More misfortune for Cool Racing as Panis Racing finish fourth
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgique, September 27th - The “roller-coaster of the Ardennes”, Belgium’s iconic Spa-Francorchamps racetrack is not for the faint-hearted.
It rewards brave drivers who dare to keep their foot down! It was hardly surprising therefore to see Yifei Ye, the defending European Le Mans Series champion, grab pole position for Cool Racing at the penultimate round of the 2022 ELMS season. His performance provided yet further proof that Nicolas Lapierre’s Swiss team is especially competitive this year, despite the incredibly high standard in the series. Panis Racing was not to be outdone, however. Olivier Panis’ team managed to secure third place on the starting grid thanks to Nico Jamin’s time in qualifying in the no.65 Oreca. In the race itself, Cool Racing looked like they were well on course to claim their first win of the season and pull off the weekend’s surprise result. Unfortunately, the run of bad luck that the team has suffered all year continued in Belgium. With Nicolas Lapierre leading the race at the halfway stage, their hopes of victory were dashed when a rival car came into contact with their prototype, causing a right rear puncture.
It was a very much a case of what might have been for the team, especially as Lapierre-Kruetten-Ye then fought back valiantly to claim fifth place, clear proof of their on-track pace. Cool Racing also started on pole position in the LMP3 class for the fifth time in as many rounds in 2022 thanks to the blistering qualifying pace of young Danish driver Malthe Jakobsen. Sadly, his team-mate Maurice Smith also suffered a collision with another LMP3 car during the race. Of the Elf-backed teams, in the end it was Panis Racing that fared best during the weekend in the Belgian Ardennes. With its three drivers, Nico Jamin, Job Van Uitert and Julien Canal finishing fourth whilst Prema Racing’s crew (Correa, Deletraz & Habsburg) – their main rivals for the title – could do no better than third, Panis Racing still has a chance of winning the title at the final round of the championship.
The consistency of Panis Racing and their drivers mean that the team is only twenty-four points behind Prema Racing, current leader of the standings, ahead of the final round of the championship at Portimão, Portugal, on 16 October. In the Algarve, Cool Racing will also be aiming to beat Inter Europol Compétition to the LMP3 class title, with their crew of Jakobsen-Smith-Benham.