The Ligier JS P217s and Ligier JS P3s score a double podium at Monza!

The second round of the European Le Mans Series took place at Monza on 10-12 May 2019 and 15 Ligiers were entered for the event: six Ligier JS P217s and 9 Ligier JS P3s.  What a race! The Ligiers scored a double podium. In LM P2, the #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 came home third after holding second place for a good part of the race. Its sister car, #22, finished just shy of the podium. The Ligier JS P3s clinched a triple in the LM P3 category with victory going to the #11 Eurointernational entry. Joining it on the podium were the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 and the #2 United Autosports JS P3. A good result on a track that is generally considered as unfavourable to the Ligiers.

Third and fourth places for the United Autosports Ligier JS P217s

The #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 driven by Ryan Cullen, Will Owen and Alex Brundle made a very good start to the race from ninth place on the grid. Cullen did the first stint and fought his way up to fourth before handing over to Owen. The latter, making his comeback to the team, mixed it at the front throughout his stint and set the second fastest lap of the LM P2s in the race. He was in second place when he handed over to Alex Brundle, the last of the trio to drive the Ligier. He fought off the attacks of the car in third place, but was unable to keep it behind and saw the flag in third spot. “The car was one of the quickest cars on track throughout the race”, explained Brundle. “This put me in a great position. It was then just a case of a fight for the podium positons. I thought we might be able to keep the Idec car behind but I got unlucky in traffic and lost the second place spot but then it was great to bring the car home for the team's first podium of this season.

Its sister car, #22, in the hands of Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque, started the race in eighth position. Hanson made a good start and moved up two places by lap 5. A slow refueling stop dropped him back to eighth. Little by little #22 clawed its way back to fourth place. With 1h10m to go to the chequered flag Albuquerque got in and held onto this position till the finish. “P4 actually is an incredible result with Monza not being the strongest track for us, commented Filipe Albuquerque. The team did a really good job”.

Lady Luck didn't smile on the #23 and #24 Ligier JS P217s entered by Panis-Barthez Compétition, which started the race in 11th and 12th places. #24 in the hands of Timothé Buret, Konstantin Tereschenko and Leonard Hoogenboom finished seventh followed by its stable mate driven by René Binder, Will Stevens and Julien Canal in ninth spot.

The #34 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P217 came home thirteenth and #27 run by Idec Sport, sixteenth.


Ligier JS P3 triple

The #11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3 driven by Mikkel Jensen and Jens Petersen started at the back of the grid as the team was unable to repair the car in time for qualifying after a crash in the second session of private testing. Jensen took the first stint. He sliced his way past his rivals and after an hour's racing the Ligier JS P3 was in second place. With under an hour to go to the finish the #11 Ligier JS P3 took the lead, which it held to the chequered flag finishing 23 seconds ahead of its nearest rival. It was the team's second podium of the season, which put them in the lead in the championship. “Great race starting from the back, said Jensen. We were on a mission from the very beginning and no mistakes were done. Now leading the championship. We will keep pushing!

The #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 of Martin Hippe and Nigel Moore which started in eighth place, was bottled in in the first corner and lost places falling back to thirteenth. “As always after the start in the chicanes you just have to be lucky and that depends on where you are, explained Hippe. And I wasn't really lucky this time so I lost a couple of places”. The team gradually worked its way back to the front and in the last hour it was lying fourth with Moore at the wheel taking the fight to the front-runners. With 26 minutes to go he snatched third. Then the #17 Norma spun promotied him to second. “We were a bit unlucky with both pit stops, and with the full course yellows, observed Moore. But I am happy with second place in the race and in the championship”. This second place has put the team in the same position in the championship general classification.

The #2 Ligier JS P3 entered by United Autosports for Wayne Boyd, Garett Grist and Tommy Erdos was sixth on the grid. Grist made a good getaway and was up into fourth place by lap 2. When he handed over to Boyd, he was seventh. The latter fought his way up to second and then it was Erdos' turn to do his stint. With 45 minutes to go the Brazilian pitted and rejoined in fourth spot.  Thanks to the Norma's spin he moved up to third where he stayed till the finish. “I'm thrilled to be part of a podium with United, smiled a delighted Tommy Erdos. That was our aim at Paul Ricard and we were so disappointed it didn't happen. We have such a good team!” The #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 is now fourth in the title chase.

The #6 Ligier JS P3 run by 360 Racing finished sixth and it sister car, #5, eighth. Into ninth place came the #14 Ligier JS P3 entered by Inter Europol Competition followed by the #3 United Autosports JS P3 in 10th.

The #8 Ligier JS P3 of Nielsen Racing and #15 run by RLR Msport both had to retire after a couple of big shunts.

Overall a great race for the Ligier JS P217s and Ligier JS P3s with a month to go to the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans! Rendezvous for the third round of the ELMS on 19-20 July in Barcelona.


Photo Credit : DPPI Images