Rossi boosts title hopes - Estoril Race 2
The fight for the Eurocup Mégane Trophy title is set to go down to the wire! In Race 2 at Estoril, the battle between Maxime Martin (Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing) and Michaël Rossi (TDS) was fiercer than ever, with Rossi overtaking Martin and Martin coming back at him hard. Rossi's fourth win of the season means he will head to Barcelona with a lead of six points over Martin.
As was the case yesterday, Michaël Rossi started from pole with Maxime Martin alongside him. The two drivers were neck and neck as they headed into the opening bend, but Martin was better placed and came out of the bend ahead. There was contact between the two cars, which knocked Rossi slightly off course and allowed Dimitri Enjalbert to pass him.
At the end of the opening lap, then, Maxime Martin was leading from Dimitri Enjalbert, Michaël Rossi, Sébastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech) and Cesar Campaniço (Oregon Team), who had managed to move past his teammate Fabrice Walfisch (Oregon Team).
Maxime Martin drove aggressively early on but was not able to shake off Enjalbert and Rossi. Behind the front three, Dhouailly, Campaniço and Walfisch were locked in battle. The Portuguese driver made his experience of the track count, overtaking Dhouailly on lap three. Fabrice Walfisch followed suit shortly afterwards.
On lap 8, Dimitri Enjalbert headed for the pits, as did Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur). Maxime Martin and Michaël Rossi made their stop one lap later, rejoining the race just ahead of Enjalbert, who quickly slipped in between them. The pit stops thus saw no change in the race order, the front three still running nose-to-tail.
The change came when Michaël Rossi skillfully exploited a lapping manoeuvre to overtake Enjalbert. Enjalbert immediately attempted to reclaim second place, but Rossi resisted the pressure and then pulled away.
The end of the race was full of excitement and suspense, with Michaël Rossi closing the gap on Maxime Martin and looking for a way past.
Michaël Rossi knew the score. If he was to retain first place in the championship, he would have to take some risks. And so on lap 18, he made his move and overtook Martin. Martin immediately moved back ahead, but Rossi stayed with him and then launched an unstoppable assault.
The last two laps were tense. Martin threw everything at Rossi, but the leader did not yield, and Martin lost touch after his wheels locked under braking. Rossi thus took his fourth win of the season - his first since Budapest a result that could prove critical in the title race.
Michaël Rossi: «I didn't get a good start, but the car wasn't really running well at the beginning of the race. After the refueling stop, it was better. I took some risks. I had to win. I need to stay focused till the end. Barcelona will be a difficult meeting.»
Maxime Martin: «I got a good start. The team did a good job of the refueling stop, but Michaël took advantage in the second part of the race. Six points is nothing. Anything is possible at Barcelona, which is a circuit I like.»
Dimitri Enjalbert: «I couldn't compete with Michaël and Maxime today. I can't finish first or second in the championship now, so I'll be heading to Barcelona to try and finish my season with a win.»
Pos Number Driver Team Laps Time GapFirst KPH
1 12 Michaël ROSSI TDS 24 42:49.444 - 144.0 2 8 Maxime MARTIN Boutsen Energy Racing 24 42:51.035 +1.591 144.0 3 1 Dimitri ENJALBERT Tech 1 Racing 1 24 42:52.707 +3.263 144.2 4 25 Cesar CAMPANIÇO Oregon Team 1 24 42:59.451 +10.007 144.0 5 15 Sébastien DHOUAILLY Team Lompech Sport 24 43:01.245 +11.801 143.2 6 2 Matthieu CHERUY Tech 1 Racing 1 24 43:02.303 +12.859 143.4 7 3 Jonathan HIRSCHI Tech 1 Racing 2 24 43:11.391 +21.947 142.6 8 24 Fabrice WALFISCH Oregon Team 1 24 43:11.482 +22.038 143.7 9 21 Hoevert VOS Equipe Verschuur 2 24 43:29.218 +39.774 142.0 10 7 Bernhard TEN BRINKE Equipe Verschuur 1 24 43:31.365 +41.921 142.1 11 9 David DERMONT Boutsen Energy Racing 24 43:32.493 +43.049 141.9 12 14 Jean - Philippe MADONIA TDS 24 43:43.889 +54.445 142.5 13 11 Andreas MAYERL Race Performance 24 44:04.946 +1:15.502 141.9 14 6 Harrie KOLEN Equipe Verschuur 1 24 44:06.123 +1:16.679 141.8 15 4 Bernard DELHEZ Tech 1 Racing 2 24 44:08.043 +1:18.599 141.5 16 16 Jean - Charles MIGINIAC Team Lompech Sport 24 44:11.294 +1:21.850 140.5 17 73 Angelo BAIGUERA Oregon Team 1 23 42:56.079 1 Lap 139.8 18 17 Pierre HIRSCHI Team Lompech Sport 22 40:57.620 2 Laps 141.2 19 18 Rafael UNZURRUNZAGA Blue Jumeirah Team 22 42:55.333 2 Laps 136.0 20 Wim BEELEN Equipe Verschuur 2 2 4:53.734