Ultimate Cup Series: Victory for the Graff Racing Ligier JS P320
29th April - 1st May 2022 – After the European Le Mans Series, the Michelin Le Mans Cup and the Ligier European Series, the Le Castellet circuit hosted the opening round of the Ultimate Cup Series this weekend! The #16 Graff Racing Ligier JS P320 scored the first victory of the 2022 season as well as setting the fastest lap of the race. #69 entered by M Racing finished second followed in third by #23 run by Pegasus Racing.
Friday 29th April. The weekend kicked off with three qualifying sessions. The #23 Pegasus Racing Ligier JS P320 (Julien Schell and Thibaut Ehrhart) topped the time sheets with a lap in 1:59.095s in the first session. #16 entered by Graff Racing (Umberto D'Amato, Luis Sanjuan and Lucca Allen) emerged fastest in sessions 2 and 3 in 1:58.149s and 1:56.967s respectively. Taking into account the accumulated times of the three sessions #16 clinched pole position. Into second and third came #23 (Pegasus Racing) and #69 (M Racing, Yvan Muller and Laurent Millara).
The first race of the season started at 20:00 on Saturday evening. The #69 M Racing Ligier JS P320 hit the front right from the get-go and led for 27 laps. Pegasus Racing's #23 held on to second place, while #16 was relegated to third. At the end of the first hour the sky blue Pegasus Racing Ligier JS P320 was in front followed by the Graff Racing prototype a lap later.
At half-distance, the #69 Ligier JS P320 began to push again and retook the lead. #16 and then #23 both held first place briefly, but #69 was always able to get back in front so its rivals were relegated to second and third places.
But the drivers in the Graff Racing Ligier JS P320 had other ideas. Ten laps before the chequered flag fell, they put on a final charge and snatched the lead from #69 and pipped their rival for victory as well as setting the fastest lap in the race in 1:57.524s. #69 crossed the finishing line in second place followed by Pegasus Racing's #23, which completed the top 3 on the podium.
“This being my LMP3 debut, I couldn't be happier. This race for me was all about learning how the car functions and understanding the potential of this car. And I must say that I was quite astonished at the amount of power and the wonderful work of aerodynamics that piece together such a fun car. I managed to get acquainted with the car, which was the objective for this weekend, and I am now working on being more comfortable when pushing the car to the limits throughout the entirety of the race, in a more consistent way,” said Umberto d'Amato.
The next round of the Ultimate Cup will take place on 27 – 29 May on the Navarra circuit in Spain.
For the full results, CLICK HERE.
Photo credit: Davy & Daniel Delien