Eurocup Mégane Trophy - Monza - Race 1
A Tech 1 one-two as Heylen takes the title!
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Mégane Trophy race was action-packed. Here at Monza, where it's all about speed and slipstream driving, the Eurocup drivers held nothing back. And it was the Tech 1 Racing team who came out of the frenzy with most success, as Simon Abadie and Matthieu Lahaye completed a team one-two! In spite of not scoring any points, Jan Heylen (Racing for Belgium) has already secured the title.
Marc Benz was left behind on the start grid by the two Tech 1 drivers, who moved ahead. Simon Abadie went into the first chicane in the lead, in front of Matthieu Lahaye. Behind these two, it's a bit of a shambles. Jan Heylen span at the first chicane, but was able to rejoin the field. The first lap also caught out Angel Burgueño and Jeroen Reijntjens.
Behind the two leaders, Pedro Petiz finished the first lap in third position. He was followed by Jeffrey Van Hooydonk, Mike Parisy and Luis Miguel Reyes. It wasn't long before Van Hooydonk got past Petiz.
At the front, the two Tech 1 cars produced great excitement for the fans by overtaking each other on several occasions. But this didn't prevent the teammates from putting daylight between them and Van Hooydonk, alone in third. A few lengths back, Reyes gave Juniors Petiz and Parisy a lesson in racing by taking 4th place. It wasn't long before Marc Benz joined by other drivers moved up to fight it out with this rather agitated group. The Swiss driver closed up on Reyes and then confidently overtook him! Pedro Petiz's over-aggressive driving was reprimanded when Stewards handed him a drive through' penalty.
The inevitable then happened a pile-up involving several cars. Frédéric Gabillon, Mike Parisy and Nicola Gianniberti races were over right there. The safety car was brought out, allowing everyone to take a breather and review the race standings after five laps: Abadie was leading, ahead of Lahaye, Van Hooydonk, Benz, Campaniço, Badey, Dhouailly, Ten Brinke, Derlot and Cheruy.
The race got underway again for only one more lap. With apparent ease, the two Tech 1 Racing cars went straight back into battle. Team leader Simon Abadie refused to give an inch to Matthieu Lahaye, while Van Hooydonk was right on Lahaye's bumper! But the race order remained unchanged at the finish.
The final race order did change after the race, however, since Badey, Petiz and Heylen all picked up a 30-second penalty for their in-race behaviour. Marc Benz held onto 4th place in front of César Campaniço.
Bernhard Ten Brinke's sixth place, ahead of Renaud Derlot, was his best result of the season. Junior drivers Sébastien Dhouailly and Mathieu Cheruy rounded off the top 10 list.
Derlot's points were not enough to keep up the suspense for any longer: Jan Heylen cannot be caught and thus becomes the first ever winner of the Eurocup Mégane Trophy.
Simon Abadie: «This is our first win and it's a one-two. I didn't get off to a great start and the race was difficult. It's not easy to stop other drivers from taking a ride in your slipstream, but Matthieu is a good teammate and I knew he wouldn't attempt the impossible.»
Matthieu Lahaye: «I am very pleased for the guys in the team, who have worked hard throughout the season. We have been waiting to get on the podium for a long time. The safety car coming out didn't make things easy, because Jeffrey was able to close right up behind me.»
Jeffrey Van Hooydonk: «It was a good way to finish the season. The car is fine. I qualified well and then followed that up with a good race. The safety car came out at the wrong time because I was catching up on the leaders. I start on pole tomorrow, so I hope to be even higher on the podium!»
More releases from MonzaPresentation - Heylen eight points shy of title joy
Qualifying - A second pole for Marc and Jeffrey
Race 1 - A Tech 1 one-two as Heylen takes the title!
Race 2 - Van Hooydonk closes out the season in style
Classifications from MonzaQualifying 1