The second and final race of the season-opening meeting of the Ligier European Series, Saturday 17, April, in Barcelona. This weekend at the Catalan circuit concluded with another victory for the #53 M Racing driven by Natan Bihel in JS2 R. The #23 of HP Racing by MonzaGarage and drivers Jacopo Faccioni and Alessandro Cicognani were victorious in JS P4, which was a terrific surprise for the Italian duo, who just recently discovered the car!
After a difficult first race, the #23 HP Racing by MonzaGarage Ligier JS P4 got its revenge, but not without its share of surprises. Starting from pole position with Alessandro Cicognani behind the wheel, it was overtaken in the 23rd minute by the #33 and #34 of Les Deux Arbres, driven respectively by the duo Antoine Lepesqueux and Steve Zacchia, and by Jacques Nicolet. The #34 entry failed to respect the mandatory pit stop time, and driver Steve Zacchia was penalised with a stop and go to serve the remaining four seconds. This sanction allowed the #23 HP Racing by MonzaGarage car driven by Jacopo Faccioni to move up to second place behind the #33 Les Deux Arbres of Jacques Nicolet. Just as the race seemed to be a foregone conclusion, something unexpected happened on the Barcelona circuit. Race leader Jacques Nicolet, in the #33, spun out. While he quickly recovered, he lost the lead and the eventual win, which went to the JS P4 #23 of HP Racing by MonzaGarage.
The Ligier JS2 R category also had its share of drama. Natan Bihel started from pole position in the #53 M Racing JS2 R, and maintained a comfortable lead from his rivals, including the #24 Orhès Racing car of Olivier Pernaut and Mathieu Martins. Most of the action on the track took place further back in the field. And in particular between the #25, the second Orhès Racing car of the Alain Bucher and Arnaud Tsamere duo, and the #95 of CTF Performance, with Fabien Delaplace and Nicolas Beraud at the controls. The two gentlemen drivers battled relentlessly in the first half of the race, with Arnaud Tsamere vigorously defending his position in the face of repeated attacks from Fabien Delaplace. The same scenario was played out by the #17 Arctic Racing, driven by Povilas Jankavicius and Egidijus Gutaravicius, and the #4 Cool Racing, with Cédric Oltramare behind the wheel. Thanks to his determination, Cédric Oltramare managed to overtake Povilas Jankavicius on lap nine.
Roughly halfway through the race and after having passed the #25 of Orhès Racing, the #95 of CTF Performance attacked the #17 of Arctic Racing: mission accomplished with an outside passing move at turn one. Alain Bucher in the #25 Orhès Racing and Egidijus Gutaravicius in the #17 Arctic Energy were also in a close battle. Alain Bucher’s numerous attacks on board the #25 allowed him to reduce the gap until he managed to overtake Egidijus Gutaravicius in the #17 of Arctic Energy in the waning minutes of the race.
Natan Bihel in the #53 Ligier JS2 R won this second race of the day ahead of the #24 of Orhès Racing. Laurent Millara drove an error-free race in the #69 of M Racing to complete the top three. Cédric Oltramare and the #4 Cool Racing Ligier JS2 R finished just shy of the podium in fourth place. A promising result for the young Spanish driver who is just getting started in the series. He was followed by the #95 CTF Performance JS2 R, the #25 Orhès Racing and the#17 Arctic Energy entries.
Natan Bihel, M Racing, Ligier JS2 R #53, Winner in JS2 R Race 2: “This second victory was quite different. It was imperative that I build a gap to the #24 Orhès Racing JS2 R because Mathieu Martins is a stout competitor.”
Alessandro Cicognani, HP Racing by MonzaGarage, Ligier JS P4 #23, Winner in JS P4 Race 2: “This weekend was fantastic. The car is very nice to drive, and I am happy to find some old competitors here. I had not driven competitively in eight years, so it wasn’t easy to find my racing reflexes.”
Jacopo Faccioni, HP Racing by MonzaGarage, Ligier JS P4 #23, Winner in JS P4 Race 2:
“With Alessandro, this is our first race meeting with this car. We still have a lot of improvements to make. But this was somewhat unexpected, and we are very pleased. It is a very good and enjoyable car to drive.”
For the complete results of the race, CLICK HERE.