Spa Heat, Day 1: The Toboggan of the Ardennes makes life difficult for the Ligier European Series drivers

Spa Heat, Day 1: The Toboggan of the Ardennes makes life difficult for the Ligier European Series drivers

23.09.2022: The Ligier JS P4s and Ligier JS2 Rs are back to the business at hand at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, for the fifth Heat of the season. The circuit, nestled in a lush forest setting, was not kind to the drivers: out of four driving sessions, three were in


The Ligier JS P4s and Ligier JS2 Rs are back to the business at hand at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, for the fifth Heat of the season. The circuit, nestled in a lush forest setting, was not kind to the drivers: out of four driving sessions, three were interrupted by red flags.



Pegasus Racing and Team Virage (in the Ligier JS P4 category) and CTF Performance and TM Evolution (in the Ligier JS2 R class) shared the best times in the two free practice sessions. Late in the afternoon, Gillian Henrion, in the #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4, scored his fifth double pole position of 2022.




In GT, Mathieu Detry in the #11 TM Evolution Ligier JS2 R won the pole for race 1, while Haytham Qarajouli in the #75 RLR MSport Ligier JS2 R secured the pole for race 2.
 




Free Practice: Four different teams share the fastest times.



The second half of the Ligier European Series season got off to a sunny start in the Belgian Ardennes. The first free practice session, 40-minute long, was interrupted three minutes before the chequered flag after Cédric Oltramare in the #4 COOL Racing Ligier JS2 R went off track violently. Despite the huge impact, the pilot escaped without injury.




In the sport-prototype category, the #17 Pegasus Racing Ligier JS P4 driven by Dimitri Enjalbert finished atop the timing screen with a best lap of 2:24.993s. In the Ligier JS2 R category, CTF Performance gentleman driver Fabien Delaplace in the #96 set the fastest time of the first session in 2:37.817s.


 
Another Ligier JS2 R was caught out by the Spa-Francorchamps track during free practice 2. The #29 Pegasus Racing car of Julien Schell and Christophe Weber suffered a hard impact, but the driver was not injured.



After finishing second in the morning session, the #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4, driven by Gillian Henrion, led the way in the afternoon session. The Frenchman set the fastest time of 2:25.231s, one second ahead of Andrei Vajda in the #85 Smart Driving car (2:26.185s). In the Ligier JS2 R category, the #11 TM Evolution car of Alain Grand and series newcomer Belgian Mathieu Detry led the GT with a best lap of 2:34.572s.
 


Qualifying:
Double pole position in JS P4 for Team Virage, TM Evolution and RLR MSport each score a pole in JS2 R.
The talented young Team Virage driver of the #16 Ligier JS P4, Gillian Henrion, ran his 2022 tally of double pole positions to five. The Frenchman set the fastest lap in the category in 2:22.861s in the first session. His second session was shortened by five minutes due to a penalty for not respecting a red flag during free practice, but it did not prevent him from setting the day's best time of 2:22.248s.



For his first participation in the Ligier European Series, local driver Mathieu Detry, in the #11 TM Evolution Ligier JS2 R, took pole position for race one. The experienced Belgian GT racer (notably in the 24H SERIES) set the best time in 2:31.779s. Ligier JS2 R category leader Haytham Qarajouli, in the #75 RLR MSport entry, led the way in the second qualifying session. With his time of 2:32.835s, the Kuwaiti won his sixth pole position since the start of the championship in April.




For the full results of qualifying 1, CLICK HERE.




For the full results of qualifying 2, CLICK HERE.







Gillian Henrion, Team Virage, #16 Ligier JS P4, double pole position:
 

"It was simply incredible. At the beginning of the day, we tried to find the right setup, but we struggled a little bit. We found the perfect setup for qualifying. It was just avionic, and it's an awesome pleasure to drive on this circuit. Tomorrow I will have the same state of mind as for my first race in April. I'm trying not to focus too much on the championship, even though I know everything could be decided at Spa. I'm keeping a cool head."
 


Mathieu Detry, TM Evolution, #11 Ligier JS2 R, pole position, race 1 :


"My first experience in the Ligier JS2 R and the series went very well. I felt comfortable in the car right from the first free practice session. We were running on used tyres, so I had trouble knowing my place compared to the rest of the field. During free practice 2, we confirmed what we had learned, and I was able to start attacking more. I know the track very well, so that also helped me. In qualifying 1 with new tyres, I could attack from the first lap. I lost some time in the final chicane, so it's a pity, but I'm very pleased with this pole position."
 




Haytham Qarajouli, RLR MSport, Ligier JS2 R #75, pole position, race 2:


“It was actually really nice. We put on a new set of tyres for the second qualy and there was loads of grip, more than I was expecting. I was just building up to it, lap by lap. I got the fastest lap and then that was it. It’s an amazing track, like a rollercoaster. Lot of elevation change. This track definitely tests you.”
 


The two Ligier European Series races from the Spa Heat will take place on Saturday, 24 September. Race one will start at 9:10 am. Race two will commence at 1:05 pm. Both races will be streamed live on the Ligier European Series Facebook page and YouTube channel.
 





2022 Ligier European Series calendar



15 - 16 April 2022 Le Castellet, France
13 - 14 May 2022 Imola, Italy
8 - 11 June 2022 Le Mans, France
1 - 2 July 2022 Monza, Italy
23 - 24 September 2022 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
14 - 15 October 2022 Portimão, Portugal




Simon Devillepoix  DPPI Images
    

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23.09.2022 / MaP

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