A challenging week unfolded in the midst of persistent rain and cold, with an unusual one-day hiatus.
Starting on Wednesday, the week kicked off with the first Collective Test, where both the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans Cup categories had their initial outings on the “Toboggan des Ardennes.” It concluded on a positive note, setting the stage for the race weekend.
Following a track-free Thursday, the race weekend officially began.
For the second consecutive year, Team Virage clinched the Ligier European Series championship. Mihnea Stefan secured the JSP4 class championship title on Saturday, following impressive qualifying sessions that saw him claim his fifth and sixth pole positions. Additionally, Bernardo Pinheiro and George King celebrated a well deserved first place finish in the second race, positioning them firmly in the hunt for the runner up spot. Meanwhile, Lance Fenton and Kevin Madsen showcased their dominance in the AM class, securing the championship title.
Unfortunately, the Le Mans Cup didn’t unfold as expected. Despite Oscar Bittar’s brilliant second-place finish in the Bronze Test and a promising qualifying session where the Gerbi / Henrion duo qualified fifth and the Bittar / Bracalente duo qualified eighth, the race took an unfortunate turn. Both Virage cars were rear ended at the very first corner, leading to the retirement of car #59 and significant damage to car #16, causing them to lose a lap.
Focusing on ELMS, the #4HSpa race witnessed an exceptional performance by Manuel Espírito Santo, securing Team Virage’s first ever ELMS pole position, following a competitor’s disqualification. Despite the numerous safety car periods that marked the race, the trio comprised of Manuel, Nick, and Michael crossed the finish line in fifth place. On the LMP2 Pro/Am side, the #19 secured its best finish of the season, also finishing in fifth position of its category. The success was the outcome of flawless strategy from the pit wall, demonstrating that our efforts were worthwhile and that we achieved the best results of the year.
The upcoming race, just 2 weeks away at Portimao, promises to be another thrilling showdown across all three categories. Bernardo and George will fight for the runner up position in Ligier, Julien and Gillian will continue their quest for the Le Mans Cup title, and in ELMS, our drivers will strive to maintain their excellent recent form.