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And three at Paul Ricard!


On the podium with my two teammates – Photo Credit: Arthur CHOPIN


FRIDAY – FREE PRACTICE

Back to Le Castellet for the third round of the Ultimate Cup Series. The rain, storms and showers gave way this time to sunshine and intense heat.

The 3 free practice sessions scheduled for this Friday went well. I used them to rediscover the circuit in its long configuration compared to our first visit. After a warm-up session, during the second session I was able to pick up the pace by putting on new tires. At the end of these tests, with my teammates and Virage, we were able to define good settings on the car for qualifying but also for the race.


Golden Hour: Photo credit: Arthur CHOPIN


SATURDAY – QUALIFYING SESSION

Miguel CRISTOVAO and Julian WAGG were in charge of the first two parts of the qualification. Both gave their all and were rewarded for their efforts by each setting excellent times. Well played guys ! For the final phase of qualifying, it was up to me to take over. I was opposed to the very experienced Mathias BECHE on the track. He teamed up with Emilien CARDE and Stéphane GUERRINI on the #13 from Mirage RACING, our championship rivals. I set off, giving my all and finished in second position just behind Mathias by a few tenths. Combined with our three times, we took pole position with a 3 tenths lead over the #77, the sister car driven by Pontus FREDRICSSON and Alessandro BRACALENTE.


I am very satisfied with my performance but also confident about our chances of doing well in the race.


Concentration before the race – Photo credit: Arthur CHOPIN


SUNDAY – RACE

It was very very hot, Sunday at 3:15 p.m. for departure. Between 32°C in the air and more than 55°C on the ground, we were comfortable in the air-conditioned garages. Miguel took care of the departure. The relays were trying in this heat. My teammate rode well. So after his stint, we were close to the race leaders. Julian took over the second relay. He improved his times with each lap. He then stuck on his head again and handed over the steering wheel to me.


We were in second position, one stop ahead of the leaders. I was pushing hard from the start, improving the car's times. I took advantage of the low fuel level in the car but also of my fresh tires to attack. I was then just ahead of Mathias BECHE, with his 7 participations in the 24 hours of Le Mans. I held on under his pressure for more than 20 minutes before having to refuel to finish the race. I took a safety margin during the last part of my stint. We had a comfortable lead. We crossed the line with more than 30 seconds to spare.


Entrance on the podium – Photo credit: Arthur CHOPIN


MID-SEASON REVIEW

Now that we are at the summer break but also halfway through the championship, I can take stock of my start to the season. I'm really satisfied with it, I didn't make any mistakes over all of these first 3 meetings (going off the track, accidents, penalties). In addition, I was immediately in the rhythm but also more and more comfortable with the car as well as in analyzing its behavior.


We are leading the championship with a clear advantage over our closest pursuers. I can only be satisfied.


There is of course a lot of work to be done this season, but also to achieve my goal of taking the start of the Le Mans classic by 2023-2024.


Exit from the stands – Photo credit: Arthur Chopin


THANKS

I am taking advantage of this “break” in the championship to thank VIRAGE for the high-quality work implemented since the start of the season. Beyond the performance aspect, you have integrated me perfectly into your team, I thank you for that. We are a big family and it is only a pleasure to be among you.

I would also like to thank the ENDURANCE Sector for all the work carried out since the start of our collaboration, we have experienced some superb moments and we will experience even greater ones in the future.


I do not forget Jean-Michel JARRY and TEAM MAM for all the work accomplished since our meeting at the end of 2018.


Finally, I thank all my partners without whom this magnificent adventure could not take place.


Our eyes already turned towards the next meeting – Photo Credit: Arthur Chopin

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