Less dramatic than the morning action, Race 2 still had its fair share of twists and turns in the early afternoon of Saturday, 26 August, at the Motorland Aragon circuit. The #48 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 returned to the forefront of the field with its fifth win of the season. In the JS2 R category, the #10 RLR MSport scored its first overall win.
JS P4 category: Redemption for the #48 of Team Virage after a “chaotic” race 1
Hot under the collar after his missed opportunity for victory in race 1, George King in the #60 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 attacked team-mate Mihnea Stefan in the #48 right from the start. The Romanian then lost second place to Panagiotis Kaitatzis in the #4 from HPRacing by Monza Garage. Just minutes after race 2 began, the #50 of Les Deux Arbres, with the duo of Steve Zacchia and Louis Rossi, stopped on the track, resulting in the end of their race and the deployment of the safety car. At the restart, Mihnea Stefan dove underneath Panagiotis Kaitatzis for second place.
The gap between the two Team Virage cars closed to a few hundredths of a second. Finally, the #48 Ligier JS P4 overtook the #60. But George King remained hot on the heels of Mihnea Stefan. Behind, the #7 from LR Motorsport with Jacopo Mazza behind the wheel passed the #75 of RLR MSport with Ian Aguilera who is teaming with the 2022 JS2 R Champion Haytham Qarajouli, and then the #4. The #7 was third.
The #48 Ligier JS P4 was among the first to make its mandatory stop, leaving the #60 to take the lead. After the pit stop cycle was completed, the third Team Virage entry was in first place, the #1 with Lance Fenton, who had taken over from Kevin Madsen. The #4 of HPRacing by Monza Garage with Georgios-Periklis Kolovos at the commands was second ahead of the #60 of Bernardo Pinheiro, who kept his advantage over the #48.
But with around 20 minutes to go, Mihnea Stefan passed the #60. The Romanian driver was now in second place, as the #4 served its drive-through penalty (for off-track overtaking). Third-placed Bernardo Pinheiro found himself exposed to a new threat in the person of Simone Riccitelli in the #7 LR Motorsport machine.
Mihnea Stefan retook the lead. The #7 Ligier JS P4 overtook the #60 for third place. Lance Fenton, in the #1 Team Virage car, then in second place, was overtaken by Simone Riccitelli and Bernardo Pinheiro.
The safety car was deployed for a second time after a GT had stopped at turn one. At the restart, the #48 took off, determined to finish the weekend better than it had started. Mihnea Stefan secured his fifth win of the season. Simone Riccitelli and Jacopo Mazza, in the #7 of LR Motorsport, took their second podium result of the day with a second place. George King and Bernardo Pinheiro finished third to claim their fifth podium of the season. George King set the fastest lap of the race in 2:02.490s. The American duo of Team Virage #1 Lance Fenton / Kevin Madsen won the AM category after a post-race penalty was awarded to the Greek duo of HPRacing by Monza Garage #4.
Mihnea Stefan, Team Virage, #48 Ligier JS P4, winner of race 2:
“I think that to say the first race was difficult is an understatement! My first race was chaotic. I really thought about it in between the two races. With the team we managed to come up with a better plan. They advised me a lot for race 2. We had a bit of a problem at the beginning but managed to overcome it and won! So, mission accomplished.”
JS2 R category: RLR MSport’s #10 secures its first win of the season
Maximus Mayer in the #10 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R made an excellent start from the category pole position and slotted between several Ligier JS P4s. The #42 of ANS Motorsport, driven by Julien Lemoine, and the #29 from Pegasus Racing with Jordan Meyer made contact and immediately returned to the pits, resulting in the retirement of the #29.
At the front, the #10 Ligier JS2 R quickly opened up a gap of almost 15 seconds over the second-placed car, the #43 of LR Motorsport driven by David Rodorigo. Maximus Mayer’s first place was not threatened by the first safety car period and ensuing restart. After spending nearly 15 minutes in the pits for repairs, the #42 returned to the track.
The compulsory pit stop allowed the #43 Ligier JS2 R to emerge ahead of the #10 of RLR MSport. The #86 from Les Deux Arbres, driven by Jacques Nicolet, who had taken over from Bastien Ostian, was third, ahead of the #42. The tenacious Maximus Mayer followed David Rodorigo closely until he took the lead.
ANS Motorsport saw its Ligier JS2 R immobilised on track. The safety car was deployed to allow for the evacuation of the #42, which retired.
Traffic allowed the #10 Ligier JS2 R to protect its lead at the restart. On the final lap, the #86 got the better of the #43. After several victories in the PRO-AM class with team-mate Simon Butler (absent from the Aragon Heat), Maximus Mayer took his first overall win with RLR MSport. He also set the fastest lap of the race in 2:10.71s. Jacques Nicolet and Bastien Ostian in the #86 Les Deux Arbres finished runner-up and took top honours in the AM class. David Rodorigo, in the #43 of LR Motorsport, finished third.
Maximus Mayer, RLR MSport, #10 Ligier JS2 R, winner of race 2:
“This is very emotional. It was finally our time, for once, after a complicated first part of the season with Simon, trying to improve. Driving the car on my own has been a massive boost in confidence for me. I’m so thrilled about the results of race 2. I kept an eye on Julien [Lemoine in the #42 ANS Motorsport Ligier JS2 R] knowing he had done really well in Q1 and Q2. It was all about managing the pace from the very start, keeping calm and bringing it home”.
For the results, CLICK HERE.
For the provisional classification, CLICK HERE.
The fifth meeting of the Ligier European Series comes in a month’s time at Spa-Francorchamps. The Competitors will return to the action in Belgium on 22 and 23 September.