Portimão Heat, Qualifying: LR Motorsport, RLR MSport and Les Deux Arbres claim the final pole positions of 2023

On Friday, 20 October, qualifying was held at the Portimão circuit. Under sunny skies (finally!) but on a still-damp track surface, the competitors battled for pole position for the final two races of the year. In the JS P4 category, Simone Riccitelli qualified the #7 LR Motorsport Ligier JS P4 on pole for race 1. Ian Aguilera was quickest in the second session in the #75 from RLR MSport, which will start race 2 at the head of the field. It is a first for both drivers. In the JS2 R category, Jacques Nicolet in the #86 of Les Deux Arbres took his first pole position of the campaign for race 1, while Maximus Mayer in the #10 from RLR MSport added a sixth pole position to his tally.

JS P4 category: First pole positions for the #7 of LR Motorsport and the #75 from RLR MSport

In the JS P4 category, Simone Riccitelli, in the #7 of LR Motorsport, got the better of his rivals. The Italian took his first pole position of the season with a lap of 1:47.397s and will start race 1 from the sharp end of the order. Louis Rossi, in the #50 of Les Deux Arbres, clocked the fastest time of the PRO-AM class in 1:49.997s. Georgios-Kolovos Periklis, in the #4 from HPRacing by Monza Garage, led the way in the AM class with a best time of 1:52.478s.

Ian Aguilera, in the #75 of RLR MSport, was the man to beat in the second qualifying session. The Mexican driver took pole position with a lap of 1:47.679s. Steve Zacchia, in the #50 of Les Deux Arbres, was quickest in the PRO-AM class with a time of 1:47.744s. Kevin Madsen, in the Team Virage #1 entry, set the fastest lap in the AM class with a time of 1:47.814s.

Simon Riccitelli, LR Motorsport, #7 Ligier JS P4, pole position, race 1:

“Finally! I managed to clinch pole position. It was a tricky session. It was raining when we went into the pitlane. But we decided to go out on slicks. The track was drying. It was quite hard to make a clean lap. I’m really happy because I missed the pole position in Paul Ricard by a whisker so it feels good to grab pole for the final heat of the season”.

Ian Aguilera, RLR MSport, #75 Ligier JS P4, pole position, race 2:

“It was a very tricky. It was raining just before the qualifying so we weren’t sure whether to go slick or wet. Then the track started drying really quick. So going on slicks was a good choice. It’s a great way to finish the season with a pole position. I’m happy with that. This is my first time racing here. I did a lot work in the sim so that definitely helped.”

JS2 R category: First pole for the #86 of Les Deux Arbres and sixth consecutive pole for the #10 from RLR MSport

Pole position by a hair’s breadth for the #86 Les Deux Arbres Ligier JS2 R. Jacques Nicolet claimed his first pole of the season for race 1 on the final lap with a time of 1:58.069s. He was also the fastest driver in the AM class. Martin Rich, in the #10 of RLR MSport, put in the best lap of 1:59.901s in the PRO-AM class.

In session 2, Maximus Mayer in the #10 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R secured his sixth consecutive pole position of the season. He is the only driver in 2023 to have clinched one pole position at each round. He was also the fastest in the PRO-AM class. In the AM class, current championship leader Julien Lemoine, in the #42 from ANS Motorsport, posted the best lap of 1:54.655s.

Jacques Nicolet, Les Deux Arbres, #86 Ligier JS2 R, pole position, race 1:

“It was very nice. We changed the tyres just before the start of the session. The track wasn’t completely dry. We started on slicks. We had to wait a bit, warm up the tyres and be reasonable, which is not easy for me. I set my best time on the last lap. I’m really pleased. It’s a great feeling for my first season in a Ligier JS2 R and I hope it won’t be my last.”

Maximus Mayer, RLR MSport, #10 Ligier JS2 R, pole position, race 2:

“It was the first dry session of the weekend. I’m really happy with what we’ve done Martin and I in qualifying. We adapted to what the conditions were. My main focus was just to try and secure the sixth pole position of the season which means a lot to me. It’s something that nobody has done this year. I’m just really happy. Massive thanks to my team, family and sponsors. I feel confident about tomorrow’s races. I think we’ve got a really good chance of getting both win. It’s a shame that Simon [Butler] is not here with us. With Martin [Rich], we’re going to do our maximum to beat Julien [Lemoine in car #42 of ANS Motorsport].”

Next up on Saturday, 21 October, are the final two one-hour races of the season. Race one starts at 10:30 am., and race two at 4:10 pm.

For the complete results of qualifying 1, CLICK HERE.

For the complete results of Qualifying 2, CLICK HERE.