Prema Racing has emerged victorious in the opening round of the 2022 European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet. Reigning champion Louis Deletraz led the team to victory, standing on the top step of the podium alongside teammates Ferdi Habsburg and Lorenzo Colombo. The race was filled with excitement and strategic challenges, with multiple Safety Car periods and Full Course Yellows. Prema Racing’s no9 Oreca finished 10.9 seconds ahead of the no19 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca, driven by Sophia Floersch and Bent Viscaal. The no65 Panis Racing Oreca rounded out the podium in third place.
Thrilling Battles in Different Classes
The Pro/Am class victory went to the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca of Salih Yoluc, Jack Aitken, and Charlie Eastwood, who finished 6th overall. In the LMP3 class, the no17 Cool Racing Ligier of Maurice Smith, Michael Benham, and Malthe Jakobsen clinched the win, with Jakobsen closing a large gap and crossing the finish line just over 3 seconds ahead of the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier. The LMGTE victory was claimed by the no32 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari, driven by Nico Varrone, who held off a determined challenge from Gianmaria Bruni in the no77 Proton Competition Porsche, winning by the narrowest margin in ELMS history.
Throughout the race, there were several incidents and interruptions that added to the excitement. The no31 TDS Racing x Vaillante Oreca led the field into the first corner, while the no9 Prema Racing Oreca of Lorenzo Colombo moved ahead of the no22 United Autosports Oreca after running wide at T1/T2. The no3 United Autosports Ligier spun off at the last corner, causing several cars, including the no69 Oman Racing by TF Sport Aston Martin, to go off. Safety Car periods were deployed to recover stranded cars, and the race went back to green multiple times.
In the LMP2 Pro-Am class, the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca emerged victorious after a hard-fought battle. The no19 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca led the race thanks to a change in strategy but had to pit for fuel near the end, allowing the no9 Prema Racing Oreca to take the lead and secure the win. The LMP3 class saw late-race drama as the leading no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier suffered engine difficulties, allowing the no17 Cool Racing Ligier to make a stunning comeback and claim the victory. In the LMGTE class, the no32 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari held off a strong challenge from the no77 Proton Competition Porsche to win by a mere 0.120 seconds.
The 4 Hours of Le Castellet provided an exciting start to the 2022 European Le Mans Series, with Prema Racing taking the overall victory and several thrilling battles unfolding in different classes. The next round of the series will take place at the Red Bull Ring on May 15th.
CLICK HERE for the result for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet.