Le Castellet Heat, Qualifying: Team Virage, RLR MSport, and COOL Racing share the pole positions

75 RLR MSport

The #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 kept the momentum going on Friday, 15 April. After dominating free practice, Gillian Henrion secured the pole position for his first two races in the Ligier JS P4 sport-prototype. A newcomer and an old hand in the series shared the pole positions in the Ligier JS2 R category: Haytham Qarajouli in #75 RLR MSport entry will lead the way for the start of race 1, and Cédric Oltramare in the #4 COOL Racing will do the same in race 2.

The first qualifying session was chock-full of suspense right up until the end. In the Ligier JS P4 category, the battles were constant between the #14 of Team Virage driven by Gillian Henrion, the #3 of LR Motorsport with Simone Riccitelli at the controls and the #17 of Pegasus Racing with Dimitri Enjalbert on board. The three sport-prototypes played a game of musical chairs until Gillian Henrion got the nod late in the session. He took the first pole position of the year in the Ligier European Series thanks to his best time of 1:59.004s. 

It was the same story in the Ligier JS2 R between the #4 COOL Racing entry of Cédric Oltramare and the two CTF Performance cars, the #95 driven by Nicolas Beraud and the #96 of Fabien Delaplace. When the dust settled, it was the young Kuwaiti driver Haytham Qarajouli, behind the wheel of the #75 RLR MSport car who took the pole position with the fastest time in 2:07.247s.

The field then moved on to the second qualifying session. With two minutes remaining, the session was stopped after a collision between a Ligier JS P4 and a Ligier JS2 R. Gillian Henrion led the way from the start of the session. The French driver improved his time, posting the fastest lap of 1:58.738s, to make it a brace of pole positions in his first participation in the championship. After dominating both free practice sessions, the #4 COOL Racing Ligier JS2 R took the top spot for the start of race 2, among the 11 other GT cars, with a time of 2:06.831s.

16 Team Virage Gillian Henrion

Gillian Henrion, Team Virage, Ligier JS P4 #16, Double Pole Position:

“I am so delighted. I have to thank all my family and sponsors who have supported me and the Virage team. My two qualifying sessions went extremely well. I was confident in the car. The day started well with the free practice sessions and we managed to improve. This is the first time I have driven a sport-prototype in competition. Before I was in Formula Regional and now, I am discovering endurance racing. It’s not that much different. I feel very comfortable in the car.”

Haytham Qarajouli, RLR MSport, Ligier JS2 R #75, Pole Position Qualifying 1:

“The qualifying went good. There was a lot of traffic during the first session so I held back a bit trying to find my own gap. And then I went for it and I was quite surprised and happy to know that I clinched pole position. There was a red flag during the second qualifying so it held me up and we ended up P2. This is my first time in competition with the Ligier JS2 R. I only tested the car at Donington Park at the beginning of this year and since then I hadn’t driven it. It’s also my first time at Le Castellet so I’m really happy with these results”.

Cédric Oltramare, COOL Racing, Ligier JS2 R #4, Pole Position Qualifying 2:

“Qualifying went very well. I was under a little pressure because I was sent out after all the other cars with a big gap. I went out on cold tyres when the others already built-up heat in theirs. It was a struggle to keep them behind me at the beginning. But I managed to drive well and then create a gap and focus on my driving. I am ecstatic with how the season has started.”

Based on the qualifying results, there promises to be plenty of exciting racing on Saturday, 16 April. Race 1 will start at 10.50 a.m. and race 2 at 3 p.m. You can follow the races live on our website under “Live streaming”, on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

For the results from Qualifying 1, CLICK HERE.

For the results from Qualifying 2, CLICK HERE.