Prema Racing takes ELMS win on debut in Paul Ricard


Italian squad Prema Racing won the opening round of the 2022 European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet, with reigning champion Louis Deletraz taking the chequered flag to get his title defence off to the perfect star, standing on the top step of the podium alongside Ferdi Habsburg and Lorenzo Colombo.

The race was interrupted early on by three Safety Car periods, and also by two Full Course Yellows, which meant that several teams altered their race strategies, and this kept everyone guessing who was going to be out in front at the end of the four-hour race.

No.9, PREMA RACING, ITA, Oreca 07 – Gibson, Juan Manuel Correa (USA), Louis Deletraz (CHE), Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) 2022 European Le Mans Series, Le Castellet, France. Photo © John D Stevens.

The no9 Prema Racing Oreca finished 10.9 seconds ahead of the no19 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca of Sophia Floersch and Bent Viscaal, with the no65 Panis Racing Oreca of Job Van Uitert, Julien Canal and Nico Jamin in third.

The no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca of Salih Yoluc, Jack Aitken and Charlie Eastwood took the victory in the Pro/Am class, finishing 6thoverall.

The LMP3 win was claimed by the no17 Cool Racing Ligier of Maurice Smith, Michael Benham and Malthe Jakobsen, with Jakobsen closing down a large gap to finish ahead of the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier of Nicolas Pino by just over 3 seconds at the chequered flag.

The LMGTE victory was claimed by the no32 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari F488 GTE EVO, with Nico Varrone holding off a determined challenge in the closing laps by Gianmaria Bruni in the no77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19.The two cars were side by side coming out of the final corner, with Argentine driver taking the chequered flag by just 0.120s, the narrowest race win ever in the ELMS.

No.32, RINALDI RACING, DEU, Ferrari F488 GTE EVO, Pierre Ehret (DEU), Nicolas Varrone (ARG), Memo Gildey (USA) 2022 European Le Mans Series, Le Castellet, France. Photo © John D Stevens.

The no93 Proton Competition Porsche finished third, with Michael Fassbender scoring his second ELMS podium in a row alongside Richard Lietz and Zacharie Robichon.