The Mugello circuit was the scene of the fourth Endurance Proto race of this inaugural season of the Ultimate Cup Series. For the first time, the Ligier JS P4 made their debut in the discipline. The pilots and teams, who were present on Wednesday for the private tests, competed throughout the weekend in particularly hot weather conditions.
The debates began on Thursday with the two free practice sessions that saw the No. 16 Red River Sport by Nielsen Norma M30, driven by Bonamy Grimes and Johnny Mowlem, set the fastest times.
Earlier Friday afternoon, the pilots started the qualifications to get the pole position. At this game, Vincent Capillaire, Matthias Kaiser and Lukas Dunner were intractable in setting the best average time of 1:45.392 for the No. 26 Ligier JS P3 of Wimmer Werk Motorsport. The Norma n°16 duo had to be content with the second time less than three tenths (1:45.690) of the reference.
It is still under a blazing sun that has been with us since the beginning of the weekend that the start of the Endurance Proto race has been made. From the first laps, the fight was intense until the presentation of the chequered flag.
At the wheel of Ligier n°26, Matthias Kaiser started from pole position. The Austrian has made a good start, allowing him to get away from his opponents. the young Antoine Robert, fourth on the grid, placed the Norma n°21/DB Autosport in second place, chasing the leader. The two crews animated the race and at the pit stop game, Norma n°9/Graff Racing played the leading roles, as did Norma n°16. In the second hour, Johnny Mowlem, Gold driver, took the wheel of the car and drove away at the front, finishing his relay with more than 30 seconds advantage on the other competitors. The next part of the race saw the n°26 and the n°21 competing for victory but it was finally the leaders of the championship, Capillaire and Kaiser, as well as Lukas Dunner who won after 4 hours of racing and 125 laps completed.
In second place, Antoine Robert had a mechanical problem (failure of the left front wheel bearing) which forced the crew of n°21 to abandon. Mowlem and Grimes were second, ahead of Sébastien Page and Esteban Garcia on the Norma n°7/Graff. However, this last one lost time in the refuelling zone which was compensated on arrival (bonus of 1min10s). Page and Garcia took second place on the podium, while winning in the Ultimate category, while Grimes and Mowlem took third place.
Only one of the two Ligier JS P4 saw the finish. This is the n°450 committed by HP Racing Team and driven by Andrea Dromedari and Marzio Moretti. She finished 13th in the overall ranking.
Time for the summer break before resuming the circuits on September 27, 28 and 29 on the Valencia circuit!
Find the complete ranking of the race HERE.