Paul Ricard ELMS: SMP duo give Dallara first victory

Russian pair Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan delivered Dallara its first LMP2 race victory of the season in the Paul Ricard round of the European Le Mans Series.

The SMP Racing duo, who are also both racing in Formula V8 3.5 this season, took the chequered flag a full minute and 27 seconds clear of their nearest competitor, the #22 G-Drive Racing Oreca of Memo Rojas, Nicolas Minassian and Leo Roussel.

Helping to set up Orudzhev and Isaakyan's win was an early full-course yellow period in which the #27 Dallara stayed on track while their rivals pitted - meaning they ultimately stopped one time fewer than the rest of the LMP2 field.

Roussel had closed the gap to the SMP car to 20 seconds before pitting the #22 Oreca with 22 minutes left on the clock, during the penultimate full-course yellow period.

Third on the road was the #32 United Autosports Ligier, which was delayed when Hugo de Sadeleer was tapped into a spin by Andrea Belicchi's #47 Dallara early on.

However, de Sadeleer, along with teammates Will Owen and Filipe Albuquerque, was later hit by a 30-second time penalty for not respecting full-course yellow speed limits, which dropped the trio to fifth.

Inheriting the final podium spot therefore was the #39 Graff Oreca trio of Enzo Guibbert, Paul Petit and Eric Trouillet, a lap down on the winning car, followed by the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier.

The pole-winning #21 DragonSpeed Oreca of Ben Hanley, Nicolas Lapierre and Henrik Hedman faded to seventh, behind the second of the Graff cars.

United Autosports took victory in the LMP3 category with American duo John Falb and Sean Rayhall securing a second class win of the season by 2.4 seconds from Inter Europol Competition pair Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe.

Completing an all-Ligier class podium was the M.Racing-YMR trio of Alexandre Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci, who were delayed by a drive-through penalty for Cougnaud jumping the start.

In the GTE division, Duncan Cameron, Aaron Scott and Matt Griffin picked up a second successive victory in dominant fashion in the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE.

More than a minute behind in second was the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin, driven by Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and WEC regular Nicki Thiim, followed by the #66 JMW Ferrari of Jody Fannin, Jonny Cocker and Robert Smith.

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Egor Orudzhev , Matevos Isaakyan
Teams SMP Racing
Article type Race report