15 Ligiers are in action on the very fast Monza circuit in Italy for round four of the Ligier European Series, five Ligier JS P4s and ten Ligier JS2 Rs. In sports prototype, the two Italian drivers each claimed a pole position: Andrea Dromedari in the #50 HP Racing Team Ligier JS P4 and newcomer to the series, Federico Leo in the #88 of Monza Garage. French teenager, Mathieu Martins behind the wheel of the #86 Ligier JS2 R won the pole in the GT category for both races.
The morning free practice session was interrupted by four neutralisations, due to four cars going off course, two in the Ligier JS P4 category and two in Ligier JS2 R. The Italian Monza Garage team, whose name suggests they know the circuit well, made a strong impression for a newcomer in the series! John Corbett aboard the #88 Ligier JS P4 put in the fastest lap with a time of 1:57.569s. In the Ligier JS2 R category, Mathieu Martins in the #86 M Racing entry led the way with a time of 2:01.541s.
On the other hand, the first qualifying session ran without worry. Italy’s very own Andrea Dromedari in the #50 HP Racing Team Ligier JS P4 secured the pole for race 1 with a lap of 1:57.466s. He was followed very closely by Kévin Balthazar in the #81 Ligier JS P4 entered by the Belgian team, Milo Racing with a time of 1:57.552s. Australian driver, John Corbett in the #88 Monza Garage entry completed the top three.
In the JS2 R category, M Racing’s Mathieu Martins confirmed his morning form and clocked the best time of 2:00.572s on his final attempt. He got the better of Fabien Michal in the #38 HRC car, who thought he had done enough to lead the GT contingent with a lap of 2:00.678s. Nerses Isaakyan in the #17 Arctic Energy Ligier JS2 R posted the third best time in the session.
The #14 MV2S Racing Ligier JS P4 of the Marchois father and son duo, who are newcomers to the category, were not able to participate in qualifying.
The second qualifying session didn’t run as smoothly as the first, with a red flag after just five minutes. The #17 Arctic Energy Ligier JS2 R went off track and was done for the session.
Federico Leo in the #88 Monza Garage JS P4 took control of matters with a session-best time of 1:56.522s. Kévin Balthazar in the #81 Milo Racing JS P4 was five tenths behind. The Belgian driver had an equal five tenths margin to the third JS P4, that of the pole winner for race 1, Andrea Dromedari, who could do no better than a 1:57.631s.
With a category best time of 2:01.082s, Mathieu Martins in the #86 M Racing Ligier JS2 R picked up his second pole position of the day. Points’ leader, with four victories in the #74 entry of the Swiss Cool Racing team, Sébastien Baud followed just a few tenths of a second behind with a lap of 2:01.360s. Baptiste Berthelot at the controls of the #30 CD Sport Ligier JS2 R posted a time of 2:02.209s to edge out Antoine Chapus in the #46 MV2S Racing machine.
With a pole position each for Andrea Dromedari and Federico Leo in the Ligier JS P4 sports prototype category, the Italian drivers raised their game on home soil. No doubt each will make it a point of honour to win one or both races! In the JS2 R category the gaps between the front-runners promise to create some splendid battles.
Andrea Dromedari, #50 HP Racing Team, Ligier JS P4, Pole position JS P4 Qualifying 1:
“Pole position is a good start, but it is only qualifying, let’s wait for the race tomorrow! Obviously, as we are in Italy, in my country, I will try to honour its colours as best I can.”
Mathieu Martins, #86 M Racing, Ligier JS2 R, Pole position JS2 R Qualifying 1:
“I am ecstatic with this pole position. I gave it my all on the last lap. But the race is going to be hard, it is one hour, and on this circuit, you can make mistakes quickly. We will have to stay focused for the entire race. I really like driving the Ligier JS2 R. I still don’t have a lot of experience but I am starting to understand it and to control it better and better.”
Federico Leo, #88 Monza Garage, Ligier JS P4, Pole position JS P4 Qualifying 2:
“I gave it all I had in this session. I had to because my competitors weren’t slow! I think we can get a good result tomorrow because my team-mate is also fast. The Ligier JS P4 is very aerodynamic and agile in the corners, even in the tight corners. This is my first time in the car, but I know Monza well. I missed sports prototypes very much. I would like to thank the Monza Garage team for this opportunity. There are no fans because of the Covid-19, it’s a shame but we will do our best and have fun on the track!”
Mathieu Martins, #86 M Racing, Ligier JS2 R, Pole position JS2 R Qualifying 2:
“Two pole positions on this circuit, which I only drove on a simulator and not in real life, this is amazing! I’m quite confident for the race, if there are no collisions because it’s a tight circuit. I have so much support from the Institut de Pilotage and Jean-Bernard Bouvet, and everything we do in class helps me so much, especially the simulator. It enables me to adapt and drive fast here. It’s also fantastic to be in an experienced team like M Racing!”
The first one-hour race of the series on Saturday October 10 starts at 10:50 am and race 2 gets underway at 2:50 pm.