Pit stops prove crucial - Estoril Race 1
Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) continued his recent run of form yesterday, picking up his sixth win of the season ahead of Dimitri Enjalbert (Tech 1 Racing) and Michaël Rossi (TDS). Rossi still leads the Eurocup Mégane Trophy standings, but Martin is now only three points behind him.
Michaël Rossi got off to a flying start, with Maxime Martin second and Fabrice Walfisch (Oregon Team) third having overtaken Dimitri Enjalbert at the start. Enjalbert immediately tried to get back ahead of Walfisch, however, and succeeded on the start/finish straight on lap 3.
Dimitri Enjalbert then pushed hard to make up ground on the leaders, who were locked in battle ahead of him, with Michaël Rossi coming under unrelenting pressure from Maxime Martin. There is clearly very little to choose between the Eurocup Mégane Trophy's top two. In a bid to take control of his destiny, Michaël Rossi opted to make his pit stop early, on lap 7.
Maxime Martin stopped two laps later and rejoined the race in front of Rossi. Enjalbert waited longer still, finally heading to the pits on lap 12. He came out behind Martin and Rossi.
Martin quickly opened up an unassailable lead, storming to his sixth race win of the season. Rossi, meanwhile, was doing his best to hold off Enjalbert. The appearance of the safety car with a quarter of an hour to go, after Rafaël Unzurrunzaga (Blue Jumeirah Team) crashed off, changed the situation somewhat.
At the restart, Maxime Martin held his lead and Dimitri Enjalbert overtook Rossi on the bend. Fourth-placed Fabrice Walfisch also attempted to find a way past, but the two men's cars collided and Sébastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech Sport) was briefly gifted third position, before Rossi reclaimed it from him.
And that was how things would finish, with Maxime Martin winning it, Dimitri Enjalbert second and Michaël Rossi third. The battle for fifth place went right down to the wire. In the end it was Jonathan Hirschi (Tech 1 Racing) who came out on top, ahead of Fabrice Walfisch and Cesar Campaniço (Oregon Team).
This sixth victory puts Maxime Martin just three points behind Michaël Rossi in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy overall standings. Dimitri Enjalbert's second place, meanwhile, consolidates his third position.
Maxime Martin: «This win is very important. It was the pit stop that turned it. My team was really quick and I came out ahead. From then on I just had to play it safe until the end of the race. I'll have to do the same tomorrow. It's all going to come down to Barcelona.»
Dimitri Enjalbert: «I knew before the race that we had a good car. I can't win the championship anymore, so I'm just looking for race wins now. I could have won today but I lost time refueling. I like driving here and my goal is to win tomorrow.»
Michaël Rossi: «I wasn't able to open up a lead at the start. Then I had a problem with my speed limiter in the pits. It was stuck at 48kph when it's supposed to be set to 57kph! Obviously I'm disappointed with this result. Now I have to focus on tomorrow's race. I have to win.»
Pos Number Driver Team Laps Time GapFirst KPH
1 8 Maxime MARTIN Boutsen Energy Racing 23 42:53.701 - 143.9 2 1 Dimitri ENJALBERT Tech 1 Racing 1 23 42:54.055 +0.354 144.0 3 12 Michaël ROSSI TDS 23 42:55.190 +1.489 143.7 4 15 Sébastien DHOUAILLY Team Lompech Sport 23 43:02.069 +8.368 142.9 5 3 Jonathan HIRSCHI Tech 1 Racing 2 23 43:05.627 +11.926 142.8 6 24 Fabrice WALFISCH Oregon Team 1 23 43:05.836 +12.135 143.4 7 25 Cesar CAMPANIÇO Oregon Team 1 23 43:06.378 +12.677 143.4 8 14 Jean - Philippe MADONIA TDS 23 43:07.630 +13.929 142.8 9 11 Andreas MAYERL Race Performance 23 43:10.160 +16.459 142.1 10 9 David DERMONT Boutsen Energy Racing 23 43:15.903 +22.202 140.7 11 7 Bernhard TEN BRINKE Equipe Verschuur 1 23 43:18.583 +24.882 142.6 12 2 Matthieu CHERUY Tech 1 Racing 1 23 43:21.211 +27.510 142.9 13 6 Harrie KOLEN Equipe Verschuur 1 23 43:28.448 +34.747 139.1 14 73 Angelo BAIGUERA Oregon Team 1 23 43:29.057 +35.356 139.1 15 4 Bernard DELHEZ Tech 1 Racing 2 21 44:43.956 2 Laps 141.3 16 17 Pierre HIRSCHI Team Lompech Sport 20 38:00.039 3 Laps 140.7 16 Jean - Charles MIGINIAC Team Lompech Sport 19 38:30.590 141.3 18 Rafael UNZURRUNZAGA Blue Jumeirah Team 16 31:47.808 137.7 21 Hoevert VOS Equipe Verschuur 2 11 22:27.076 141.1 20 Wim BEELEN Equipe Verschuur 2 9 18:15.519 141.4