Le Mans Cup: A one-two finish at Spa for the Ligier JS P320 with COOL Racing
18 September 2021 – The Michelin Le Mans Cup returned to the track this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Following the pole position of the #5 Phoenix Racing Ligier JS P320, the French constructor's LMP3 car completed a one-two finish with the #37 and #69 COOL Racing cars. The #69 Ligier JS P320 also set the fastest lap in the race.
The Ligier JS P320s competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup were in action at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend in the fifth and penultimate round of 2021.
At midday on Saturday, the #5 Phoenix Racing Ligier JS P320 driven by Finn Gehrsitz (and Hamza Owega) secured its second pole position of the season with the fastest lap of 2:13.704s.
The race started late in the day, following a short delay. While the #5 Phoenix Racing Ligier JS P320 battled for the lead, the #37 COOL Racing car with Antoine Doquin and Josh Skelton at the wheel took advantage of a breakaway to take the lead on lap one at Eau Rouge.
After the opening hour, it had a more than 34-second lead. The #5 was fourth, followed by the #69 COOL Racing car, with the crew of Matt Bell and Maurice Smith, less than 0.04s behind. The first round of pit stops began after the first Full Course Yellow. After contact at the beginning of the race, the #32 of United Autosports driven by Daniel Schneider and Andrew Meyrick was the victim of another collision. Stuck in the gravel, it triggered the second Full Course Yellow of the race. Unfortunately for the team, the #32 car retired.
After passing several competitors, including the #5 Phoenix Racing Ligier JS P320, the #69 COOL Racing entry closed in on its rival in second place. Shortly before the 90-minute mark of the race, the #16 Team Virage car driven by Sacha Lehmann and Matthias Lüthen suffered a mechanical problem that forced it to pit and retire. The #37 COOL Racing Ligier JS P320 continued to extend its lead. It received the chequered flag with a 34-second margin of victory. Its sister car, the #69 moved up to second place with 20-minutes remaining and crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of the #11.
The #37 and #69 Ligier JS P320 offered COOL Racing its first win and first one-two of the season, which was long overdue for the team that had claimed the first two pole positions of the season in the #37 Ligier JS P320 without converting them into wins. Matt Bell, driving the #69, also clocked the fastest lap of the race in 2:14.633s.
The #5 Phoenix Racing Ligier JS P320 finished fourth, while the championship leader, the #7 Nielsen Racing car with Anthony Wells and Colin Noble, came home in fifth place. On 73 points, it continues to dominate the general classification. But the final race of the championship, on 24 October in Portimao, will be decisive for the British team.
To view the race results, CLICK HERE.
Photo credit: DPPI Images