After a great performance in Estoril, Team Virage was aiming to continue its good performance on the second Ultimate Cup Series round in Dijon. Famous for the Villeneuve-Arnoux battle, the track of Dijon has a particularity for Dijon, being the place of its first-ever LMP3 podium, last year with Valenza/Lappalainen/Caouette.
Julian Wagg being absent for a school exam, the team welcomed ex-GP3 and IndyLights driver Julien Falchero on the 94, competing alongside Philippe Valenza and Thomas Padovani. The 95’s line up remained unchanged, with Bronze drivers Philippe Cimadomo and Alain Costa.
After a challenging and rainy first Free Practice session, Falchero quickly topped the chart and put his Ligier JSP3 in P1. Nevertheless the bad weather conditions, the Frenchman did a great performance on track. Car 95 wasn’t backing down from the rain either, managing some quick lap times and finishing at P9. The second Free Practice granted us some easier conditions to work with a dry track. The team mostly worked on dry setup and long runs, ending up in 7th place for the 94, and 13th for the 95.
Q1 and Q2 eventually took place in wet conditions, which meant the Team was able to apply the gathered information from FP1 to Qualifying. As time went by, the weather changed which resulted in a dry track for Q3. A tight mid-field saw Cimadomo/Costa ending in 9th position on the starting grid, while Padovani/Valenza/Falchero placed their car on the 2nd row, in 4th place.
The race started in cold and wet conditions which remained for the full 4h race, except a short dry quarter of an hour during which Falchero scored the 2nd fastest lap time. Playing with strategy and the many Safety-Cars and FCY, the 94 eventually crossed the finish line in 3rd position, being the only car having scored a podium in both races. The 95 line-up, on its side, proved itself to be very competitive, reaching as high as 5th place during the race. Unfortunately, a spin into the gravel bed made Cimadomo/Costa lose 5 laps, ending P10, but still reaching the 3rd spot of the Ultimate Category podium. All eyes are now on Slovakia, where will take place the 3rd event of the season on May 24th.
Julien Gerbi – Team Manager : “It has been a bittersweet week-end : we had the potential to finish higher, but the conditions were so tricky that it was easy to make a mistake and lose it all. We remain satisfied with this double podium, even though we know we can aim at more. We can be a serious contender to the European title, so this will be our objective this season.”