi in the Championship. It's going to go down to the wire."
Michaël Rossi: «I don't understand. I couldn't compete with Dimitri and Maxime, who have been much faster than me all weekend. I have to work out quickly why that is and put things right tomorrow.»
Pos Number Driver Team Laps Time GapFirst KPH
1 1 Dimitri ENJALBERT Tech 1 Racing 1 23 42:00.986 - 146.1 2 8 Maxime MARTIN Boutsen Energy Racing 23 42:08.265 +7.279 145.7 3 12 Michaël ROSSI TDS 23 42:12.437 +11.451 144.8 4 24 Fabrice WALFISCH Oregon Team 1 23 42:21.039 +20.053 144.8 5 2 Matthieu CHERUY Tech 1 Racing 1 23 42:27.904 +26.918 144.3 6 15 Sébastien DHOUAILLY Team Lompech Sport 23 42:28.376 +27.390 144.4 7 3 Jonathan HIRSCHI Tech 1 Racing 2 23 42:32.154 +31.168 145.4 8 9 David DERMONT Boutsen Energy Racing 23 43:00.235 +59.249 142.9 9 20 Wim BEELEN Equipe Verschuur 2 23 43:02.171 +1:01.185 142.9 10 21 Hoevert VOS Equipe Verschuur 2 23 43:13.465 +1:12.479 143.0 11 16 Jean - Charles MIGINIAC Team Lompech Sport 23 43:32.614 +1:31.628 140.7 12 6 Harrie KOLEN Equipe Verschuur 1 23 43:50.781 +1:49.795 139.9 13 17 Pierre HIRSCHI Team Lompech Sport 22 42:19.383 1 Lap 140.4 14 73 Angelo BAIGUERA Oregon Team 1 22 42:27.347 1 Lap 138.6 15 22 Marguerite LAFFITE Boutsen Energy Racing 22 42:29.182 1 Lap 140.7 16 4 Bernard DELHEZ Tech 1 Racing 2 22 42:48.941 1 Lap 141.1 17 18 Rafael UNZURRUNZAGA Blue Jumeirah Team 22 43:24.841 1 Lap 136.8 11 Andreas MAYERL Race Performance 15 28:31.135 142.2 25 Lorenzo BONTEMPELLI Oregon Team 1 13 25:57.975 142.3 7 Bernhard TEN BRINKE Equipe Verschuur 1 1 2:29.521 14 Jean - Philippe MADONIA TDS 0