Spa Heat, Qualifying: Two pole positions for HP Racing and MRacing

Back to the Toboggan des Ardennes on Friday, 17 September for the two Ligier European Series qualifying sessions. HP Racing by Monza Garage takes its second pole position of the season with the #23 Ligier JS P4 driven by Alessandro Cicognani and Jacopo Faccioni. MRacing scores its third double pole position with the #53 Ligier JS2 R and driver Natan Bihel.

The first qualifying session got underway at 3.05 pm on Friday. Jacopo Faccioni in the #23 HP Racing by Monza Garage Ligier JS P4 claimed his third pole position of the season with the best time of 2:31.277s. He was 1.457 seconds quicker than the #33 Les Deux Arbres car driven by Jacques Nicolet. Third in the sport-prototype category was the #27 24.7 Motorsport entry driven by Jeremy Ferguson, who returns after his first outing of the season at Monza.    

The #53 MRacing Ligier JS2 R with Natan Bihel onboard received a stop and go penalty at the start of the session (for not respecting the stop and go procedure imposed during the morning’s free practice session). The GT car still managed to record a category best time of 2:33.702s on its final lap and snatch the pole position from its rival, the #24 Orhès Racing car driven by Mathieu Martins. Nicolas Beraud, in the #95 CTF Performance car, qualified third in the category.

The second session started without delay. And just like last June at Le Castellet, HP Racing and MRacing were back on track to win a double pole position for the second time together. It is the second for the #23 Ligier JS P4 crew and the third for the driver of the #53 Ligier JS2 R.

The #23 Ligier JS P4, this time with Alessandro Cicognani at the controls, set the fastest time in the sport-prototype category with a lap of 2:32.325s. It was followed by the #34 of Les Deux Arbres driven by Nelson, who made his return to the series after racing at the Circuit Paul Ricard Heat in June. The top three was completed by the #27 from 24.7 Motorsport, with Andrew Ferguson on board.

Qualifying second overall and first in the GT category, the #53 MRacing Ligier JS2 R clocked the quickest lap of the session in 2:33.856s. The #24 Orhès Racing car with Olivier Pernaut came second, followed by the #95 CTF Performance car driven by Fabien Delaplace.

Jacopo Faccioni, HP Racing by Monza Garage, Ligier JS P4 #23, Pole Position Qualifying 1:

“We are so happy to have taken this double pole position. We hope that tomorrow the weather will be good. We hope to win, to win the championship with a nice lead! The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is great, maybe one of the most beautiful in the world. Some of the corners are incredible, and I’m thrilled to be here.”

Alessandro Cicognani, HP Racing by Monza Garage, Ligier JS P4 #23, Pole Position Qualifying 2:

“When we arrived at Spa, we already had an excellent car as we were quickest in free practice. I did a pretty good first lap in qualifying, but I knew I could go even faster. It took me two laps to refocus and get my tyres up to temperature. I was well on my way to a great time on my last lap. But unfortunately, I was unlucky and was struck by a competitor at the last chicane, which damaged the car. We still think we can participate in the two races tomorrow. I got the pole, but it is disappointing to be involved in an incident at the end of the session, which can penalize us severely in the championship.”

Natan Bihel, MRacing, Ligier JS2 R #53, Double Pole Position :

“It was pretty tense in the first session with Mathieu [Ligier JS2 R #24, Orhès Racing]. It was a battle on every lap, with everyone trying to get the pole. But I didn’t make any mistakes. We had a good car and worked hard in free practice to get ready and have a perfect car. It was easier in the second qualifying session, but I still had to go for pole. If I can win both races this weekend, I can go to Portimao with more confidence. But the circuit is long, and Mathieu and I set essentially the same times. We’ll have to see what happens in the race. The objective is to continue to extend the lead.”

Race 1 will start on Saturday 18 September at 10:55 am, while race 2 will get the green light at 2:20 pm. Both races will be broadcast live on the Ligier European Series website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

For the results of the first qualifying session, CLICK HERE.

For the results of the second qualifying session, CLICK HERE