Ligier JS P4: Gillian Henrion and Team Virage see double!
Top start of the second race at 3:15 p.m. The #16 Ligier JS P4 of Team Virage (Gillian Henrion) is closely followed by the #3 of LR Motorsport (Simone Riccitelli and Nicola Neri). An intimidation that does not flinch the young French driver, who continues his momentum. Quickly, the #3 had to focus on another sport-prototype: the #53 of M Racing with Natan Bihel at the controls, determined to steal second place. A few minutes later, the #23 of Monza Garage (Ronnie Valori and George King) joined the battle. But time had its effect, and at the start of the mandatory pit stops, the #16 was five seconds ahead of the #3, which itself was fifteen seconds ahead of the #53.
Change in the classification, in the second part of the race. The #3 Ligier JS P4 prances in the lead, more than five seconds ahead of the #16. Behind, the #23 of Monza Garage is threatened by the #53 of M Racing. While the #16 regains its place as leader, the #53 overtakes the #23 and steals third place from it. But twenty minutes before the end of the race, a Ligier JS2 R is immobilized on the track, causing the exit of the yellow flag and the safety car on the track. The peloton is closing in and the threat hangs over the #16 of Team Virage, which sees its lead melt away like snow in the sun.
But to the team’s greatest relief, Gillian Henrion brilliantly pulled off a restart. And behind, it’s a game of musical chairs: the #53 trades its third place against the second, occupied by the #3 of LR Motorsport. Then it was the turn of the #23 to attack the #3, which then found itself fourth. But the best comeback of the race went to the #17 of Pegasus Racing (Dimitri Enjalbert and Anthony Nahra). From the back of the grid, she progresses like an arrow, dares to overtake delicately and takes third place.
” We implemented several strategies in Race 1, pointed out Gillian Henrion. We started with low pressure and took a little longer to get good. We then recovered all our speed and we went on to overtake. We lost some time during the pit stop and then had to fight with three drivers to move up the standings. It was a great race. Probably the toughest race of my career. During race 2 we kept the first position until the pit stop. We came out in second position and we went back to battle. We are very proud of our performance. »
It’s another double victory for Team Virage’s #16 Ligier JS P4, which leaves Imola with the best time in the race in 1:47.240. The M Racing #53 finished second in the race for the second time today, while the #17 took its first podium of the season.
Ligier JS2 R: First double victory for Haytham Qarajouli and RLR MSport (#75)
In the Ligier JS2 R category, the #75 of RLR MSport went far ahead without worrying about the other GTs. But for second place, it’s a war between the #40 of RLR MSport (Horst Felix Felbermayr), the #4 of COOL Racing (Cédric Oltramare) and the #69 of M Racing (Laurent Millara). The three Ligier JS2 R are quickly joined by the #22 of Smart Driving (Marian Oancea and Radu Dumitrescu), which is also on the lookout. Eventually, the #4 had the last word over its rivals and moved into second place, while the #40 and #69 continued their battle for third place. The two GTs play a game of cat and mouse, but the #40 resists.
With a lap ahead of its rivals, the #75 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R maintained its dominance, including after the mandatory pit stops. Behind, it’s a new confrontation between #4 and #69. Cédric Oltramare takes over, but bad luck hits him a few minutes later. A breakage on his GT forces him to stop on the track and abandon the race. The #69 regained second place, with the #96 of CTF Performance behind it (Fabien Delaplace and Laurent Piguet).
With three minutes remaining on the clock, the #69 and #96 Ligier JS2 Rs were jostling, while the #75 took advantage of its comfortable ten-second lead. It was ultimately the CTF Performance car that won and escaped ahead. Haytham Qarajouli (Ligier JS2 R #75) gets his first double win of the season at Imola. Promising results for the driver from Kuwait. The #96 delivers a good performance by finishing second, ahead of Laurent Millara’s #69. The fastest lap in the race is awarded to the #29 of Pegasus Racing and David Caussanel (1:53.793).$
” The first race went well until the arrival of the safety car which disrupted our strategy as a Silver driver, told after the arrival Haytham Qarajouli. Our objective for the first stint was to create the biggest gap possible, but the safety car destroyed all my efforts. After the pit stop I had to go as fast as possible. And I managed to regain the lead. It’s my first double win of the season. I am very happy. I couldn’t ask for more than two wins and two pole positions! »
See you from June 8th on the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans track for an exceptional round organized at the same time as the WEC round and Road To Le Mans. 50 cars are expected for the Le Mans Heatwhich will no doubt be memorable.
All the results of the Ligier European Series can be found HERE.