Unlucky finale in Portugal

After having scored good points in Le Mans, with the #95 on the podium and the #94 finishing P6, Team Virage travelled to Estoril, Portugal, for the last round of the 2018 VdeV European Endurance Series.

While Rattenbury and Enqvist kept on sharing the #95, the staff of the #94 was changed for this Finale. Caouette remained at the wheel and was joined by LMP2/GP3 driver Julien Falchero and Alpine Cup's promising driver Thomas Padovani, notably coached by ex-World Series by Renault race winner Sten Pentus.
At this point of the season, five LMP3 cars could still be crowned champion, Rattenbury/Enqvist among them. The Welsh/Swedish pair needed absolutely a win to take the championship.
 
From the beginning of the event, both cars showed competitiveness. While Enqvist/Rattenbury scored the 4th fastest lap time of the Free Practice day, the #94 at the hands of Julien Falchero was fastest overall, also setting a new LMP3 lap record on the track of Estoril.
 
Enqvist and Falchero were selected to qualify the cars during the 30 minutes session. While Enqvist was 9th fastest, Falchero kept the provisional pole for most of the qualifying, but eventually dropped to P4 in the last stages of the session.
 
Rattenbury and Padovani took the start on a surprisingly dirty track, with both cars being on different strategies. Rattenbury completed a few handicaps and was running in competitive lap times before an excursion off-track caused some damages to the floor and rear left wheel, forcing the car to pit for repair. On the #94, proving a very consistent pace keeping him close to the Top 5, Padovani had a spin and ended up in the gravel trap, forcing the race director to place the race under Safety-Car in order to recover his Ligier JSP3. Caouette took the wheel over the Estonian after 2 hours and was immediately competitive. With difficult visibility conditions due to the sunset and the track dirt, Caouette went a bit off in the exit of T7 and made contact with the wall. While it took the team a couple of hours to repair, Falchero was then sent back on track for a shake-down, during which he still managed to score the 2nd fastest lap time in used tyres and heavy fuel.
 
 
 
© 2018 VIRAGE group
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