JM secures victory at ELMS season finale
Step One Motorsports athlete Juan Manuel Correa stormed to victory at the final race of the 2022 European Le Mans Series to take his maiden win in endurance racing.
Representing PREMA Racing, the American-Ecuadorian driver started the race from second after team-mate, Louis Delétraz, missed out on pole position by only 0.072 seconds.
Rainfall moments before the start of the four-hour event created treacherous track conditions but with a conservative approach, JM remained in control.
By racing with calculated precision, the 23-year-old ascended to an early lead but fell to second after being overtaken by Pietro Fittipaldi in the #43 Inter Europol Competition Oreca.
After one hour of racing, JM held third but in a strategy masterstroke, pitted when a spin for the #6 360 Racing Ligier caused a second Full Course Yellow (FCY) period.
Upon completing his stint, JM handed over to team-mate, Ferdinand Habsburg, who set out to pursue and ultimately overtake the second-placed #43 car.
A third FCY which was caused by the #47 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca allowed Habsburg to complete a strategic second pitstop and placed the Austrian at the front of the pack with a 35-second lead.
He next pitted to swap places with Delétraz who, with a supreme final stint, drove to the chequered flag to complete a winning weekend for JM and PREMA Racing.
While JM secured his first win in endurance racing in what was only his second start, PREMA secured the 2022 ELMS LMP2 championship, amassing 125 points.
“It feels good. It was a very good race, a really tricky one with mixed conditions, but we managed it well,” said JM post-race.
“I felt extremely comfortable and I even ended up with the fastest lap, which is a little bonus for me. I’m really happy to get my first win in endurance, and doing it with PREMA is really special, also helping the team to win the championship.”
“It was my main goal, and we got that done. I’m very pleased. A big thank you to the whole team and my teammates. It has been one hell of a ride!”