After a successful pre-summer race at Dijon marked by the team’s first podium, Team Virage travelled to Los Arcos to compete the 6 Hours of Navarra.While Enqvist and Rattenbury kept on sharing the car number 95, the 94 was driven by regulars Caouette and Valenza, joined by ex-Lotus F1 test driver Alex Fontana, who had already raced with the team in ELMS at Monza earlier this year.
In the last Free Practice session, Fontana scored the 2nd fastest lap, while Rattenbury was 6th fastest. In Qualifying, both drivers had the task to look for the maximum performance. While Fontana was close to Mathias Beche’s pole position lap time – scoring the team’s second front row of the season -, Rattenbury qualified in 12th place on the 6th row.
At the start, Caouette (94) was jumped by James Winslow while Enqvist (95) took a brillant launch from 12th to point in 7th place at the the first corner. After a few laps, Caouette suffered a light contact with a Norma, unfortunately with big consequences. The Canadian received a Stop & Go penalty and had to stop in the box in order to repair. While Enqvist made his way up to the front, the car 94 remained 10 laps in the box to repair the exhaust system.
After one hour, Rattenbury took the wheel and made his way up the field until leading the race with 4 hours to go. On the 94, Valenza rejoined the track for what would be a long “test session”, the car being already too far down the hierarchy to compete for victory. With two more hours to go, Rattenbury changed for Enqvist, the 95 being leader with almost two laps of advantage over the second. The night started to fall down on Navarra and Enqvist managed to keep this advantage until the new refuelling period. On the 94, Fontana took the wheel over Valenza, and immediately set the race’s fastest lap.
With one hour to go, Enqvist suffered a contact with a lapped driver losing the control of his car at the exit of the last turn. The contact was inevitable and, after switching for Rattenbury to finish the race, the 95 unfortunately had to stay in the box in order to repair. Back on track 6 laps behind the leader, Rattenbury could just drive a few more laps before the race was red-flagged. They would eventually be classified in 6th position, while Caouette/Valenza/Fontana finished 13th.
Philippe Gautheron, Team Principal :
« Navarra has been disappointing result-wise. Both of our cars could have finished in the front but our chances were dashed by contacts. We showed we have the level to fight for victory with our two LMP3, and we will keep on working to concretise the results in the next race at Le Mans. »