Panis pulls out the stops to produce his maiden victory

Egor Orudzhev in action in Spain for Banbury's Arden Motorsport team
Egor Orudzhev in action in Spain for Banbury's Arden Motorsport team

Aurelien Panis took his first win in Formula V8 3.5 at the opening round for Arden Motorsport.

The French driver enjoyed success at the opening round in Motorland, Spain in race two on Sunday.

Panis posted second quickest time in the Sunday morning’s qualifying session, took the lead from pole-man Tom Dillman (AVF) at turn one. He led the race from the opening lap 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 Panis had qualified ninth and finished fifth, still picking up his first ten points. Panis leads the championship going into round two in Budapest this weekend.

Banbury team-mate Egor Orudzhev had a less fortunate weekend.

He qualified on pole for race one on Saturday but ran wide on the opening lap at the turn eight corkscrew and damaged his front wing forcing the Russian to retire.

But he still posted fourth quickest in Sunday’s qualifying session. However, a clutch issue at the start moved Orudzhev 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 MatevosIsaakyan (SMP Racing).

Panis said: “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 [Tom] 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.”

Orudzhev added: “At the beginning of the weekend the car felt good. I felt confident 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 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 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.”