Panis Racing delivers a sparkling performance!
After a difficult start to the week in Barcelona at the opening round of the European Le Mans Series, former F1 driver Olivier Panis’ team managed to turn things around and claim a superb second place in the race and kick off their 2021 season in style.
Things did not get off to a great start in Catalonia for the Panis Racing team. Having tested positive for COVID-19 after the prologue, James Allen, one of the three works drivers, had to miss the opening race of the season scheduled immediately afterwards. Gabriel Aubry stepped in as a last-minute replacement in the Oreca 07.
However, the French team was not to be thrown off course. In the Elf-backed car, Will Stevens produced a fine performance in qualifying to secure third place on the starting grid. In the race, Julien Canal put in a solid first stint before handing over to Will Stevens. The former F1 driver picked up where he had left off in qualifying to grab second overall, whilst Gabriel Aubry finished the job, securing the runner-up spot for the crew after a high-speed four-hour race over the 4.675 km-long Barcelona-Catalunya race track.
“When you look at the performance produced during the race and especially during the pit stops, I have to be very happy with today’s result, all the more so given that the standard in the field is even higher than last season,” commented a delighted Olivier Panis. “Our three drivers were impressive today and thoroughly deserved to finish on the podium. Julien Canal has stepped up another level this year and produced a very solid performance during his double stint. Will Stevens was in majestic form today, managing to make up 30 seconds. He gave absolutely everything before handing over to Gabriel Aubry. Despite stepping in at the last minute, Gabriel gave his all and did an excellent job. I really appreciated his attitude and commitment with us throughout the weekend.”
Meanwhile, the leading crew of Total-backed team Cool Racing – made up of Nicolas Lapierre, Alexandre Coigny and Antonin Borga – finished third in the LMP2 Pro-Am class. The Swiss team also pulled off a sensational result to win the LMP3 class, with Nicolas Maulini, Matthew Bell and Niklas Krütten. The next round of the championship will be held on 15-16 May at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Panis Racing and its drivers lie second in the overall LMP2 standings of the ELMS, whilst Cool Racing hold third place in the LMP2 Pro-Am class. Both teams backed by the Total group therefore leave Barcelona ideally placed for the rest of the season.