Reigning LMP2 World Champion Julien Canal will replace Fernando Rees at the wheel of Larbre Competition’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson in next month’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening Six Hours of Spa, it has been revealed.
Canal is set to join Romano Ricci and Erwin Creed at the wheel of the LMP2 contender, after team-related budget issues forced the Brazilian out of the cockpit for the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’.
It will mark the 35-year-old Frenchman’s return to the Jack Leconte-led operation, having claimed the WEC GTE-Am title with Larbre in 2012 and also having earned three class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the French squad.
The deal is understood to currently be for Spa-only, as Canal’s full-season European Le Mans Series program with Panis-Barthez Competition is expected to take priority for the second WEC round of the season at Le Mans.
Canal kicked off his ELMS campaign last weekend at Paul Ricard, finishing 8th alongside co-drivers Will Stevens and Thimothe Buret in the team’s Ligier.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report