Renault Megane TROPHY Zolder Race 1- Van Lagen's the boss
Renault Megane TROPHY Zolder Race 1- Van Lagen's the boss
Jaap Van Lagen will tell anyone who is prepared to listen: he loves the Mégane Trophy. And he loves it even more now, after winning the first race of the season! The Verschuur team driver finished ahead of Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Epsilon Euskadi) and Ludovic Badey (TDS). Fourth overall, Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) took the win in the Junior category.
Rain made its first appearance of the weekend as the cars completed the formation lap. Van Lagen started from the front row, alongside Badey. These two were followed by Dayraut and Lahaye, then Ferrara and Kirkpatrick.
The first corner saw a very intense scrap for places, with several cars ending up in the gravel trap, including James Kirkpatrick (Epsilon Euskadi), Pedro Petiz (Iris Racing) and Jeroen Reijntens (Equipe Verschuur), who were all forced to retire. Jean-Philippe Dayraut came away in the lead, ahead of Jaap Van Lagen, Luigi Ferrara, Ludovic Badey, Matthieu Lahaye and Ralf Meichtry.
The safety car was brought out at the end of the first lap. It went off the track again after five laps, by which time the rain had stopped. Van Lagen immediately moved into Dayraut's slipstream and made his first attempts to pass. Ludovic Badey was the only driver able to keep pace with the two leaders. Van Lagen spotted and took his chance to pass on lap 7, which also saw the retirement of César Campaniço (Racing for Belgium). The Portuguese driver went off after a committing a costly error while trying to get past Sébastien Dhouailly (Team Lompech), who held onto eighth place.
Badey then closed the gap to Dayraut. A few lengths back, Luigi Ferrara and Matthieu Lahaye were fighting it out for supremacy in the Junior championship. A little further back still, Ralf Meichtry was holding off the attentions of Renaud Kuppens. Fighting was fierce in all sections of the field!
Lahaye managed to overtake Ferrara in the end, taking 4th place on lap 10. At the front, the gaps widened between Van Lagen, Dayraut and Badey. Jaap Van Lagen thus won the first race of the season in front of the two Frenchmen.
In the Junior category, Lahaye took the win ahead of Ferrara and Dhouailly.
Jaap Van Lagen: «I'm really pleased to have built on my pole position and took the win. I got off to a good start, but the car was under-steering and so Jean-Philippe got past me. But then I was able to sit in behind him, before making my move. And as I set the fastest lap, I will also be on pole position tomorrow. It's great.»
Jean-Philippe Dayraut: «The Epsilon Euskadi team has done a great job since we started working together a month ago. I knew it would be difficult here, so I'm entirely satisfied with second place. And I determined to do better tomorrow!»
Ludovic Badey: «Let's not forget that TDS is a brand new team. So, finishing on the podium in our first race is a superb result. We have made good progress on the setup since yesterday. As our aim is to win the Eurocup, it's pleasing to score serious points right from the start.»
Qui succédera à Jan Heylen, premier vainqueur de l’Eurocup Mégane Trophy ? Un redoublant, comme Ludovic Badey, César Campaniço, Frédéric Gabillon ou Renaud Kuppens ? Un nouveau venu, comme Jaap Van Lagen, Jean-Philippe Dayraut, Justin Keen ou Luigi Ferrara ? Difficile de faire un pronostic… et c’est tant mieux !
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