While the first race of the season in Barcelona had only been a 3 hours procession behind Safety-Car, Team Virage’s LMP3 campaign really started at the second race of the 2018 V de V Endurance Series in Magny-Cours.
On the 95 car, regular prototype driver Henning Enqvist was joined by double Lamborghini SuperTrofeo World Champion Jake Rattenbury and Spanish young single-seater driver Javier Cobian.
After two positive free practice sessions which saw the team classifying 5th and 6th, Enqvist qualified the Ligier Nissan in 9th position for the 4h race, +1.2s off pole.
The Swede took the start from the 5th row, and quickly proved himself to be the fastest on track. Running in 2nd place after 5 minutes, he took the lead at one third of his run before pulling a 20 seconds gap on his competitors, scoring fastest lap over fastest lap.
After 1 hour of racing, Team Virage opened the pit stop window. Enqvist was the first to pit in order to give the wheel to Rattenbury. Quickly at his ease on this new car, Rattenbury rejoined the track in 5th position after refuelling. It didn’t take long to the Welsh driver to get the lead back until mid-race. Unfortunately, shortly after a Safety-Car period, the 95 car suffered a fuel issue and was forced to pit. Cobian got behind the wheel for the last stints, but was affected by another Safety-Car period when rejoining the track. While all the competitors stopped for driver change and refuelling, Cobian dropped to P8. After his hour and half stint, the Spaniard brought back the car up to P6 at the chequered flag, also having scored the team’s fastest lap.
Julien Gerbi, Team Virage Manager :
« It was a bittersweet race for us. We showed we had the pace to win, but this fuel issue and a bit of back luck with the Safety-Car and pit stop periods dashed our chances. Our three drivers did an excellent job, showing they could be fast and consistent in all their mistake-free runs. A good season is ahead of us, and we hope to concretise our potential on the next race at Le Castellet.»