The MT Racing Ligier JS2 Rs scored a double podium at Paul Ricard
7 September 2019: the fifth round of the Ligier JS Cup France took place on the Paul Ricard circuit and attracted a good field of 26 Ligier JS2 Rs. The Pegasus Racing team clinched its first pole position of the season. The race was the theatre of some great battles. The MT Racing team that had already scored three podium finishes bagged its first victory with the #48 Ligier JS2 R and third place with its sister car, #42. #29 entered by Pegasus Racing, which was delayed by a collision, saw the flag in second place after carving its way back up through the field.
On Saturday morning 7 September the Ligier JS2 Rs took to the track for a 1h30m qualifying session. Julien Schell and David Caussanel shared the wheel of #29 entered by Pegasus Racing. They were both quick and Schell set a blistering time right at the start of the session. “There was no free practice this time and we fine-tuned our setup during qualifying,” he said. “The car ran well straight away. Our rivals caught us during the session, but I managed to set the quickest time again on lap fifteen. My last pole on this circuit was ten years ago in V de V in a Ligier!” Alongside him on the front row was #7 entered by SKR Bage followed by MT Racing's #48 and SKR's #77.
The start of the 4-hour race was given at 12:45. It was a pretty hectic getaway. Pole sitter #29 was tagged in one of the corners and spun. “I thought that the race was over for us,” explained Schell. “I crawled back to the pit and had a pleasant surprise as damage was mainly restricted to the rear wheel. This car is bloody robust! We managed to change the wheel and check that everything was okay during one of the five minutes obligatory stops. Finally we lost only 1m10s, we rejoined and went pedal to the metal!”
The #48 MT Racing Ligier JS2 R driven by Yves Bandi and Grégory Guilvert soon took the lead. Milo Racing's #280 in the hands of the trio Pascal Amand, Julien Menard and Kevin Balthazar was flying and battled for first place with #48. The #48 Ligier JS2 R got back in front in the last five laps and took the chequered flag in first place. It was a great win for the duo and for the team that had been on the podium in the last three races. “Fastest lap in the race and a great victory with my friend, Yves Bandi, said Guilvert. The key to our win was that we'd set up the car so that it was very easy to drive. Bravo to the MT Racing team and roll on the next round at Ledenon to cement our performance.”
#29 run by Pegasus Racing finished on the second step of the podium after having picked off its rivals one after another. It overtook the second-placed car three corners from the finish! Into third came #42 entered by MT Racing with Dominique Lecru and Grégory Servais at the wheel. “What a scrap,” exclaimed Grégory Servais! “After a tricky qualifying session the MT Racing team prepared a fantastic car for the race. On a circuit that gives the mechanical components a bit of a hammering we were able to push 100% from start to finish without having the slightest issue with our Ligier. The team deserves all the credit for its work. Dominique and I did our best not to make any mistakes. A great podium has rewarded our efforts and it's helped us to close in on the leaders in the championship. Next stop Ledenon for the revenge where we hope to score a triple for MT Racing!”
#280 run by Milo Racing finished just behind in fourth place followed by #7 entered by SKR Bage.
While the on-track battle raged there were no retirements due to mechanical failure.
There are still two rounds to go: Ledenon on 27-28 September for a 3h30m race and Nogaro on 18-19 October for two 4-hour events. The gaps separating the leaders in the overall classification are tiny and everything is still possible. The #72 Zosh Dirob Ligier JS2 R is in first place with 457 points and only two points behind comes the MT Racing #42. The #10 Zosh Di Environnement JS2 R is just five points further back.
Rendezvous on 27-28 September at Ledenon!
To download the full results, consult www.ligierjscupfrance.com
Photo credit: Jérôme Contou