Rainy opening practice for ESM and Ligier at Spa
All six Tequila Patrón ESM drivers completed laps in the two 90-minute practice sessions.
Francorchamps, Belgium – Tequila Patrón ESM logged its first official laps in its Ligier JS P2s cars during practice for Saturday’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC).
All six Tequila Patrón ESM drivers completed laps in the two 90-minute practice sessions. The added factor of rain made learning the 20-turn, 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometer) circuit and nuances of the Ligier JS P2s challenging, but the Florida-based team persevered. In total, Tequila Patrón ESM completed 35 laps around Circuit de Spa Francorchamps.
The big picture is obviously to be prepared for Le Mans.
Heavy rain greeted Ryan Dalziel, co-driver of the No. 30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier, and Johannes van Overbeek, co-driver of the No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier, during the opening session. The rain was relentless through the session as the team worked through the driver rosters.
Rain continued to fall during the second practice as Jon Fogarty, co-driver of the No. 31 Ligier, was the lone Tequila Patrón ESM pilot to drive in the session. The No. 30 team of Dalziel, Scott Sharp and David Heinemeier Hansson opted not to participate in the session to focus on completing adjustments to their Ligier’s cockpit.
On-track action resumes on Friday with an hour-long practice session starting at 2 p.m. CET/8 a.m. ET. LMP2 qualifying begins at 6:35 p.m. CET/12:35 p.m. ET on Friday.
Green flag for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps takes place at 2:30 p.m. CET/8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.
“Today was probably the most trying conditions for the team. We got the car on Monday, shook it down at Magny-Cours in the rain, and it is still raining here.
“Although I’ve been here before and competed in the 6 Hours of Spa, it was probably one of the most intimidating first runs I’ve done, with regard to knowing what to expect, hear or feel from the car. There is a lot going on.
“The most important thing is we got our Ligier race cars. We’re extremely happy with the fit and finish of them. The guys from Onroak and Tequila Patrón ESM have done a great job getting the cars built in time and reliable.
“We’re going through the drivers and making sure the seats are comfortable. We sat out the second session to work on driver comforts. It is more important at this point to be prepared for Friday and Saturday. The big picture is obviously to be prepared for Le Mans. It is good to have the Ligiers and great to have Johannes back, we definitely missed him in Silverstone. For the whole team, we’re proud of everybody to get the cars here and put on a good show.”
Johannes Van Overbeek
“It is great to be back with the team this weekend. I’m happy to be back at work.
“It was a challenging day for everyone. For those of us who haven’t been to Spa, this is a very fast, daunting, and challenging place. Add rain and a new car on to that, and it makes for an eye-opening day. The car seems to work really well.
“The setting of pine trees, mountains and elevation really add character to Spa. I love the mountains, I always feel relaxed in the mountains and being here gives me that same feeling. But this is all still very new. The whole atmosphere and vibe here at Spa is as advertised. It is electric and magical. If you think of all the famous people and races that have gone on here, it is great to race at Spa and be a part of it.”
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