Monza Heat, Race 2: Home victory for HP Racing by Monza Garage, and another success for Orhès Racing

10 July 2021 – Race two of the Ligier European Series. After finishing runner-up in Race 1, the Italian HP Racing by Monza Garage team took its fifth victory of 2021, this time on home soil. In the GT category, the #24 Orhès Racing Ligier JS2 R wins for the third time this season after a hard-fought battle with its rival, the #53 M Racing car.

Race two of the Ligier European Series got underway at 2.35 pm. The #27 Ligier JS P4 of 24-7 Motorsport had to withdraw due to a mechanical problem. The #34 of Les Deux Arbres, driven by Dimitri Enjalbert, qualified on pole position the previous day and quickly opened up a gap from the #23 HP Racing by Monza Garage, with Jacopo Faccioni behind the wheel. The #33 of Les Deux Arbres with Jacques Nicolet was third, while its sister car, the #32 driven by Patrick Zacchia, fell to eighth place overall.

The #34 Les Deux Arbres Ligier JS P4 was still in the lead when the pit stop window opened. Dimitri Enjalbert handed over to Patrice Lafargue. Several sport-prototypes did not make their stop in accordance with the rules. The #33 received a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line at the exit of the pitlane, while the #23 driven by Alessandro Cicognani received a three-second stop and go for not respecting the mandatory pit stop time.

The #34 Ligier JS P4 spun 20 minutes before the end of the race. The #23 then seized the opportunity to take the lead. The #34 did not want to relinquish the lead so quickly, as it took over the race lead 15 minutes before the chequered flag was waved. But just as victory seemed assured, Patrice Lafargue was forced to return to the pits after a mechanical problem linked to his run through the gravel. The #23 HP Racing by Monza Garage car went on to take the win, followed by the #33 and the #32 Les Deux Arbres. Dimitri Enjalbert in the #34 set the fastest lap of the race in 1:57.852s.

In the Ligier JS2 R category, the #24 Orhès Racing car with Olivier Pernaut at the controls took the lead from the #53 M Racing car driven by Natan Bihel on lap two. But the Silver driver regained the lead a few minutes later and extended the gap to his rival.

The battle for third place was much hard-fought between the #25 Orhès Racing Ligier JS2 R driven by Paolo Collivadino, the #4 COOL Racing car with Cédric Oltramare, the #69 M Racing car driven for Laurent Millara, the #95 CTF Performance car with Fabien Delaplace and the #17 Arctic Energy car and its driver Egidijus Gutaravicius. The #4 and the #25 took third place before the #69 eventually got the upper hand.

Fifteen minutes after the start of the race, the #25 Orhès Racing Ligier JS2 R went off the track and brought out a yellow flag. It dropped to fifth place in class behind the #4 COOL Racing car and ahead of the #95 CTF Performance car.

After the mandatory pit stop, there was another leader change in the GT category. The #24 Orhès Racing Ligier JS2 R was back in the lead with Mathieu Martins on board. Behind it was the #69 and the #53 M Racing cars. Natan Bihel quickly overtook Laurent Millara and started his chase once again, but he was eight seconds behind Mathieu Martins. A new obstacle was placed in the path of the Ligier JS2 R championship leader, who was given a two-second stop-and-go penalty for not respecting the pit stop time. He then lost any chance of a podium finish and had to settle for fourth place.

While the #24 Orhès Racing entry was on its way to victory, the duel for second and third place was on the boil between the #4 COOL Racing car and the #69 M Racing machine. Laurent Millara repeatedly attacked Cédric Oltramare, who resisted as best he could. But on the last lap, the #4 of COOL Racing ceded and finished third, behind the #69, which took its second runner-up finish of the season.  Mathieu Martins in the #24 set the fastest lap of the race in 2:02.111s.

The Ligier European Series now heads towards its summer hiatus. The drivers will return to the track on 17 and 18 September on another legendary circuit, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

For the results from race 2, CLICK HERE.