Hard fought end of the Ultimate Cup Series season in Paul Ricard

Team Virage travelled to the home of the French F1 Grand Prix, the Le Castellet race track, to compete the final round of the 2019 Ultimate Cup Series.

For his local race, Alain Costa was back in the seat of the #95 alongside his usual team mate Philippe Cimadomo, who recently scored his first top 5 in Magny-Cours.

On the #94’s side, Julian Wagg and recently-crowned GT4 South European Series Miguel Cristovao had the hard task to help Philippe Valenza defend his potential place on the general standings’ podium. For Cristovao, it was a first experience both on the track and with the LMP3 car, despite being one of Portugal’s most experienced driver.

The qualifying session were not the most satisfying on both sides of the garage, with the #94 ending in P8 and the #95 in P13.

For the race, it was decided that Alain Costa will start on the #95, while Miguel Cristovao would have a baptism of fire by starting the race on the #94. While the track was wet when the pitlane opened, a strong storm a few minutes before the green flag forced the race director to decide for a safety-car start. While it seemed the safety-car was due to stay for a while, both Cristovao and Costa were called in to complete their first mandatory pitstops. Both cars exited the pits virtually in the two first positions.

Close to one hour of racing, Cristovao and Costa stopped for slick, the latter also leaving the seat to Cimadomo, who immediately proved himself the quickest on track with the dry weather rubber. Wagg then jumped into the #94, continuing Cristovao’s good beginning of race by virtually fighting for the Top 3. The Swiss-American gave the wheel to Valenza with one hour to go, and no more refuelling needed. Potentially on the podium thanks to a good strategy and faultless drives, the #94 unfortunately lost all hope of trophy when a safety-car came in with 30 minutes to go, allowing the cars in front to refuel in SC conditions.

In what became the tightest ever finish in Ultimate Cup Series, the #94 finished in 6th position, while the #95 rounded out the Top 10 and also scored a AM podium, in which they finished 2nd.

This result allowed Valenza to finish on the 3rd place of the General standings, a great result for the Spaniard’s first full season in sportscars.

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