Barcelona Collective testing
Twenty-one drivers were put through their paces over two days at the Barcelona circuit behind the wheel of New Mégane Trophy for the first collective testing sessions of the season. Dimitri Ejalbert (Boutsen Energy Racing) gave the best performance, ahead of Jonathan Hirschi (TDS Racing), improving the lap record for Eurocup Mégane Trophy on this track.
Apart from Tech 1 Racing, TDS Racing and Team Lompech Sport, all of which have already tried out their new cars, the other teams were taking their first steps in New Mégane Trophy at Barcelona.
On Thursday, it was Jonathan Hirschi who set the tempo. The Swiss driver climbed to the top of the leader board and, lap after lap, improved his times. He was nevertheless being threatened by a returnee to the discipline: Mike Verschuur (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur). For a few minutes, the Dutchman took control. However, Jonathan Hirshci reclaimed his advantage. With a lap of 1'51"914, he set the best time of the morning, very close to the record set by Michaël Rossi with a car at the limit of its development in 2008 (1'51"910). It appears New Mégane Trophy has huge potential.
During a hot afternoon, the grip on track was less kind to improving lap-times. Wim Beelen and Bernhard Ten Brinke (Equipe Verschuur) were the most tenacious on track and took control of the session. The end of the day was led by the Tech 1 Racing drivers. Matthieu Cheruy, then Anthony Tardieu (Tech 1 Racing) took turns to put themselves in front. A newcomer to the discipline, Tardieu managed to hold the best time of the afternoon, but he was still unable to equal the time set be Hirschi.
Friday was Enjalberts day. For his return to Boutsen Energy Racing, the team whose colours he had previously defended in Renault Clio Cup Elf, the Frenchman was stepping up the pace. He finished the morning with a brilliant time of 1'51"345. The competition was only just getting to grips with New Mégane Trophy and already the record for the discipline lay in pieces.
At the start of the afternoon, the drivers and teams took the opportunity to study the range of settings for New Mégan Trophy while practicing simulated refueling stops. Fabrice Walfisch (Team Lompech Sport) took charge for the greater part if the session, but Jonathan Hirschi finally gained the upper hand.
The best performance of the two days of collective testing remained the property of Dimitri Enjalbert. The Frenchman leads Jonathan Hirschi, Mike Verschuur and Bernhard Ten Brinke. The next stage begins on April 1st at the Paul Ricard HTTT with two days of collective testing.
Dimitri Enjalbert, "My goal is simple: to claim the title. I'm happy coming back to Boutsen Energy Racing. The atmosphere is perfect and it's ideal to start things off with the fastest lap. The extra thirty horsepower really make a difference and the car is livelier through the bends. I can't wait to see the first start grid with all those gull-wing doors open. It'll be awesome!"
Mike Verschuur: "I'm really happy returning to Eurocup Mégane Trophy. The races are always hard-fought and very close. This season there's a lot of us dreaming of the title and in particular, a lot of young drivers. The basic car is the same, so I was able to get straight down to business. We still have work to do, but I'm feeling confident."