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PORTIMAO 2018: TRIPLE VICTORY AND TRIPLE PODIUM FOR THE LIGIER JS P217s AND LIGIER JS P3s

Sixth and last round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the Michelin Le Mans Cup (MLMC) took place on the on the Portimao circuit in Portugal. 

A fantastic weekend for the Ligier JS P217s and Ligier JS P3s! A 100% Ligier JS P217 podium in the ELMS and a 100% Ligier JS P3 top 8 in the LM P3 category. In the MLMC, pole position and 100 % Ligier JS P3 top 4. The Ligier JS P3 won another LM P3 title: the ELMS LM P3 title with RLR Msport. It’s the fourth LM P3 title won by a Ligier this season.

ELMS, a 100% Ligier JS P217 top 3

The #23 Panis Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P217 driven by Will Stevens, Julien Canal and Timothé Buret started on the front row. English driver Stevens missed out on pole by six-hundredths-of-a-second! Buret took the first stint. There was another Ligier JS P217 on the second row, #22 run by United Autosports for Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque, with Hanson doing the first stint. Its sister car the #32 Ligier JS P217 in the hands of Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen and Wayne Boyd started the race in seventh with de Sadeleer at the wheel.

As soon as the lights went out the #23 Panis Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P217 shot into the lead, but was then overtaken by the #22 Ligier JS P217 entered by United Autopsorts. After two hours racing, Ligier JS P217s filled the first three places with the #22 United Autosports car leading the #23 Panis Barthez Compétition entry closely followed by the #32 Ligier JS P217 from the United Autosports stable.

An hour from the finish the battle for victory raged between the first four cars covered by only a second! Jean-Eric Vergne in the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 tried to pass the #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P217. After several attempts he managed to do so, but went very wide in the corner. When the final round of pit stops were over, Albuquerque retook the lead. Stevens in the #23 Panis Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P217 was three seconds behind and he fought to snatch victory from the #22 Ligier till the very end.

At the chequered flag the #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 driven by Albuquerque won the race after he had taken over from Hanson who drove a very incisive stint. It was this driver line-up’s and the American team’s, second win on the bounce after Spa-Francorchamps. It was only half-a-second in front of the #23 Panis Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P217. The #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 finished third.

Thanks to this 100 % Ligier podium, the Ligier JS P217s’ ELMS season ended in a blaze of Glory!

Results of the six races: 2 victories (Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao), 4 podiums (Red Bull Ring, Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao) and 1 pole position (Silverstone). The #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 finished fourth in the LM P2 Teams’ overall classification.

ELMS, a 100% Ligier JS P3 top 8 in the LM P3 category

An hour after the start the #9 AT Racing Ligier JS P3 driven by Alexander Talkanitsa, Alexander Talkanitsa JR and Mikkel Jensen led the race after starting in third place.

After two hours the #13 Ligier JS P3 run by Inter Europol Competition in the hands of Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe was in first place in front of the LM P3 championship leader, the #15 RLR Msport Ligier JS P3 of John Farano, Job Van Uitert and Robert Garofall.

With an hour to go to the finish the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 was still in the lead followed by John Falb and Scott Andrews in the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 and its sister car the #3 Ligier JS P3 of Anthony Wells, Garett Grist and Matthew Bell.

The #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 won the LM P3 category. Into second place, 15 seconds behind, came the #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 in the hands of Colin Noble, Alex Kapadia and Christian Olsen. The third step of the podium was occupied by the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 whose second car finished seventh after being given a drive-through penalty.

Five more Ligier JS P3 rounded off the top 8:
4 – The #5 NEFIS by Speed Factory Ligier JS P3
5 – The #15 RLR Msport Ligier JS P3
6 – The #9 AT Racing Ligier JS P3
7 – The #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3
8 – The #14 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3

The #6 360 Racing Ligier JS P3 that had been in second place overall in the LM P3 category up till then had to retire due to a broken exhaust manifold.

The fastest lap in the race was set by the #9 AT Racing Ligier JS P3 in 1m 42.259sec.

Results of the ELMS season for the Ligier JS P3: it won all six races and clinched a total of 16 podiums out of the 18 possible sealing the ELMS LM P3 title with the #15 RLR Msport Ligier JS P3. This was the third year running that the Ligier was crowned champion. In 2016 and 2017, American team United Autosports won the LM P3 title. In the championship classification the Ligier JS P3 monopolised the first 7 places:

1– The #15 RLR Msport Ligier JS P3
2– The #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3
3 – The #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3
4 – The #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3
5 – The #6 360 Racing Ligier JS P3
6 – The #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3
7 – The #11 EuroInternational Ligier JS P3

It was the Ligier JS P3’s fourth title of the season after the Asian Le Mans Series, the IMSA Prototype Challenge and the LMP3 Cup. The V de V Endurance Series title will be decided next weekend on 3-4 November, again in Portugal but this time on the Estoril circuit. Two Ligier JS P3s are in contention, #26 run by Wimmer Werk closely followed by #22 entered by Inter Europol Competition.

MLMC, a 100 % Ligier JS P3 top 4

It was also the sixth and last round of the MLMC. On pole was the #2 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 of Anthony Wells and James LittleJohn. The safety car was deployed on the first lap because of a spin by the #43 Keo Racing Ligier JS P3. After 15 minutes racing the #24 Cool Racing Ligier JS P3 driven by Antonin Borga and Alexandre Coigny was in first place.

Following the pit stops into the lead went the #59 RLR Msport Ligier JS P3 piloted by Ross Warburton and Alex Kapadia whose sister car the #14 Ligier JS P3 was lying third.

With 42 minutes to go to the finish there was a coming-together between two Ligier JS P3s, #4 run by Brookspeed International and #79 of Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing in fourth place. The #4 Ligier JS P3 rejoined in less than five minutes.

With 10 minutes to go only 1.6 seconds covered the first four cars. Victory finally went to the #79 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 driven by Colin Noble and Alasdair McCaig, their second win in succession. The team could have clinched a double with #2. But with seven minutes to go to the flag it was overtaken by the #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 of Najaf Husain and Colin Braun, who finished a mere 0.731 seconds behind the winner. Into third came the #2 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3.

Fourth place went to the #98 Motorsport98 Ligier JS P3 in the hands of Dino Lunardi and Eric de Doncker, only two-tenths-off-a-second off the third step of the podium!

Results in the MLMC for the Ligier JS P3: 3 victories, 2 pole positions and 10 podiums. The #79 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 finished second in the championship just 11.5 points behind the winner. Into third in the championship came its sister car, the #2.

Source. Onroak Automotive/Photo. DPPI Images

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