Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari was the host of the second round of the European Le Mans Series 2022, and it was an action-packed race with almost thirty degrees air temperature and plenty of Italian sunlight.
AF Corse #88 with Alessio Rovera, Francois Perrodo and Nicklas Nielsen started the race from Pole Position not only in overall LMP2, but also the best LMP2 Pro/Am team, ahead of the second LMP2 Pro/Am team TDS Racing x Vaillante #31 with Mathias Beche, Philippe Cimadomo and Tijmen Van der Helm, while Prema Racing #9 with Louis Deletraz, Ferdinand Habsburg and Lorenzo Colombo started from P3.
COOL Racing #17 with Malthe Jakobsen, Maurice Smith and Michael Benham started from LMP3 Pole, with DKR Engineering #4 with Sebastian Alvarez, Alexander Bukhantsov and Tom Van Rompuy in the second position, and Inter Europol Competition #14 with Noam Abramczyk, Mateusz Kaprzyk and James Dayson in third.
Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin #69 with Ahmad Al Harthy, Marco Sørensen and Samuel de Haan started from GTE Pole Position, ahead of Iron Lynx Ferrari #83 with Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey in second place, while Absolute Racing Porsche #18 with Andrew Haryanto, Alessio Picariello and Martin Rump would start from third.
There was drama for TDS Racing x Vaillante #31, when they had to start the race from the pits, which also meant that they automatically lost a lap to all the competitors.
It was a chaotic start, where there was contact down to Turn 1, which sent COOL Racing #27 over the grass, where Jean-Ludovic Foubert had to wait for the entire field to pass, before he could go back to the asphalt.
Apart from it, all the cars survived the first lap.
Panis Racing #65 took second place in the race.
IDEC Sport #28 got a 10-second Stop & Go penalty for speeding in the pitlane – before the race! The drivers had a chance to do a couple of laps before they drove to the grid, and it was when Paul Lafargue was a bit too fast.
Kessel Racing Ferrari #32 went to the pits, but it was just a quick pitstop.
Inter Europol Competition #14 took the lead in LMP3, when Noam Abramczyk outbraked Maurice Smith in COOL Racing #17 in Tamburello chicane.
Inter Europol Competition #13 had a solo spin, after that he drove directly to the pits due to a leak from the cooling system.
There was a Safety Car when 360 Racing #6 hit the tire wall in Tosa, so Terrence Woodwards had to get help. Unfortunately, they had to retire.
When the race got restarted, COOL Racing #37 tried to attack Panis Racing #65 right away, but went over the gravel in Tamburello, but didn’t lose much time and had to merge in P4.
David Heinemeier Hansson in Inter Europol Competition #43 went over the gravel, but he could come back to the track by himself. But he fell back to P12 in LMP2.
Team Virage #51 had a solo spin in Tosa, but Rob Hodes quickly recovered.
Mühlner Motorsport #21 went off the track in Variante Villeneuve, but could come back by themselves.
Duqueine Team #30 and Algarve Pro Racing #19 had an intense camp, which lasted several laps, before Bent Viscaal in #19 overtook Memo Rojas.
Panis Racing #65 had a spin in Variante Alta, but Julien Canal quickly recovered. Canal fell back, however, from P2 to P8, before he could drive again.
Nielsen Racing #24 worked slowly but surely up the field. Ben Hanley had the advantage of driving against mostly silver-ranked drivers, but he still had to do the overtaking safely.
Prema Racing #9 got pushed over the grass when they were overlapping Team Virage #51. Luckily, Lorenzo Colombo could regain control of the car and come back to the track.
Algarve Pro Racing #47 went over the gravel in Variante Villeneuve, but John Falb quickly found the asphalt again.
BHK Motorsport #35 got a Drive-through, for overtaking Team Virage #51 before the cars had driven over the start-finish line.
United Autosports #2 had a spin in Variante Alta.
The leading Prema Racing #9 got a Drive-through, for not respecting the start procedure. But since the other teams pitted for fuel at the same lap, they kept the lead.
Proton Competition Porsche #77 had to pit with a technical problem.
Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #33 had contact with Inter Europol Competition #14, but both cars could continue, even though Christian Hook lost a lot of time before he got the Ferrari going again.
There was contact between Kessel Racing Ferrari #32 and Proton Competition Porsche #93 in Turn 7. It triggered a Full Course Yellow since #32 with Pierre Ehret was stranded on the track, while Michael Fassbender could drive back to the pits by himself, with big damage on the front.
Proton Competition Porsche #93 came back to the track, after six and a half minutes of repair.
When the race got restarted, Prema Racing #9 suddenly had the lead with half a minute, since they were lucky to pit under FCY, while the other teams pitted under the green flag, while Prema Racing #9 served their drive-through right before the FCY started.
COOL Racing #37 was second, and United Autosports #22 third.
Algarve Pro Racing #47 got stuck in the gravel in Variante Villeneuve, so there had to be another Safety Car period, so that John Falb could get pulled back to the track. Falb tried to dive past Nielsen Racing #7, but ended up in the gravel. At the same time, Eurointernational #10 went off the track in Tosa, so the marshals had to do a double clean-up, a few hundred metres from each other.
The race got restarted and everyone made the start safely.
Kessel Racing Ferrari #33 got a 10-second pitstop penalty, for the contact with Inter Europol Competition #14 earlier in the race.
Prema Racing #9 got another Drive-through, for driving over the white line at the pit exit, in one of their earlier pitstops. It sent them back to P9 – a costly mistake.
RLR MSport #15 was the new LMP3 leader, after Inter Europol Competition #14 had taken their first pitstop. There was, however, a message from the stewards: a drive-through penalty for overtaking before the Safety Car period was over.
Inter Europol Competition #43 and Duqueine Team #30 were a little too close to each other, which ended up with a spin for DHH in #43.
There was contact between Absolute Racing Porsche #18 and RLR MSport #5 in Tamburello chicane. Andrew Haryanto hit the side of Michael Jensen. While Jensen could drive himself, it required an FCY to get Haryanto’s car removed.
It got a lot of teams to pit, so they either had to refuel and/or changed their first driver out with the next in line.
There was contact between RLR MSport #5 and Team Virage #51 under the FCY period – something that shouldn’t happen since all the cars had to drive 80 kph.
COOL Racing #37 had taken the lead in LMP2, AF Corse #88 in LMP2 Pro/Am, United Autosports #3 in LMP3, and Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin #69 in GTE.
Prema Racing #9 was fast to advance in the field, and put AF Corse #88 at fourth place in LMP2 under pressure.
Absolute Racing Porsche #18 got a drive-through penalty for the contact with RLR MSport #5. They wouldn’t be able to serve the penalty since the car was stranded on the track.
Prema Racing #9 drove past AF Corse #88, with a late dive on Rivazza.
United Autosports #2 had to pit due to an engine problem.
Four-man wide in Tosa was a bit too much, where Nielsen Racing #7, Prema Racing #9, IDEC Sport #28 and AF Corse #88 all tried to overtake each other. There were problems for #88, who had to be pushed into the garage with a broken suspension. The car wouldn’t drive straight after the contact with the three other cars. Bad news for the championship-leading LMP2 Pro/Am car.
There was a close battle between IDEC Sport #28 and Prema Racing #9 through Rivazza, which ended with #9 over the gravel, losing a few seconds.
Nielsen Racing #24 went off the track in Variante Alta, but Rodrigo Sales could drive again, even though he hit the tire wall backwards.
After two hours race, COOL Racing #37 was leading LMP2, Racing Team Turkey #34 in LMP2 Pro/Am, United Autosports #3 in LMP3, and Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin #69 in GTE, with Marco Sørensen as one of the drivers.
Shortly after the halfway mark, Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin #95 managed to come up to second place amongst the GTE cars.
Prema Racing #9 got another penalty, since they had made a mistake under an earlier pitstop, This time they got a ten-second pitstop penalty in their next pitstop.
There were problems for Iron Lynx Ferrari #83, who drove slowly around the track, with a damaged rear end. She went off the track in Tamburello, followed by a spin in Variante Alta, when she tried to move over for another car. What a shame for the team, after being in second place for a long time, and then third.
There were given three 10-second pitstop penalties to BHK Motorsport #35, Team Virage #51, and Inter Europol Competition #14, who all had made a mistake under an earlier pitstop.
There were problems for Iron Lynx Ferrari #83, who lost the left rear tire in the pits. After that, the mechanics had to get the car and push it back into the garage.
Oman Racing with TF Sport had an internal battle between the two cars, where #95 got past the otherwise leading car #69.
After a long time of repair in the pits, Iron Lynx Ferrari #83 went back to the track – but drove around with smoke from the rear, when the rear fender scraped against the rear right tire.
There was a hard battle between IDEC Sport #28, COOL Racing #37 and Panis Racing #65, in the duel for the actual second place in the race. However, the leading Prema Racing #9 still had one pitstop that included the extra ten seconds.
Team Virage #51 and TDS Racing x Vaillante #31 had a collision down the hill toward Acque Minerali, then #51 hit the concrete wall and ended up in one of the gravel areas. It was an internal LMP2 Pro/Am battle. It triggered a Full Course Yellow, so the marshals could come out and get Gabriel Aubry’s car.
It was luckily a quick clean-up, where several teams managed to refuel while there was reduced speed on the track.
Shortly after that, BHK Motorsport #35 got stuck in the gravel in Variante Villeneuve, which caused another Full Course Yellow.
It got some teams to pit and refuel. For both LMP3 and GTE cars, there would be enough fuel to the finish, while the LMP2 cars would need more FCY or SC periods so that they wouldn’t need to pit again.
Panis Racing #65 led the race with less than a second, ahead of COOL Racing #37, while Prema Racing #9 was far behind, after all their mistakes and penalties.
Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 got a Drive-through due to Track Limits. The sister car #83 got a 10-second pitstop penalty because of the lost wheel earlier in the race.
Jakobsen in COOL Racing #17 had a big task ahead of him. The team hadn’t been lucky about the Safety Car and FCY periods, and thus they were many seconds away from the podium spots, that he had to try to catch in the last stint of the day.
Team Virage #51 got penalized as the guilty party for the contact with TDS Racing x Vaillante #31, and got a Drive-through. But they couldn’t serve the penalty since they stood still on the track and couldn’t continue.
The lead of the race changed when COOL Racing #37 took the lead from Panis Racing #65, with a very late dive from the inside in Rivazza. Job van Uitert in #65 pitted one lap later to refuel for the last time, and could wait to see when and how fast COOL Racing #37 could pit.
There was a late drama in the race, where Mühlner Motorsport #21 and Duqueine Team #30 hit each other on the way to Tamburello. While Richard Bradley in #30 could continue, Thomas Laurent in #21 got stuck in the gravel, which caused yet another Full Course Yellow period.
Algarve Pro Racing #19 pitted under the FCY period and fell back from third to fifth place, but they didn’t have to pit again. Prema Racing #9 managed to pit under the FCY and still keep the lead of the race, since United Autosports #22 at P2 also pitted at the same time, while COOL Racing #37 was several seconds behind.
When the race got restarted, Panis Racing #65 had a good start and went up beside COOL Racing #37, who got past again in the following Acque Minerali corner. It was an intense battle for P3, and there are still seventeen minutes left of the race.
Van Uitert in #65 went over the gravel in Rivazza and lost even more time, in the duel for the last spot on the podium.
Slowly but surely, Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 had driven up to the third place. Mikkel Jensen did everything he could to catch the two leading Aston Martin cars, but it would be an impossible task.
Algarve Pro Racing #19 went off the track in Variante Alto, where Sophia Flörsch had to pit for new tires afterwards. It cost the team three positions, after an otherwise good day.
Kessel Racing Ferrari #33 got a Drive-through for Track Limits.
Inter Europol Competition #14 got stuck in the gravel in Tamburello, after a technical problem and drove over the gravel. Thus they lost a podium spot, which they could otherwise look forward to. It triggered another Full Course Yellow, but there was only a minute left on the clock, which was equivalent to one lap at full speed.
Prema Racing #9 with Lorenzo Colombo, Ferdinand Habsburg and Louis Deletraz won the race, despite several penalties for the Italian team. United Autosports #22 with Tom Gamble, Phil Hanson and Duncan Tappy finished second, while COOL Racing #37 with Yifei Ye, Nicolas Lapierre and Niklas Krütten finished in P3.
Racing Team Turkey #34 with Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jack Aitken won the LMP2 Pro/Am, ahead of TDS Racing x Vaillante #31 with Philippe Cimadomo, Mathias Beche, and Tijmen Van der Helm, while Nielsen Racing #24 with Ben Hanley, Rodrigo Sales, and Matt Bell in P3.
United Autosports #3 with Kay van Berlo and Andrew Bentley won the LMP3 category, ahead of COOL Racing #27 with Nicolas Maulini, Jean-Ludovic Foubert, and Antoine Doquin, and COOL Racing #17 with Maurice Smith, Michael Benham, and Malthe Jakobsen in P3.
Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin took en 1-2 in GTE, with #69 driven by Marco Sørensen, Ahmad Al Harthy, and Samuel de Haan as winners, ahead of #95 with Henrique Chaves, Jonny Adam, and John Hartshorne, while Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 with Takeshi Kimura, Frederik Schandorff and Mikkel Jensen finished third.
Prema Racing #9 keeps the lead in the LMP2 championship, ahead of Panis Racing #65, and COOL Racing #37.
Racing Team Turkey #34 leads the LMP2 Pro/Am championship, ahead of TDS Racing x Vaillante #31, and AF Corse #88.
The LMP3 championship still has COOL Racing #17 in the first place, ahead of United Autosports #3 and RLR MSport #5.
Oman Racing with TF Sport #69, Oman Racing with TF Sport #95, and Rinaldi Racing #32 have exactly the same points in the GTE championship, while Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 is only one point behind. Several teams are only a few points behind the four. Absolutely nothing has been decided in GTE after the first two rounds.
Now the European Le Mans Series has a little break, where many of the teams will compete in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. ELMS itself will be back on 3 July 2022 at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Milano.
After the race, Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 got disqualified, since the car’s diffusor was outside the tolerance in the homologation. This means Kimura, Schandorff and Jensen lost their first ELMS podium. Instead, Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 with Matt Griffin, David Perel, and Duncan Cameron goes up to the third place.