United take exciting win in MLMC at Monza


With three Safety Car and two Full Course Yellow periods the third 2-hour race of the 2021 Michelin Le Mans Cup season at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza could never be described as dull and boring.

#33, CD SPORT, ESP, Ligier JS P320 – Nissan, Michael Jensen (DNK), Adam Eteki (FRA) 2021 Michelin Le Mans Cup, Monza, Italy. Photo © John D Stevens.

The fact there were so many caution periods meant the teams were forced to change strategies, some several times, which meant the final run to the flag had everyone wondering who would be standing on the top step of the Monza podium after the chequered flag was flown.

At the chequered flag it was the no22 United Autosports Ligier-Nissan driven by Gerald Kraut and Scott Andrews that took the win, to take the first Michelin Le Mans Cup victory for the Anglo-American team.

  • The race started with the no5 Phoenix Racing Ligier of Finn Gehrsitz starting from pole position, the 16-year-old keeping the lead at the start keeping the no11 WTM Powered by Phoenix Ligier of Thorsten Kratz behind him.
  • Kratz had his own problems as the no37 Cool Racing Ligier of Antoine Doquin and the no21 Muehlner Motorsport Duqueine of Freddie Hunt were challenging for the position.
  • Lap 3 saw the first Safety Car period after the no17 Idec Sport Ligier of Patrice Lafargue spun coming out of Ascari, hitting the barrier on the outside of the track and stopping in the middle of the circuit. The cars following had to try and avoid the stationary car but the no16 Team Virage Ligier of Matthias Luthen spun and hit the barriers hard, spearing across the track and collecting the no20 Grainmarket Racing Duqueine of Mark Crader. All of the drivers were OK but the SC period lasted 16 minutes to clear the cars and the debris.
  • At the restart the race saw the no5 Ligier pull out a lead once again as Gehrsitz pulled away as the no11 and no37 cars battled for 2nd place and no21 Muehlner Motorsport and no12 Black Falcon cars battled for 4th.
  • ·On lap 13 the no12 Black Falcon Ligier passed the no21 Duqueine of Freddie Hunt for 4th spot.
  • On lap 16 Hunt dived down the inside of the no12 Ligier at T1, getting ahead but was unable to stop before hitting the no37 Cool Racing Ligier, a move he later received a drive through penalty.
  • Meanwhile the no30 Frikadelli Racing Team Ligier of Klaus Abbelen spun at T7 and rejoined but was going slowly towards the pitlane. The Ligier stopped at pit entry and the second Safety Car period was declared, which last 10 minutes.
  • The no5 and no11 cars pitted from 1st and 2nd, promoting the no37 Cool Racing into the lead.
  • The race had not long resumed when the no15 RLR M Sport Ligier of Mike Benham locked up on the entry to Parabolica and ended up beached in the gravel trap. This brought out a Full Course Yellow to recover the car, which lasted 4 minutes.
  • Another Safety Car period followed at the top of the hour when the no18 Muehlner Motorsport Duqueine stopped on the outside of T2 with a wheel at an angle.
  • Another 10-minute SC period followed which saw many of the competitor pit.

#37, COOL RACING, CHE, Ligier JS P320 – Nissan, Antoine Doquin (FRA), Josh Skelton (GBR) 2021 Michelin Le Mans Cup, Monza, Italy. Photo © John D Stevens.
  • The order had been duly shaken up and it was now the no71 Team Virage Ligier of Garett Grist which was leading the race from the two United Autosport Ligiers, with Wayne Boyd in the no23 car leading Scott Andrews in the no22 Ligier.
  • On lap 33 Andrews got ahead of Boyd to take second place while Grist set three fastest laps in succession on laps 33, 34 and 35 to pull out a small gap to the Australian in second place.
  • With 20 minutes of the race remaining Grist held a 12 second advantage to Andrews as the traffic played its part.
  • Grist looked like he was heading for the chequered flag, but he had to pit for the mandatory fuel stop and had to hand the car back to Rob Hodes, who needed to complete his driving time.
  • Scott Andrews took the lead with the no22 Ligier of Wayne Boyd in second, the no37 Cool Racing Ligier of Josh Skelton in third and the no7 Nielsen Racing Ligier of Colin Noble in fourth.
  • Noble passed Skelton on lap 50 as the no37 Ligier went wide at T7 and Noble took the position.
  • With 6 minutes on the clock another FCY period was declared as there was debris on the track at pit entry.The leading cars pitted and rejoined the track as the race went green with 3 minutes left on the clock.
  • At the chequered flag the no22 United Autosports Ligier crossed the line 7.6 seconds ahead of Colin Noble with the no66 Rinaldi Racing Duqueine of Nicolas Varrone taking the final podium spot
  • However, the no7 Nielsen Racing Ligier was handed a drive through penalty for refuelling outside of the mandatory pitstops, which was converted to a 30 second penalty after the race. The no66 Rinaldi Racing Duqueine was also given a post race penalty of 10 seconds after the car was started with external assistance during one of the pitstops. This meant the no66 Duqueine was classified second and the no7 Ligier third.
  • CLICK HERE for the result from Round 3 at Monza