Press Release – June 23, 2022
Three weeks after the exceptional round on the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit, the Ligier European Series field heads to the Monza circuit in Italy on 1 and 2 July. With the first half of the season complete, round four could be decisive in the race for the titles in both categories. The favourites in both classes, Gillian Henrion (#16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4) and Haytham Qarajouli (#75 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R), each enjoy a comfortable lead. But nothing is yet decided. On such an unforgiving track, anything can happen.
After Circuit Paul Ricard in France and Imola in Italy, the Ligier European Series field was in action from 8 to 11 June on the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit for the marquee weekend on the 2022 calendar. For this all-important round, teams and drivers from around the world came to compete, with the entry list reaching a season-record number of 39 cars on track.
Only three heats remain this season. The tension is mounting for the contenders in the series. The competitors will have to find their bearings in this fourth heat, which could be crucial in the conquest of the titles.
Will Gillian Henrion and Team Virage continue their perfect run?
While both are new to the series this year, Frenchman Gillian Henrion and the Polish squad, Team Virage have reigned supreme since the opening round at Le Castellet in April. They have run the table both in qualifying and the races, with their #16 Ligier JS P4, to build up a solid lead in the general classification (150 points). Are they unstoppable? Well, they shouldn’t start cooling the champagne just yet. M Racing’s (#53) French driver Natan Bihel is still in the hunt (99 points). So is the Anglo-Italian crew of the #23 Monza Garage Italian team, George King and Ronnie Valori (82 points), who impressed by snatching third place in a breath-taking last lap in race two at Le Mans.
Pegasus Racing’s (#17) French duo of Dimitri Enjalbert and Anthony Nahra have made steady progress since the start of the season, finishing second at Le Mans. While they are now aiming for their first victory, the road to the top of the championship classification is still arduous. It is also the case for Simone Riccitelli and Nicola Neri (#3 of LR Motorsport), who will be racing on home soil. But the gaps can still close, and all hopes are valid. The all-Romanian outfit at Smart Driving and its driver Alexandru Mirea is also coming into form. Alexandru Mirea and co-driver Philip Andriescu (who will not run at Monza) finished fourth in race 2 of the Le Mans meeting.
Will Haytham Qarajouli and RLR MSport return to the podium?
After three wins in the first two rounds, Haytham Qarajouli and RLR MSport were not up to their usual form at Le Mans. But the Kuwaiti driver and the British team’s #75 Ligier JS2 R still have a comfortable lead in the provisional classification with 105 points. Frenchman Laurent Millara, with 62 points, intends to use his prior Monza experience to aim for the top spot that has so far eluded him. CTF Performance, with its two cars, the #95 with Nicolas Béraud and the #96 with Fabien Delaplace and Laurent Piguet, has scored a podium finish in each heat so far in 2022 and is also fourth and fifth in the provisional classification.
Bruno Chaudet and his teammate Freddy Menanteau, in the #25 TM Evolution Ligier JS2 R, will also be worth keeping an eye on. The pair of gentlemen drivers picked up a fifth-place finish at Circuit Paul Ricard and a fourth at Imola. Although the Le Mans round did not go their way, they could make up ground at Monza and secure their first podium. With two runner-up results to his credit, Austrian Horst Felix Felbermayr (#40 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R) is hungry for more podium finishes.
The Monza Heat will commence on Friday, 1 July, with two 40-minute free practice sessions at 9.40 am and 2 pm, followed by two 15-minute qualifying sessions at 4:20 pm and 4:45 pm to determine the starting grids for races 1 and 2. The real business will begin on Saturday with two one-hour races, the first at 11:25 am and the second at 2:50 pm.
Both races will be streamed live on the series’ website and its Facebook and YouTube channels, with commentary in French and English.
CLICK HERE for the provisional entry list
CLICK HERE for the Monza Heat programme