Podium for Team Virage in Le Mans

Having missed the victory in Navarra for a last minute mechanical failure while leading, Team Virage was edging to concretise the good performance on the track of Le Mans.

Navarra's unfortunates Enqvist and Rattenbury kept on sharing the car number 95, while Valenza and Caouette were joined by American-Brazilian driver Nicholas Silva on the 94. Silva, who has been seen in Brazilian and European F3 until 2016, was making his great return on international tracks and was having his first experience of prototypes racing.
 
After having been consistently in the top 10 during the Free Practices, Enqvist qualified his Ligier JSP3-Nissan in 8th position, closely followed by a performant Philippe Valenza, 10th for his first ever qualifying in LMP3.
 
Rattenbury took the start of the 4 hours race on the 95, while Silva was chosen to start the 94 in very wet conditions. While both cars were on different strategies, Silva made his way up the field, while Rattenbury pitted early for fuel. After more than one hour of race, Silva took the lead and gave the car to Jakeson Caouette, the team taking advantage of this pit-stop to switch for slick tyres, which proved afterwards being the best decision. On his side, Rattenbury pushed his run a bit longer before giving the wheel to Henning Enqvist, also switching to slicks during his tyres and fuel pit-stop.
 
After 3h, both cars were back in the top 10, Enqvist running in a good 8th with no more pitstop to do, while Caouette was 2nd before giving his seat to Philippe Valenza. After the last driver change, both cars ended up in the same lap, Enqvist up to 5th and Valenza pushing hard closely behind in 6th. While both cars managed to climb one position, Valenza had to do a splash and dash with a few laps to go, making him going down to P6. Running in 4th, Enqvist had good hopes of a podium while catching step by step the cars running in 2nd and 3rd places. With 3 laps to go, Enqvist took advantage of the nº33's puncture to catch a late 3rd place, his and Rattenbury's first podium of the season. After so many unfortunates races, missing closely the podium in Dijon and the victory in Navarra, the Swede and the Welsh were eventually recompensed for their efforts. The 94 finished a good 6th, scoring important points for the championship.
 
The last race of the VdeV European Endurance Series will take place in Estoril on November 2 and 3.
© 2018 VIRAGE group
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