Italian squad secures first LMP2 Endurance podium
Prema ORLEN Team took home a scintillating second-place finish in the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class, securing the team's maiden podium finish in the WEC.
Making only its third start in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the first in the French twice-around-the-clock classic, the team put all the work of the last few months to fruition in the last couple of weeks at Circuit de la Sarthe.
After making it to the Hyperpole session in qualifying, the start from P5 was brilliant with Robert Kubica putting up a stellar performance. After staying clear of a multi-car contact right at the start, the 37-year-old Pole cruised to the early lead and set the tone for a front-running performance.
Not much later however, a slow puncture forced teammate Louis Delétraz to make an unscheduled stop which eventually set the team back for the rest of the race, with a tight performance level across the board making it incredibly difficult to recover.
However, the Swissman and his teammates proved relentless and fought back, step by step, until they returned to contention. Delétraz and Kubica were the driving forces behind a stunning push to the end, paired by Lorenzo Colombo, who was in brilliant shape. Despite being a rookie in the championship, the 20-year-old ran trouble-free, managing the critical grip conditions due to the higher track temperatures in the hottest part of the day.
A well-sorted team line-up and a solid team effort paved the way for an outstanding result for a single-car team, and more than that for a team at its first appearance at such a unique and challenging place.
Prema ORLEN Team now looks forward to the next round of the WEC season, which will be in its home circuit of Monza in July. The Italian-based operation will enter the event standing third in the WEC team championship.
“Looking down from the Le Mans podium was absolutely amazing. It has been a long race. A difficult one on my side, especially to manage the physical and mental aspect. In the end we were always able to keep the car in good shape, avoid any contact during the race and manage traffic very well, while still going fast enough. This is our best finish in WEC, and our first podium in the longest and most difficult race of the season. It really put us in a good mood for the next event on our home circuit at Monza. We have to keep working, keep improving, and, together with Robert and Louis, take care of the preparation, and results will come.”
“It has been my first podium in Le Mans and a great satisfaction after last year. In addition, it was the first for Prema ORLEN Team and a really good result overall. We had a positive race although Jota, I have to say, was super strong, and they really deserved the victory. I really enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen and I’m looking forward to the future! Of course, I wanted to win, but P2 is extremely important, and it can really launch us in the championship with a great boost of points.”
"It has been a great result with such a young group, featuring a lot of people who were at their first time in Le Mans. I think we can be happy with the final result. Of course, this is a tough race, a lot of things were happening, and some issues constantly kept us unsure of making it to the finish. but we managed them. Unfortunately, we were not able to fight for something more, but that’s racing. We can be happy, and I hope the first-timers enjoyed the experience. I know Le Mans is special. I hope they had a good time and will always remember these days as hard work, but also as something special."