Portimão Heat, Day 1: Team Virage and RLR MSport off to a flying start

Portimão Heat, Day 1: Team Virage and RLR MSport off to a flying start

14.10.2022: The final heat of the 2022 season began on Friday at the Portimão circuit in southern Portugal. The Polish squad Team Virage with its #16 Ligier JS P4 (Gillian Henrion) dominated both free practice sessions and secured its 11th and 12th pole positions of

 

 

The final heat of the 2022 season began on Friday at the Portimão circuit in southern Portugal. The Polish squad Team Virage with its #16 Ligier JS P4 (Gillian Henrion) dominated both free practice sessions and secured its 11th and 12th pole positions of the campaign.


The British team RLR MSport with its #75 (Haytham Quarajouli and Martin Rich) and #40 (Horst Felix Felbermayr) Ligier JS2 Rs also topped both free practice sessions and claimed the category pole position for both races.




Haytham Qarajouli was fastest in session 1, ahead of teammate Horst Felix Felbermayr, who took the maiden pole position of his motorsport career in session 2.
 





Free Practice: Team Virage and RLR MSport top the timing screen




Under sunny skies, the Ligier European Series drivers set off to tackle the Portuguese track for the first free practice. The session was halted early on by a red flag after the CTF Performance #95 Ligier JS2 R, driven by Gilles Poret, who participated in last year's championship at the Red Bull Ring, went off track. The session resumed with 26 minutes remaining on the clock.



In the sport-prototype category, the #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 with Gillian Henrion, who won the Ligier JS P4 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in September, set the fastest time of 1:46.727s. In the Ligier JS2 R class, the #40 RLR MSport car driven by Horst Felix Felbermayr took the lead. The Austrian driver set the fastest time of 1:53.495s.
On to the second free practice session, in the early afternoon.



Gillian Henrion, in the #16 Team Virage sport prototype, improved on his time from the opening session this morning to lead the Ligier JS P4 category with a best lap of 1:45.720s. The British RLR MSport team continues to dominate the Ligier JS2 R field. Haytham Qarajouli, the 2022 Ligier JS2 R Champion, and new teammate Martin Rich finished atop the timing screen in the #75 Ligier JS2 R with the fastest lap of 1:53.611s.




For the results of free practice 1, CLICK HERE.


For the results of free practice 2,  CLICK HERE.

 



Qualifying: A clean sweep for Team Virage and RLR MSport




Not once in 2022 has Gillian Henrion, behind the wheel of the #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4, let pole position slip through his fingers. From the season-opening weekend at Le Castellet to the final at Portimão. The French teenager took his sixth consecutive double pole position of the season in Portugal, with his best laps of 1:45.434s (session 1) and 1:45.162s (session 2).



A special mention for the #44 Smart Driving Ligier JS P4 driven by Stefan Mihnea. The Romanian driver, who is debuting in the series this weekend in Portimão, qualified a very impressive second for both races.




In the Ligier JS2 R category, RLR MSport also took double pole position. Haytham Qarajouli in the #75 Ligier JS2 R topped the GT field in race 1 for the seventh time this season, with the fastest lap of 1:53.162s. His teammate, Horst Felix Felbermayr, in the #40 car, took his first pole of 2022 in session two with the best time of 1:52.805s.



For the results of qualifying 1, CLICK HERE.


For the results of qualifying 2, CLICK HERE.


 





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



"It was just incredible! The circuit is magnificent. This is my first time racing on this track. I had the opportunity to do a day of testing a few months ago which allowed me to get accustomed to the circuit. During qualifying, I pushed my limits. I had to give it my all to get these two pole positions. We managed to set very good times. We're extremely happy with our performance and we hope to build on this tomorrow in the two races".
 




Haytham Qarajouli, RLR MSport, Ligier JS2 R #75, pole position, race 1:


“The car felt amazing throughout the session. I’m excited to share my seat for the first time this season with another driver [Martin Rich]. It should be a lot of fun. We’ve won the championship now so we can enjoy ourselves. This is my first time at the Portimão track. It’s quite a difficult circuit to learn, but once you have figured it out and know where you’re going, it’s fun! I’m really excited for tomorrow’s races.”
 




Horst Felix Felbermayr, RLR MSport, Ligier JS2 R #40, pole position, race 2:

“Qualifying 2 went very well. I finished nearly one second ahead of P2. It feels great to secure my first pole position of the season but we will see how it goes tomorrow in the races! This is my first season in car racing. The first race was really hard for me. But I have managed to improve throughout the season so we will see what tomorrow has in store for me.”
 


Race one of the season-finale will start on Saturday, 15 October at 9.15 am local time (10:15 am CET). Race two will kick off at 3.15 pm (4:15 pm CET). The final two races of the 2022 season will be streamed live on the Ligier European Series YouTube channel and Facebook page.
 


 

2023 Ligier European Series calendar



Heat 1: 21 - 22 April 2023 - Barcelona, Spain
Heat 2: 5 - 6 May 2023 - Imola, Italy
Heat 3: 4 June 2023 - Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, France
Heat 4: 14 - 15 July 2023 - Le Castellet, France
Heat 5: 22 - 23 September 2023 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Heat 6: 20 - 21 October 2023 - Portimão, Portugal



Simon Devillepoix - photos DPPI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/ligier-portimao-heat-day-1-team-virage-rlr-msport-flying-start---243900.html

14.10.2022 / MaP

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