L&T Motorsport

Formula V8 3.5 Race 2 Austria – Strategy pays off for Panis

A wonderful strategic call gained a win for Aurelien Panis in the second race of the Formula V8 3.5 round in Austria. Matevos Isaakyan started from pole position, which was a surprise given he had never finished a race in the top 10 this season. He also became the youngest ever pole sitter in the history of the series. He was comfortably clear after the first corner, clear of Louis Deletraz and Matthieu Vaxiviere. The rest of the field ran in formation, other than Vitor Baptista running wide and dropping back.

To the surprise of most Isaakyan ran clear of the field in the early laps, with the main battling occurring in the midfield pack, Alfonso Celis made an impressive move on Rene Binder, who struggled in the heat of battle. Elsewhere, title protagonists Roy Nissany and Tom Dillmann enjoyed a tense battle, until the safety car emerged after gentleman driver Giuseppe Cipriani spun his Durango into the gravel trap.

After the safety car period, Isaakyan maintained his advantage, with not many changes through the field. Soon after the mandatory pit stops were taken, where Celis and Aurelien Panis were first to stop. Isaakyan had a huge moment in the esses prior to his stop, making a great save to keep the lead. Deletraz was the first of the lead pack to stop, having a significantly better stop than team mate Pietro Fittipaldi, with a sticky wheel nut. Worse came for Binder, who stalled the engine and dropped back.

Deletraz ¬†and Vaxiviere were jumped after the stops by Panis, whose crew came up with a super stop. Isaakyan meanwhile stayed out extremely long on his first stint, as did Dillmann and Egor Orudzhev. Isaakyan didn’t have the quickest stop, and was also jumped by Panis, who took the overall lead of the race. Dillmann benefitted by staying out longest, leaping to second, ahead of Isaakyan, Deletraz and Orudzhev.

The following period of the race was fairly static, until 11 minutes from the end, where Nissany clipped Yu Kanamaru and broke his front wing, while Kanamaru was out as a result of a punctured tyre. Mean Orudzhev briefly took fourth from Deletraz, only to understeer wide and hand the position back. At the front, Panis remained relatively comfortable, despite a flurry of fast laps from Dillmann. Orudzhev closed up to Deletraz on the penultimate lap, however struggled to get really close in the corners.

Panis crossed the line to finish ahead of Dillmann by around a second, with Isaakyan getting a maiden podium in the series.


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