Aurelien Panis took his first win in Formula V8 3.5 at the opening round in Motorland, Spain in Race 2 on Sunday.
The Frenchman, who posted second quickest time in the Sunday morning’s qualifying session, took the lead from poleman Tom Dillman (AVF) at turn one. He led the race from lap 1 with his fellow Frenchman in close pursuit. A superb pit stop by the Arden Motorsport team enabled Aurelien to build a gap on Dillman to cross the line two seconds clear and take his first win in the Championship. Sunday’s event were a marked improvement on the previous day where Aurelien had qualified ninth and finished fifth, still picking up his first ten points. Aurelien leads the Championship going into Round 2 in Budapest this weekend.
Team-mate Egor Orudzhev had a less fortunate weekend. The sophomore qualified on pole for Race 1 on Saturday, however ran wide on the opening lap at the turn 8 corkscrew and damaged his front wing forcing the Russian to retire. This did not defeat Egor as he posted fourth quickest in Sunday’s qualifying session. However, a clutch issue at the start moved Egor to start from the pit lane, leaving him with a lot of work to do. The Russian retired on lap 21 having touched fellow SMP driver Matevos ISAAKYAN (SMP Racing).
Egor: “At the beginning of the weekend the car felt good. I felt good in the car straight away and the car remained good all weekend. I managed to put in pole time on Saturday but then in the first race I made a mistake, so we had to retire, even though we were leading. On Sunday, the car was still good and I qualified fourth. I think we could have put it on pole again but I didn’t manage to put a lap together. It was a decent result all the same. We had a clutch issue at the start of the race so I had to start from the pit lane and then I made some mistakes in the race, so it’s a shame the weekend didn’t finish as it started. I am happy the car is feeling good and the team is working well. I just need to put myself together and the results will come.”
Aurelien: “Saturday’s qualifying was difficult for me, I wasn’t feeling 100% in the car and I didn’t manage to put in a good lap. So I was a bit disappointed with this qualifying. The race in the afternoon was quite good. I was happy to finish top 5. I had a good start and the first lap was a bit difficult but we had good race, the car was good and it’s a nice result to finish fifth.
Sunday was a great day for me! I had a really good qualifying session and finished second, with last lap being my best. I had a good start in race two, I overtook Dillman on the first corner but it was hard from there, Dillman was quick and I was working hard to hold him off. The team did a very good job in the pit stop, they were quick and we managed to create a gap to Dillman and to hold him off to the end. I am very happy for the first weekend with Arden, big thanks to them. The car was really good, the pit stop was perfect. Now I’m looking forward to Budapest to try to continue in this way.”