Victory for the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 at the 4 Hours of Fuji
7-9 December 2018: Fuji, Japan, for the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series. At the start, seven Ligier JS P2 and eight Ligier JS P3 to compete in a thrilling race. The #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 finished first and the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 won the LM P2 Am category. In the LM P3 category, the #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 snatched the first place.
The #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 emerged quickest in LM P2 with Phil Hanson behind the wheel. At his side on the front row, the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 driven by Andrea Pizzitola. In the LM P2 Am category, the #23 Ligier JS P2 of United Autosports, which won the first round in this category, set the fastest time with Guy Cosmo. Nigel Moore driving the #65 Ligier JS P3 of Viper Niza Racing secured the pole in the LM P3 category.
The race started under some snowflakes. Harrison Newey took the lead into the first corner behind the wheel of the Algarve Pro Racing #24 Ligier JS P2. The battle is on! The #24 Ligier JS P2 with Andrea Pizzitola and Harrison Newey and the #22 Ligier JS P2 of United Autosports with Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson fought a fierce battle to the checkered flag.
The #4 Ligier JS P2 of ARC Bratislava driven by Miro Konopka, Ling Kang and Darren Burke spun out early on and restarted at the end of the pack.
After 50 minutes of racing, rain came down. Some teams opted to stay out on slicks while others decided to change for rain tyres. After the first pit stops, the #22 Ligier JS P2 of United Autsoports took the lead over the #24 Ligier JS P2 of Algarve Pro Racing but battle for victory continued until the end between the two cars. The #35 Ligier JS P2 of Panis Barthez Compétition was third with Mathieu Lahaye and François Hériau, followed by the #65 Ligier JS P3 of Viper Niza Racing driven by Douglas Khoo and Nigel Moore leading the LM P3 category.
After two hours of racing, the battle was still fierce on the drying track. Côme Ledogar, behind the wheel of the #8 Ligier JS P2 of Spirit of Race on slick tires, was very fast. On course for the run to the flag, teams returned to slicks.
After three hours of racing, the Algarve Pro Racing #24 Ligier JS P2 was still in the lead, followed by the United Autosports #22 and #23 Ligier JS P2s, Panis Barthez Compétition #35 Ligier JS P2, ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 and Spirit of Race #8 Ligier JS P2. In the LM P3, United Autosports #3 Ligier JS P3 driven by Kay van Berlo, Matthew Bell and Christian England took the lead over Inter Europol Competition #13 Ligier JS P3 driven by Martin Hippe and Jakub Smiechowski.
With thirty minutes to go, Eurasia Motorsport #36 Ligier JS P3 lost a wheel and was forced to retire. At the restart, after a safety car period, the Algarve Pro Racing #24 JS P2 Ligier with Andrea Pizzitola behind the wheel was just in front of Paul Di Resta in the United Autosports #22 Ligier JS P2 and the battle intensified. The #4 Ligier JS P2 of ARC Bratislava and the #35 Ligier JS P2 of Panis Barthez Compétition were competing for third place. Meanwhile in the LM P3, the Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 #13 had the #3 United Autorsports Ligier JS P3 right on its tail.
Andrea Pizzitola crossed the finish line in first place behind the wheel of the Algarve Pro Racing #24 Ligier JS P2, ahead of the United Autosports and Paul di Resta Ligier JS P2 #22. In third place, the #4 Ligier JS P2 of ARC Bratislava that won the LM P2 Am category after a very good race.
In the end, it was United Autosports #3 Ligier JS P3 that took the victory by just 3.5 seconds ahead of Inter Europol Competition #13 Ligier JS P3. In third place was the #79 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing of Antony Wells and Colin Noble.
See you for the third round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Buriram, Thailand on 12 January 2019.
Photo Credit : DPPI Images