The second four-hour endurance race in the Ligier JS Cup France, the new single-make Ligier formula dedicated to the Ligier JS2 R, took place on the Dijon-Prenois circuit. This time 27 Ligier JS2 Rs were ready to go at it hammer and tongs! And what a battle it turned out to be with ZOSH Compétition – Di Environnement winning again followed by the #42 Ligier JS2 R run by MT Racing and the #21 Ligier JS2 R entered by Orhès Racing. Keeping a close eye on the action was Jacques Laffite, the godfather of the Ligier JS Cup France.
After the first round on the Bugatti circuit on 29-30 March the teams set off for Dijon for the second race in the Ligier JS Cup France organised by Max Mamers Management. Two more teams decided to join in the adventure making up a mouth-watering field of 27 Ligier JS2 Rs.
On Friday, there were 2h30m of free practice before the 1h30m-qualifying session. The MT Racing outfit posted the two fastest times in qualifying with pole going to Grégory Guilvert in the #48 Ligier JS2 R in 1m 26.120sec in front of the team’s sister car #42 driven by Grégory Servais in a time of 1m 26.451sec. The second row was locked out by another team, ZOSH Compétition with their #10 Ligier JS2 R ZOSH Di Environnement and the #72 ZOSH Dirob Ligier JS2 R.
The start of the race was given on Saturday morning at 08:45. The #10 ZOSH Ligier JS2 R shot into the lead on the first lap. The two drivers in #10, Jean-René de Fournoux and Hugo Rosati, put on a virtuoso performance. They were at the front of the field for almost a quarter of the race taking the chequered flag in first place to score their second victory after the race on the Bugatti circuit. “We kept up a steady pace with Jean-René,” said Hugo Rosati, “and we had a good strategy. During each safety car deployments – there were five – the leading places were reshuffled. With 27 cars on the track the overall level is really starting to rise.”
But the win almost slipped through the team’s fingers as de Fournoux explained to us. “In the closing laps I tried to lap a back-marker when he suddenly pulled over on top of me and clipped the side of the car. I thought we’d lost victory as I spun and I stopped one metre from the gravel trap! I lost 10 seconds. What a race! It’s a pity for the #72 Ligier JS2 R driven by the Robin brothers, Arnold and Maxime. They looked to be on course for victory until a car dropped water on the track in front of them and they were right on its tail. There was absolutely nothing they could do. This cost them two laps and they finished fourth. Without this incident we could have clinched a double like we did at Le Mans!”
The #42 Ligier JS2 R run by MT Racing with Dominique Lecru, the MT Racing team manager, and Grégory Servais at the wheel came home second after leading the race for 30 laps. “We had a great scrap with the ZOSH Compétition drivers,” said Servais. “Dominique was very quick. We were fighting at the front throughout the race and we had a good strategy during the safety car deployments. We can’t wait for the next round at Spa.”
The #21 Ligier JS2 R with Olivier Pernaut and Margot Laffite, who joined the team for the second round only, finished third. “We’re over the moon!” Pernaut told us. “It’s a pity that our qualifying time was cancelled. We should have started in fourth place and we finally set off in tenth. The safety cars didn’t give us any help either, but that’s motor racing. The car’s really reliable and from start to finish I was lapping in the same times. I’m really satisfied with the team who did a great job on the car. All the drivers enjoyed themselves, both professionals and gentlemen drivers. I was also delighted to share the car with Margot once again!”
Margot Laffite had her first taste of the Ligier JS2 R during free practice under the eagle eye of her father, Jacques, the godfather of the Ligier JS Cup France. “I felt at ease in the race straight away,” she said. “The Ligier JS2 R is great fun to drive and you find your marks very quickly. We had a great battle out on the track. With 27 cars you’re passing and repassing and dicing all the time. The race was pretty hectic! Alex [Alexandre Beau] who was looking after the strategic side of things for the Orhès team did a fantastic job as always. He gives the drivers lots of advice and you can really improve. I was delighted to be back on the Dijon-Prenois circuit as I had my very first race here. It was in 2004 with Salim [Salim Bouziane], before he set up the Orhès team with Olivier. It was a very important moment for me. I’m also pretty emotional about driving a Ligier as it’s a family story. I was lucky enough to have my dad here with me for this race. It was a really super experience and I’m happy to see that the ambience at the races organised by M3 is still the same!”
Only three Ligier JS2 Rs failed to cross the finishing line due to race incidents. There were no retirements because of mechanical issues. “The drivers’ satisfaction can be seen on their faces and for us it’s the best possible expression of the success of this second round,” concluded Benoît Abdelatif from Max Mamers Management, the promoter of the Ligier JS Cup France. “It bodes really well for the next rendezvous on the legendary Spa circuit.”
Top 10 positions of the second round of the Ligier JS Cup France:
1. #10 ZOSH – Di Environnement Ligier JS2 R
2. #42 MT Racing Ligier JS2 R
3. #21 Orhès Stephya Ligier JS2 R
4. #72 ZOSH – Dirob Ligier JS2 R
5. #40 MT Racing Ligier JS2 R
6. #29 Pegasus Racing Ligier JS2 R
7. #6 No Limit Racing Ligier JS2 R
8. #280 Milo Racing Ligier JS2 R
9. #44 MT Racing Ligier JS2 R
10. #46 Modena Motors Ligier JS2 R
Rendezvous for the third round on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on 24-25 May with some 30 Ligier JS2 Rs expected
Source. Ligier/Photo. Daniel Nauly