Motor On Line

A positive 5th place / Monza / ELMS
Reportagem: Muriel Belgy
Panis Racing
A positive 5th place despite an eventful race.

After a memorable podium in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the team was determined to keep up the momentum and get a good result on the Italian circuit of Monza for the penultimate race of the season in ELMS.

In this instance, Will Stevens rejoined his mates Nico Jamin and Julien Canal within his usual seat in the European championship.

P9 on the grid, the Panis Racing Oreca 07 shined in the race, taking the lead at the early stage and finally entering the top 5 after the chequered flag.

After successful free and private practice sessions ahead of the race, Saturday's qualifying session was unfortunately strongly disturbed by a puncture in the first laps. Forced to come back to the pits to change the tyres, and with only one more attempt remaining, Nico Jamin wanted to achieve a performance and reward the potential shown in practice. Unfortunately, after two very promising first sectors, his first qualy lap was slightly disturbed by a slowing down competitor in front of him in sector 3. It went even worse in his second and last lap, which was totally aborted because of the same competitor. Whereas a top 4 or top 5 was achievable, the only timed lap recorded put the team in 9th position on the grid.

At the start, on Sunday morning, the track conditions were still mixed after rain drops during the night. At the wheel of the Oreca #31, Nico Jamin made a brilliant start, showing great skills on tricky conditions, and moved up from P9 to P2 on his first lap. The Goodyear tyres played a big role too. A safety car put the race on hold after early racing incidents in the pack. When the race resumed, the race leader made a dangerous maneuver with an early braking. Unfortunately, Nico Jamin can't avoid the contact. The impact damaged the front end of the car. Highly motivated, he finally managed to overtake him and take the lead. But because of the damage, the Oreca was forced to return to the pits to change the front wing. Despite big effort by the mechanics, more than a minute was lost, as well as all hope of victory.

The bite between the teeth, Nico pushed hard to get back on top from the last position. The driver from Rouen maintained a very good rhythm on intermediate tyres and then on slicks. The team executed the strategy perfectly all along the race, particularly through three "full race yellow" periods.

After an hour and a half of racing, Julien Canal jumped into the car. He joined the battle into P7. His pace was good enough to keep major competitors, including a Gold Driver, at a good distance. At the end of his two stints, he handed over the wheel to Will Stevens, in P6.

The British driver proved his talent with not only a perfect tyre management during his stint, but also by signing some very good lap times with almost systematically the best average time. He crossed the chequered flag in P6, but an opponent's disqualification put us up to P5.

Panis Racing can nurse some regrets after the crash at the beginning of the race as a podium or even victory was largely within its reach. Nevertheless, all staff and drivers can be proud of having been able to react accordingly to regain positions and achieve their best performance of the year on the track and in the pits.

Currently third in the ELMS championship (ex-aequo), 20 points behind the second, Panis Racing has high hopes ahead of Portimao with a place on the final podium of the 2020 season as a target.

Olivier Panis - Team Principal : "First of all, I would like to congratulate the team, especially the engineers and mechanics who have done an incredible job. Unfortunately, we were victims of a maneuver we consider unsporting and dangerous despite no sanction. I think we had the potential to win given the drivers' stints, which is frustrating. Will made two incredible stints with the second best race average.

We are really happy with the work done with all our partners and Goodyear. Coming back to the championship, we are tied for third place with the Graff team. So Portimão is an important rendezvous for the whole team."

Nico Jamin – Pilote Oreca 07 #31 : " A bit disappointed after the qualification because we only finished P9. We were unlucky to suffer a puncture just outside the pits. Then on my attempt – the only one left - we faced traffic in sector 3 with a car slowing down to prepare its flying lap. We would have deserved a top 5 in qualifying.

Then for the race, we knew that we had to be more aggressive to get back where we deserved to be. I made a very good start and did a very good first lap, from P9 to P2. Then a safety car came out, but just before that, Jonathan Hirschi (in the Duqueine car) tried to surprise me by putting a big brake on just before accelerating, and it was impossible for me to avoid it. As a result, there was contact between the two cars. I pushed hard when the safety car released the race, and I took the lead, but we had to stop to repair. Julien, Will and I ran a perfect race on our way back to the front. The strategy decided by the engineers was excellent too, and the mechanics were really fast during the tyres changes, so finally we finished the race in 5th position. It's not a bad move championship-wise because we are third ex-aequo with Team Graff. Of course, we are disappointed because at least a podium was achievable. Now we move forward and focus on Portimão where we will have to do a very good race. It is one of the favourable tracks for the team, so I think we can record a very good result to keep this place in the championship, at least."

Julien Canal – Pilote Oreca 07 #31 : "It's a mixed result for us in Monza. My two team-mates did a great job on track. After an exceptional start and our second place after 2 laps, Nicolas couldn't avoid the Duqueine driver who brake-tested him, forcing us to change the front wing. Otherwise, we would have been on the verge of another podium at the very least! After that, I was able to do some very nice stints in a fight with the Duqueine car and then with my friend Nicolas Minassian from the IDEC Sport team. The battle was very intense, and I was able to keep my place throughout these two stints. Will also finished the race in a very nice way in fifth position. Another great job from the whole team for having achieved this very nice comeback. We will fight for the overall championship podium in the next round in Portimão! "

Will Stevens – Pilote Oreca 07 #31 : "Overall, it's a slightly disappointing result for us as we know we had good pace in the car. The team made the good call to start the race with Nico on inter tyres. He was looking very strong before a slight contact with the Duqueine car that brake-tested Nico. This incident put us to the back of the field, and we made a good recovery to finish P5. I was happy with my double stint at the end. The car felt good and we had a strong pace. Looking forward to Portimão next which has always been a strong track for us, so let's finish the season on a high note."


Página inicial