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R02 - Imola - European Le Mans Series Race Report

PREMA rebounds to second straight ELMS win in challenging Imola event

R02 - Imola - European Le Mans Series Race Report

PREMA delivered its second consecutive European Le Mans Series win today at Imola, with Lorenzo Colombo, Louis Delétraz, and Ferdinand Habsburg delivering a sensational victory in a challenging  4-hour run.

Starting from P3, 21-year-old Colombo was off to a quick opening stint, taking the lead on lap 1 and opening up a massive advantage. Unfortunately, the  Italian was penalized for a start formation infringement and then crossed the white line exiting from the drive-through. However, his pace was so exceptional that it almost offset the issues, confirmed by the fact that he also logged the fastest lap of the race by a considerable margin. 

When Ferdinand Habsburg went in the car, he found himself outside the top-5 but delivered an aggressive performance, quickly regaining ground. The 25-year-old Austrian put on a bold charge, chasing and passing cars until he was back in full contention for the podium. 

To make it more complicated, a  team pit-stop infringement set the #9 car a further 10 seconds back for the final driver change. Louis Delétraz was tasked with the last stint, and he did not disappoint, producing an incredibly competitive run that put the podium again in the team's sights. It didn't stop there, as a really timely Full Course Yellow situation came right before the final stop, after the main contenders had already pitted. The team re-emerged from the pitlane in the lead, and Delétraz never looked back to take home the win.

With today's result, PREMA extended its Championship lead, and with some lessons learned, the team is now looking forward to the upcoming trip to Le Mans, before going back to Italy for round 3 of ELMS at Monza. 

Lorenzo Colombo
"My stint started in a promising way, but then we received a couple of drive-through penalties: I will analyze what happened to avoid repeating the same mistakes. The car was formidable throughout the whole run, and with Ferdinand, we were able to move from P9 back to P5. Then with Louis, we got back to P3 and eventually to the lead, with a timely full course yellow. A brilliant performance from the team and my teammates, they have been fantastic."

Louis Delétraz
"I still cannot believe we won, as it was quite a crazy race, and we had two drive-throughs plus a 10-second penalty for a pit-stop issue. However, we had a fantastic car, really fast and reliable, one we could make a difference with. It's never easy when you have to finish the race, and you get the car in the position it is. The last time, it was in the lead. This time, I had to catch up. I was closing the gap with the leaders, but it was still quite considerable. For sure, the lucky timing of the full course yellow helped us today, but it was really the pace that enabled us to take the win. I want to say thank you to all the team that has been working so hard in the last few weeks. It's great to have a second win in a row in ELMS, and now I look forward to Le Mans!"

Ferdinand Habsburg
"We had a lot of obstacles today, chicanes, literally and metaphorically. Our car was really fast, and the pace was incredible, but we had a couple of mistakes on the way, things we have to look at to improve. Then, God came to save us, my prayers came true, and we got a Full Course Yellow just when we needed it the most, which allowed us to get back to where we felt we belonged with the pace. In the end, we got to get champagne and trophies. When I jumped in the car, I knew I had to push forward, and I started to attack cars. I even had a cramp in my left foot for how late I was braking! I gave all I had, and in the end, when I got out, we were ready for a podium. I took a lot of risks, but I think it was worth it. Now we get to take a couple of weeks off!"