The second round of the European Le Mans Series took place on the 5,793 km “Temple of Speed” Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Both cars showed good progress compared to Le Castellet, by crossing the finish line in P7 for the #24 and P9 for the #23 and by scoring respectively 6 points and 2 points.
Will Stevens on the #23 and Konstantin Tereschenko on the #24 were on track for the qualifying session, with a final P11 and P12 on the grid. A red flag put an early end to the session when both were improving.
Race of #23 car (Stevens/Canal/Binder): Rene Binder made a cautious start to keep his place and so during his whole stints. Julien Canal took over and rejoined the race in P12, with a safety-car quickly in action. But the Frenchman then made his way through P9, a place where Will Stevens ended the race after a solid driving.
Race of #24 car (Buret/Tereschenko/Hoogenboom: Only 19-years-old and for his second LMP2 race, rookie Leonard Hoogenboom handled the start perfectly. The Dutchman gained positions and moved to P9 after the first corner. He then did a 1-hour stint (34 laps) and gave the drive to Timothé Buret in P8. The French has a good pace. In his first stint on several laps he does the fastest time on the track. With 1h15 remaining, he took advantage of a full-course yellow with Konstantin Tereschenko then on track in P7. The Russian proved himself quick and solid, crossing the chequered flag at the same rank.
Sarah Abadie – Team Manager: “At the end of the day, this weekend in Monza went well. All the work done in private testing around a better understanding of the Dunlop tyres paid off. We have made a step forward in terms of performance. Our six drivers did a good job. Few small mistakes here and there but with little impact. I am very proud of our technical team who made no mistake, despite some stressful circumstances. Strategy was optimal, especially on # 24. We have two united line-up, working side by side to carry on improving the package we have. I am sure the rest of the ELMS will be successful. But now we are heading to Le Mans in two weeks. We cannot wait to live our 4th participation in this legendary race. ”
#23 Ligier JS P217 Rene Binder: P9 is not what we deserved. We have been so unlucky with the red flag, the safety car, the full course yellow and the pit stop… P6 is where we are, I think, in terms of performance. The car is quite good during all the first stints, but then we struggled in the second ones. The Ligier is very sensitive to tyre temperature, and we are not yet in the good window. But a small gain can make a huge difference.
#23 Ligier JS P217 Julien Canal: “After a difficult qualifying session disrupted by a red flag, and 20 seconds lost during a pit stop in the race, we made a good comeback into the points. We could have been P7 without this latest problem but anyway, we were very competitive compared to other Ligiers. We are now in a better position with our new partner Dunlop. It’s time to focus on my home race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year we were fighting for the LMP2 win. Up to us to do the same this year.”
#23 Ligier JS P217 Will Stevens: For sure a more positive weekend. Even if P9 is not what we aimed for, it’s more due to bad luck than lack of speed. In qualification, the red flag costs us a lot as I was improving. Same in the race when a full course yellow arrived at the worst moment. We were P6 then. We knew the bad result we got in Paul Ricard was the worst possible, and now we are closer to where we should be. The 2019 package is still very new. There is plenty of room for progress.
#24 Ligier JS P217 Leonard Hoogenboom: There are some positives coming out of this race. I had a very good start, with three places gained. I pushed as much as I could during the first stint. We made a big step forward compared to the first race and despite a high tyre degradation, I managed to defend our position. At some point of the race, we have made up to P4 before some small problems. Tim and Konstantin did a great job to finish P7 and to score the first points of the season for the #24 car.
#24 Ligier JS P217 Timothé Buret: “For his first ever start, Leonard did a perfect job and gained three places. During my first stint, the car was good. But after the safety car, it started logically to be a bit more difficult with the tyres. At the end of my two and a half stints I handed over the car to Konstantin in P7. He did a great stint. Thanks to a very good strategy by the team, we are happy to score points.”
#24 Ligier JS P217 Konstantin Tereschenko: This race was a better one than Le Castellet. All drivers did a good job. We found some more speed, we improved the package and it’s clearly a step in the good direction. It’s important to understand better how the car and the Dunlop tyres work together, and then we will be more competitive. We will score more points next time.
Source. Panis-Barthez Competition