Press Release – May 7, 2021
Season two of the Ligier European Series kicked off at the Barcelona circuit in Spain just over a month ago, on 16 and 17 April. Now it’s time for the competitors to prepare for heat two at the green Red Bull Ring in Austria. This weekend will be a first for the series and an opportunity for the teams and drivers to confirm or reverse the initial trends established in Catalonia. Will anyone challenge Natan Bihel and the #53 M Racing entry in the Ligier JS2 R category? Look out for Cool Racing, which has entered another Ligier JS2 R alongside their #4 car for this round, and French motor racing commentator, Julien Fébreau, in the #25 Orhès Racing car. Will the battle continue between the Italian team HP Racing by Monza Garage and the French Les Deux Arbres squad in the Ligier JS P4 division? The show promises to be exciting.
Ligier JS2 R: M Racing and Orhès Racing in close combat
Natan Bihel has started the season on a high note by winning the first two races in Spain at the wheel of the #53 M Racing Ligier JS2 R. Will this weekend be synonymous with another success for the young Frenchman? The task will not be easy. Several drivers are lying in wait to flip the script in Austria. One such crew is Mathieu Martins and Olivier Pernaut, drivers of the #24 Orhès Racing JS2 R that claimed a pole position and two podiums in Barcelona. Will Ligier European Series newcomers Orhès Racing score their first victory at Spielberg?
Laurent Millara is another driver to keep an eye on. The gentleman driver in the #69 M Racing Ligier JS2 R, has two podiums to his credit and is second in the provisional general classification, tied with the #24 Orhès Racing.
While the battle raged between these three crews at the first meeting, other teams could very well create a surprise. CTF Performance, which made its debut in the series in Spain with Fabien Delaplace and Nicolas Beraud at the controls of the #95, have their sights sets on a podium result, after a fine fourth place in the opening race in Catalunya. In the #4 Cool Racing car, teenage driver Cédric Oltramare, who was new to the Ligier JS2 R and, who finished fourth in the second race, could also steal the limelight from the favourites.
And Cool Racing does not intend to stop there. The Swiss team will be bringing in reinforcements in the form of one additional Ligier JS2 R for this round: the #13 with the American gentleman driver Maurice Smith at the wheel, an LMP3 regular who finished fifth in the Michelin Le Mans Cup in 2020.
Sergey Egorov wasn’t able to participate in the first round of the year, but he will be back in the #17 Arctic Energy Ligier JS2 R with Egidijus Gutaravicius.
This weekend, Alain Bucher will team with French Formula 1 commentator Julien Fébreau in the #25 Orhès Racing Ligier JS2 R. Julien has been the official Formula 1 commentator on Canal Plus, the Formula 1 exclusive broadcaster in France, since 2013 and has been thrilling French viewers with his pertinent and fiery commentary. This rallycross specialist has collected several victories, including two straight at Pont de Ruan and third place in the Canadian round of the FIA Rallycross Championship at Trois-Rivières in 2014. A fan of all thing’s motorsport, he has also tried his hand at drifting and has shown very well in several Andros Trophy events. Even though this will be his first outing in the Ligier JS2 R in competition at Heat 2, he will undoubtedly be a serious contender for the podium.
“I am thrilled to be able to drive again,” says Julien. “Like many people, I have not driven a lot lately. I look forward to getting in the Ligier JS2 R at this second round of the Ligier European Series. Especially on the Red Bull Ring, which is probably one of the most beautiful Formula 1 venues!”
Ligier JS P4: Who will take the upper hand?
In the Ligier JS P4 category, the battle promises to be close between Les Deux Arbres and HP Racing by MonzaGarage. The French team and its Italian rival shared the spoils in Barcelona. The two drivers of the #23 HP Racing Team by MonzaGarage entry, Alessandro Cicognani and Jacopo Faccioni, will face again Jacques Nicolet in the #33 Les Deux Arbres car.
The Italian drivers in the #23 car are currently tied for the championship lead with the #34, the second Les Deux Arbres Car. #34 will feature French driver Patrice Lafargue, who will make his debut both in the series and in a Ligier JS P4. A veteran of the LMP2 and LMP3 sport-prototypes, Patrice could well give them a run for their money.
The Red Bull Ring Heat will kick off on Friday 14 May at 9:40 am with a one hour and thirty minutes free practice session. The two 15-minute qualifying sessions which will determine the starting grid of each race are set in the afternoon at 2:40 and 3:05 pm. The weekend will culminate with two one-hour races on Saturday morning at 11:50 am and Saturday afternoon at 4 pm.
The series’ website, Facebook page and YouTube channel will air both races live with commentaries both in French and English.
CLICK HERE for the Red Bull Ring Heat provisional entry list
CLICK HERE for the Red Bull Ring Heat schedule
Photo Credit: DPPI Images