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Fourth place for Leimer in Sepang

Fabio Leimer got his and Racing Engineering’s 2012 GP2 Series campaign underway with a strong haul of points in the opening race of the season, as he took the chequered flag in fourth position, having run as high as second during the early stages.

The Swiss driver started the race on a set of used tyres and this meant that he was unable to match the pace of Razia, who was the race leader. Off the start, Leimer had jumped from fifth on the grid and into second, and set about defending his position.

By the end of the sixth lap, Leimer was demoted to third by Pole Position man Valsecchi, and he made his mandatory pistop on lap ten and after his stop, he was battling for the final podium position with Chilton and Coletti.

For the next twenty laps, the three drivers would fight over the podium position, until Chilton and Leimer slowly built an advantage over Coletti. Once the rain started to fall, Leimer was unable to find a way past the young British driver and settled for fourth, less than a second off the podium.

“I think we made the best out of it today,” said Leimer. “Due to me flat spotting a set of tires in qualifying, we were forced to change our strategy for this race and this was a big disadvantage. I had to start the race on the set of tires I used in free practice and they were quite used already.

“Therefore, until the pit stop, I was slower and I lost lot of time. It was important I had a very good start as otherwise I would not have been able to hold on to 4th place. Once I pitted, everything was back to normal and much, much better. I tried to overtake Chilton at several occasions, but pitting so early also meant I needed to manage my tires well during the second part of the race.

“Tomorrow everyone starts on the same with a new set of tires. But usually there aren’t too many changes during the Sunday races, but if have a good start again and am able to attack during the opening laps, we will see what’s possible.”

For team-mate Nathanael Berthon, he lined up eighteenth on the grid but the opening lap saw him climb five positions to thirteenth, which became fourteenth on lap three after Marcus Ericsson moved ahead of him.

During the pit stop cycle, Berthon moved up the order to fifth before dropping back to thirteenth once he had pitted. He moved up to twelfth on lap twenty two, when he took Rio Haryanto and he moved up to eleventh during the final few laps to cross the line half a second off tenth and the final point.

“Well, the race was much better than qualifying,” explained Berthon. “I had a very good car and was able to fight for positions. I knew that I needed to manage my tires very well at the beginning of the race as we decided to pit very late.

“I had a good pace, but was not pushing too much at the beginning. After the pit stop, I knew I had to push and be really quick. I overtook many cars and the pace was there. It’s bit frustrating that in the end I could not score a point. Tomorrow I have the opportunity to have such a good race again. And I will do everything possible. It’s important for me to start the next races from the front – everything starts at qualifying. If I do a good job in qualifying, I can be very, very strong during the next feature race.”

Third row start for Leimer in Malaysia

Fabio Leimer

Fabio Leimer proved himself to be one of the fastest drivers around the Sepang circuit in Malaysia as the Racing Engineering driver secured himself a third row start for the opening race of the 2012 GP2 Series.

Practice and Qualifying for 2012 has been made that bit more interesting with the introduction of two different compound tyres from Pirelli. Each driver has been allocated three sets of hard drivers and one set of medium compound tyres.

With the introduction of the two types of tyre, the decisions which had to be made: do the drivers use their medium compound tyre in either practice or qualifying and if yes, at what stage, or do they go for a quick lap early on to avoid the traffic, or wait until the end and waste a set of tyres in traffic.

Both Racing Engineering drivers, Leimer and team-mate Nathanael Berthon used the thirty minute practise session to continue the set up work on their cars and they would up eleventh and fourteenth fastest as neither driver went for outright speed.

Qualifying was held in dry conditions and after the opening ten minutes, Leimer had shown his speed by slotting into P2 on the grid, as most of the teams’ had used the hard option Pirelli to secure a banker lap time.

Traffic then proved to be an issue and Leimer would get caught out by drivers getting their tyres up to temperature. Leimer was on course for Pole Position as he charged down the back straight. He caught two cars that were warming their tyres up and this hampered his progress, as he locked up under braking for the final corner.

His effort earlier in the session was good enough for fifth on the grid, and leaving him within a tenth of Pole Position, while the top nineteen drivers were covered by less than a second.

Leimer said about his qualifying session: “This was really tight. I made two silly mistakes on both my fast laps. I was faster on the option tires and improved my sector times, when I hit some traffic in the last sector, but then I missed my braking point.

“Pity as I could have set a faster time without this mistake. It wasn’t too bad for my first time in Sepang though and I think there was a bit of an advantage for drivers like Valsecchi, who already raced here before. Overall I am satisfied. Free practice wasn’t bad and we saw where we needed to improve, which worked out quite well.

“The first five drivers in qualifying are within one tenth of a second, which is pretty close. As for the race, I think it will be quite demanding and it will be important to not make any mistakes. My goal will be to score points and if I see there is a possibility, I will try to attack, keeping in mind that I do not want to overheat the tire s. I hope for a good weekend to start the season.”

Berthon was also setting fast times in qualifying and he wound up eighteenth overall, eight tenths off his Swiss team-mate. He will be hoping to score points tomorrow, given the closeness of the whole field.

The French driver said after qualifying: “We expected qualifying to be much, much better than this, especially after free practice where I was quick. My ideal lap time in free practice was P7 and faster than Fabio, felt good with the car.

“In qualifying, to be honest, it’s hard for me to understand what has happened and it’s a bit strange. My feeling was that I had a pretty good lap without big mistakes. I felt the car being good with a good balance. So it’s hard to understand why it was very slow.

“Fabio improved a lot from free practice to qualifying, I did not, and we had the same car. We need to look into this now to understand what has happened. I have to start tomorrow’s race from the back, but I will do my best as usual. I am sure we are strong in the race and I like to overtake cars.

“My goal has to be finishing in the top 8 to have a chance on Sunday due to the reverse grid rule. It will be a long race where a lot can happen. Tomorrow is another day. I am sure we have a good car to do a good job.”

The first race of the season will be run over 31 laps, getting underway at 11am Malaysian time and will be live on Sky Sports F1 from 01.55 UK time.

Leimer Secures Pole for Racing Engineering in GP2 Final.

Racing Engineering secured the perfect start to the non-Championship, season concluding GP2 final at Abu Dhabi as Swiss driver Fabio Leimer secured Pole Position for the Spanish outfit.

The opening day of the GP2 final at the Yas Marina circuit took place under dry and sunny weather conditions and the morning free practice session saw the teams’ drivers, Leimer and Nathanael Berthon, immediately on the pace.

At the end of the morning session, Leimer was second fastest with the time he had set with fifteen minutes remaining and he took his morning practice form into qualifying, where on his first attempt, he went fourth fastest.

The best was yet to come from the Swiss racer, as on his second qualifying run towards the end of the session, he bettered his original time by half a second to move to the top of the times. His 1m49.363 wasn’t bettered by anyone else in the field during the closing stages.

Leimer said after qualifying: “Everything went really perfect. We already saw we were quick during free practice and that everything would be possible in qualifying. I also knew that I myself could still go quicker. In qualifying everything fell into place and I would like to pass a big thank you on to the team as they gave me a really, really good car. I am really happy as it was actually my last possible lap when I set the fastest time. After that we had the red flag and there were no possibilities to improve anymore. I am also really happy as this is my first pole position. Now we will see what’s possible for tomorrow’s race, but the most important thing is to start in front. I am really, really happy.”

Team-mate Berthon ended the free practice session seventh fastest and within half a second of Leimer’s time. Come qualifying, the French driver didn’t have the same luck.

He was close to the top ten after his first run but his second run saw him gain a few hundredths of a second, before the red flags were shown. Once the track went live, Berthon was unable to improve and thus finished seventeenth overall.

Berthon was pleased with how Free Practice went but not so happy with qualifying, as he explains: “Free practice was really good today. I was not pushing to the maximum and therefore it was not so bad. In qualifying I didn’t have any clear lap, but I guess it was the same for everyone. I have to push more in the next qualifying, if there is another race in the future. I am not satisfied with today’s qualifying result, but the lap was not terrible and I am not so far away. I am sure it will be better in the race.”

With qualifying being a close run thing – Berthon in seventeenth was within a second of Leimer’s session topping time – tomorrow’s race is set to be spectacular and with Leimer up at the front, he is expected to be one of the favourites.

Racing Engineering President, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon is pleased with how the day went for the team: “Another incredible performance from Fabio. His final attempt for pole was the right one and he was able to pull it off. When you need the best of him, he can deliver. What a talent, especially with such a strong line-up of drivers this weekend. As for Nathanaël, sadly traffic and some small mistakes did not allow him to show his full potential as in testing in Barcelona and this morning. Although, I am not too worried since I think tomorrow he will show his full potential and plough through the field. He has the talent to do it. Once again, I want to thank everyone in the team for a wonderful job. Now let’s get ready for tomorrow, where it really counts.”

Racing Engineering Confirm Barcelona Line Up.

Racing Engineering has confirmed their driver line up for the second of the post season GP2 tests, due to take place at Barcelona next Wednesday, 19 October and Thursday, 20 October.

Two weeks after the first post season test, the series hits the track again and for the upcoming two day test, Racing Engineering have confirmed two drivers for the two days.

Fabio Leimer, who dominated both days of the Jerez test, will test for the team alongside former Racing Engineering driver, Nathanael Berthon.

Twenty one year old Leimer tested for the team at Jerez and finished fastest in three out of the four sessions.

He made his GP2 debut during the 2009/2010 Asia Series and he secured his first victory at Barcelona, in the 2010 GP2 Sprint race.

The 2010/2011 Asia series saw him finish fifth overall before he replicated his 2010 GP2 Victory with the victory at Barcelona this season, and he finished his season off with a podium at Monza, behind Christian Vietoris, who was racing for Racing Engineering.

Berthon has come up the ranks in Renault series, having competed in both Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and he has experience of the GP2 car, having raced for Racing Engineering in the 2011 GP2 Asia Series. He showed promise despite being unfamiliar with the GP2 Dallara Chassis.

Having finished third overall in the 2011 GP2 Teams’ Championship, Racing Engineering are looking to build on their successes of the season just gone.

Three drivers for Racing Engineering at Jerez test.

Racing Engineering has confirmed the identity of the drivers who will test for them in the forthcoming GP2 test at Jerez, Spain. The two day test marks the first action for the field since the season finale at Monza two weeks ago.

The test, being held over the 28/29 September will provide all of the teams a chance to test some new, up and coming drivers as they look ahead to the 2012 campaign.

The 4.428km Circuito de Jerez is located near the Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera is South-western Spain and it marks the home circuit for Racing Engineering, as they are based in Sanlucar de Barrameda. Jerez is the former host of both the Spanish Grand Prix as well as the European Grand Prix and it has become a popular test venue during the winter months.

Three different drivers will test for the team over the two days: the opening day will see Fabio Leimer and Rodolfo Gonzalez in the car while the second day will see Gonzalez replaced by Rupert Svendsen-Cook.

Leimer has previous experience of GP2, having raced for Rapax this season – he secured a podium at Monza behind Christian Vietoris – he came up the ranks via Formula BMW, Formula Renault and International Formula Master before making his GP2 debut in the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia series.

The twenty one year old Swiss driver secured his maiden GP2 victory at Barcelona during the 2010 Sprint race and he repeated the feat in 2011. Between those victories, he finished fifth in the 2010/2011 GP2 Asia series.

Gonzalez also has prior GP2 experience. The twenty five year old Venezuelan raced for Ocean Racing Technology in 2011. Prior to making his GP2 debut during the third round of the 2008/2009 GP2 Asia Series, Gonzalez started off in Formula Renault before competing in both the British and European Formula 3 series.

He has yet to secure a top three finish during his two seasons in the series but he has proved that he has the potential to run at the front.

The third driver, Svendsen-Cook is currently competing in British Formula 3, having made his debut in 2010. His run out at Jerez will mark the twenty one year olds first experience of the GP2 series.

Svendsen-Cook, who is of Norwegian heritage started off in karts before switching to Formula BMW. He moved into British F3 for 2010, and in his first season secured a victory and four other podium finishes. He currently sits sixth in the 2011 Drivers’ Championship with two race weekends to go.

The 2011 GP2 Series saw Racing Engineering finish third overall in the Teams’ Championship and they are looking forward to giving Leimer, Gonzalez and Svendsen-Cook their opportunity in their race winning car.

Vietoris Success Sees Racing Engineering Finish on a High Note.

Racing Engineering rounded off their 2011 GP2 Series campaign on a high note as Christian Vietoris secured the final victory of the campaign at Monza, and which ensured the Spanish outfit finished inside the top three in the teams’ Championship.

Feature Race: Vietoris Finished inside Monza Top Six.

The penultimate race of the 2011 GP2 Series took place in warm, dry conditions at Monza. At the start, Vietoris held on to his seventh position while team-mate Clos make a poor getaway and dropped two positions to ninth and the following lap, Vietoris was demoted to eighth, so the two Racing Engineering drivers were running nose to tail.

During the pit window, the two drivers were temporarily up as high as second and third and the first stop for the team came on lap thirteen when Vietoris pitted, with Clos doing the same the lap later.

Lap fifteen and the two of them were running together in eighth and ninth, Vietoris trailing Carroll by 1.5s while Clos was leading Leimer by 0.2s. Sadly for the team, any chance Clos had of a good result was taken away from him when he was given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane, while a few laps later, Vietoris benefitted from a penalty given to Parente as he moved into sixth, and by lap twenty one, he had a comfortable gap to Leimer behind.

After his penalty, Clos was down in fourteenth position but with a gap of 25s to the final point in eighth, the Spaniard wasn’t going to pick up any points in the Feature race. Even so, he chased down Ericsson in thirteenth and on lap twenty seven, he moved into thirteenth.

Clos reckons the penalty ruined his race, as he explains: I didn’t have a good start, but my race pace after was really good. Chris and I had a very good rhythm, whereas I think my car was even faster than his. I waited for his tyres to degrade more. When I entered the pits, I thought the speed limiter was already on, but this wasn’t the case. With the drive through penalty my race was pretty much over.”

The duo finished in sixth and thirteenth, and ahead of the Sprint race, Vietoris would line up third and with a chance of a final race podium while Clos, who was back in thirteenth, would look to end his campaign with some points.

Vietoris said after the feature race: “This wasn’t a very exciting race. My start was good, but not perfect. I had a safe first lap and then everyone pretty much drove at his own rhythm. Race pace was good and also the pit stop. I start tomorrow’s race from P3 and who knows, what’s still possible. A race win to finish the season would not be too bad.”

Racing Engineering President, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon said after the Feature race: “It’s a pity about the race. We are tied up with iSport in 3rd position in the teams’ championship now. But tomorrow we will fight back and with Chris starting from P3, we have good options. The whole team did a very good job and we hope that tomorrow this will translate into points.”

Sprint Race: Vietoris Signs Off in Style.

Racing Engineering signed off the 2011 GP2 Series on a high note as they secured victory in the Sprint race at Monza and with it, a top three position in the teams’ Championship.

Christian Vietoris lined up third on the reverse grid and he was able to take advantage of the poor starts made by those ahead of him to lead before the first corner – once through the first corner, he started in a close duel with Leimer for the lead of the race, while dropping those behind them.

During the opening laps, Leimer kept the pressure on Vietoris and looked to move ahead of the young German driver on a couple of occasions – but Vietoris rebuffed the attempts made by Leimer. From the sixth lap onwards, Vietoris started to pull out a slight gap, opening up an advantage of between 0.6 and 0.8s.

His Racing Engineering prepared car was working perfectly and he was able to hold the lead until the chequered flag, having led from start to finish and signing off his GP2 Campaign in the best possible way.

Vietoris reflected on his victory: “Obviously at the start the goal was to win the race, we made some changes over night, some worked some didn’t but we had a good pace and then just needed to drive to the end (laugh)!! Leimer was always in my tow so I could not get away but I managed the gap.”

After his drive through penalty in the feature race, Dani Clos lined up thirteenth on the grid and after a good start; he completed the opening lap in eighth position, just behind the cars of Esteban Gutierrez and Adam Carroll, who were sixth and seventh respectively.

Clos moved into seventh on lap fourteen and then chased down sixth placed Gutierrez over the final seven laps, and finished half a second off the young Mexican driver.

Clos reflected on his race: “It has been an intense race. Today I started well and I was able to put myself in a good position. I was very aggressive from the beginning trying to get in the points for the team; I almost managed it but was not quite able to take Gutierrez. I am happy with the third position of the team in the championship after the hard start and even though I would like to have scored more points in the Driver this year it was not to be.”

Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon is pleased to have finished inside the top three in the teams’ Championship and is ready for the 2012 season already: “A fantastic job by both drivers. Great starts, especially Chris, and a well-deserved race win for him. Congratulations to the entire team. Not only did they do a fantastic job this weekend, but also the whole season. Finishing third in the team championship is a just reward. Even if we had a difficult start to the season, the hard work paid off and we are more than ready for next year.”

Victorious Vietoris at Spa.

Christian Vietoris Splashing his way to Victory at Spa.

Christian Vietoris secured the honours in the GP2 Feature race after mastering the difficult, changing conditions in the Ardennes Forest.

Having secured a dominant Pole Position, the twenty five lap feature race started off in sunny conditions but there were threatening black clouds overhead and despite a dry racing line, offline was still damp and thus made overtaking tricky.

As the lights went out to start the feature race, Vietoris made the perfect getaway to lead from Bianchi and Grosjean. He pushed on during the opening lap to open up his advantage over the chasing Frenchman and as the rain threatened, Vietoris had opened up a 2.5s gap over Bianchi by the fourth lap.

The following five laps saw the two drivers remain static as they matched each other’s times and as the skies darkened, the entire field stayed out on track to ensure that they wouldn’t have to make two pit stops.

Lap thirteen saw the hit the circuit and this signalled the start of the pit stops and the following lap, Vietoris, Bianchi and Grosjean all pitted to switch to wet tyres. The Racing Engineering team performed a slick pit stop to ensure they retained their race lead and at the end of lap fifteen, the young German had stretched his advantage to 3.2s.

With the rain coming down harder, the Safety car was deployed to help with the clear up of a number of spinners and accidents, this negating the advantage Vietoris had built up. Once the Safety car had been withdrawn, Vietoris made the perfect restart to secure the honours in difficult conditions.

Vietoris said after the race: “I had a quite good start and a very good first lap. I controlled the gap during the following laps. The car was very consistent and we are improving it with every race. We are competitive under all conditions, dry and wet. Good job from the team. For tomorrow I definitely want to be in the points and if it rains, I think even the race win is possible.”

Team-mate Dani Clos lined up twelfth after qualifying and he had an exciting race as he worked his way up the field. At the end of the opening lap, he was eleventh and chasing down Cecotto for tenth, a position which he gained a lap later. He then set his sights on ninth place Kral.

The sixth tour saw Clos lose out to Cecotto but he was back ahead of the Ocean Racing Technology driver within a lap and he then resumed his battle with Kral.

Clos made his mandatory pit stop on lap fourteen and as he was before the pit stop, he resumed behind Kral. He was clearly faster and on the exit of the Bus Stop chicane, he made his move just before the Safety Car was deployed due to the number of spinners due to the weather.

He was lying seventh behind the Safety Car and with the one hour time limit approaching; there was enough time for a one lap sprint to the finish.

At the restart, Clos was lying sixth after a driver ahead of him had retired. At Eau Rouge, he looked to take fifth from Hartley but the spray meant that his view was nonexistent and he settled for sixth.

Speaking after the Feature race, Clos said: “My start was good considering that I had to start from the wet side of the track. You could see a big difference between those on the right and on the left side. The opening laps were quite intense with several passes. I was also overtaken, but took back the position. Then I was waiting for the rain, everyone came in the same lap. The team did an awesome job at the pitstop. I had good opportunities to overtake and took 6th place. When the safety car left, Hartley brake tested me twice which is quite dangerous given the fact that the visibility was so low. Good job and we have a pretty good car. Tomorrow good things are possible.”

Racing Engineering President, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon added: “What a great job from the whole team today. The drivers drove a difficult race in extreme conditions and did it wonderfully. The mechanics made a perfect pit stop for both cars and the engineers really nailed the set up. Congratulations to everyone for getting both drivers in the points and a win for Christian. Now, after some celebrating, let’s get ready for the race tomorrow since both drivers have a chance to be on the podium and hopefully another win.”

Picture Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Racing Engineering See Vietoris Dominate Spa Qualifying.

Christian Vietoris Heads Towards P1 in Spa Qualifying.

Free Practice at Spa-Francorchamps this morning was a mixed conditions session and the fastest times of the thirty minute session were set towards the beginning of the session. The GP2 field found the track damp as they left the pit lane on slick tyres, despite the forecasted rain before the end of the session.

A crash early in the session caused ten minutes of the session to be lost and by the time the track went live again, the weather had turned and this denied most of the field the chance to set a fast lap time.

The Spanish outfit saw their drivers finish the session eighth and tenth fastest, Vietoris ahead of Clos in the times.

By the time qualifying came around, the weather over the Ardennes Forest hadn’t improved and the half hour qualifying session got underway with light rain falling and the entire field using the Pirelli wet weather tyre. The track conditions were extremely difficult with plenty of standing water, this creating a lot of spray which made visibility extremely poor.

From the opening minutes of the session, Vietoris was one of the front runners. Within a couple of laps, the young German had moved to the top of the times in his Racing Engineering prepared Dallara.

As the drivers all got used to the track conditions, it soon became clear that the battle for Pole would be between four drivers; Vietoris, Filippi, Pic and Bianchi – these four drivers were the fastest four drivers out on the track.

As the half hour session drew towards its conclusion, the battle for P1 became a two way fight between Vietoris and Filippi, with the German driver coming out on top at the end of the session, having set a time which meant he topped the times by 1.434s – Vietoris Pole time being a 2:18.345s.

Vietoris said after the session: “This was fun from the first minute on. We were so much faster than anyone else. In the wet there is really very little we can still improve. I had several good laps but wasn’t expecting pole with such a big time gap. Maybe we can win tomorrow’s race.”

Clos had a difficult session as the Spaniard could only muster the thirteenth fastest time of the session – despite being inside the top ten for the majority of the session, and he had a problem with the radio. He had to slow down for an abandoned car which meant he had to back off.

The setback won’t put the young Spaniard off though and he will be determined to work his way up to a good grid position for Sunday’s sprint race.

Clos said after qualifying: “It’s a real shame as my last lap was really fast. I improved my first two sectors and saw that at the end of the last sector there was Pic on the side of the track and it took a long time for his car to be removed. Thanks to this I lost many positions and I am sure I could have been in the top 3 together with Chris, we have the potential. I had a problem with my radio, so I didn’t know how much time was remaining and this was my last lap.”

Racing Engineering President, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon added: “Fantastic performance from both drivers today. Chris’ pole position by nearly 1.5 seconds shows what both, the driver and the team, can come up with. While Dani was doing a very good job, his qualifying was cut short by Pic stopping next to the track while Dani was on his fast lap. Once again, great job from everyone in the team. Now let’s think about tomorrow.”

Picture Credit: Drew Gibson/GP2 Media Service.

Vietoris Secures Sprint Race Pole Position.

Dani Clos Racing To a Top ten Finish in Hungary.

Racing Engineering will see Christian Vietoris lead away the rest of the field when the GP2 Sprint race gets underway tomorrow morning, having worked his way up from thirteenth on the grid to take the chequered flag eighth, and with it the final Championship Point.

By the end of the opening lap, Vietoris has risen from thirteenth on the grid to tenth while team mate Dani Clos, who had started sixteenth was right up with Vietoris in eleventh.

Lap three saw Vietoris inherit ninth after Esteban Gutierrez dived into the pits – he was soon involved in a battle with the other Lotus ART car of Jules Bianchi. Both drivers were setting almost identical lap times, it was left to Vietoris to force a mistake out of Bianchi.

The tenth lap saw Clos right on the tail of Vietoris and he looked to move ahead of his German team-mate, a move which proved unsuccessful. Clos made his mandatory stop on lap thirteen and he rejoined the action seventeenth; Vietoris pitted two laps after Clos and he rejoined in fifteenth.

Vietoris said about his race and when to get the pit call right: “I had a good start and a good first lap. During the following laps I had a lot of contact with the team to inform them on the state of the tyres and find the best moment for the pit stop. Initially it looked as if we came in too late, but it turned out to be the right strategy. Tomorrow I start from pole. We have made good improvements during the season and there are only some one or two more steps necessary. The tyre situation is difficult for everyone and my goal is to finish tomorrow’s race on the podium.”

All but one pitstop had been made by the half distance point and Clos had got ahead of Vietoris and was running in ninth, 0.4s off of van der Garde and 2.5s ahead of Leimer. Vietoris was down in twelfth, a few tenths behind Bianchi but with a 1.3s advantage over Josef Kral.

The final pitstop was made on lap twenty one and by this point, Clos was eighth while Vietoris was less than five seconds behind in eleventh position. Clos was part of as three car train fighting over sixth position, less than a second covered Sam Bird, van der Garde and Clos.

Soon, it was six for sixth as the three ahead of them slowed each other up, allowing Bianchi, Leimer and Vietoris to close in and join in the action.

Lap twenty seven saw Clos gain seventh from Bird and a lap later, it was the turn of Vietoris to make a move, this time on Leimer as Bird visited the pits. With ten laps left, Clos was in a race of his own in ninth as van der Garde had pulled 4.3s clear while Bianchi was 2.3s behind.

Vietoris was still duelling it out with Bianchi as the Racing Engineering driver looked to move into eighth position and the final point scoring position.

With just seven laps remaining, Clos had Bianchi and Vietoris closing him down and the three drivers were covered by 0.6s and on the thirty third lap, Clos was demoted two positions, leaving him under attack from Kral.

Vietoris had a solid five second advantage over Clos as the race drew to a close, while Clos was struggling to fend off Kral and eventually, Kral made his way ahead, meaning that the team came home eighth and tenth.

Vietoris will start the GP2 Sprint Race from Pole Position and his feature race pace could see him secure a visit to the top step of the podium while Clos will look to break into the points from tenth.

Speaking after the race, Clos said: “Well, I had a very good start and also good first laps. We were very consistent during our first stint. I was able to pass some cars and also overtook some others after the pit stop. But when I was quite comfortable in 7th position, with some 6 laps to go, I suffered from tyre degradation and this together with the fact that I lost my right mirror during the first lap, meant that I could not keep my position as I wanted. Tomorrow is another race and the goal is to score points.”

Thomas Couyotopoulo, the Sporting Director at Racing Engineering added: “The target was to have both drivers in the top 8 and we fulfilled this goal by 50%. It was a difficult race for everyone as was expected due to the nature of the track and the characteristic of the tyres. Both drivers did a good start and have been strong during the first half of the race having had a better pace than the cars around them. Unfortunately Bianchi held our boys up and we had to bring Dani in to avoid losing more time. He fought hard and moved up, but suffered during the last laps. Chris did a good job maintaining his tyres until the end and reached the top 8. Tomorrow’s 28 lap race will be another challenge for the drivers and team.”

Picture Credit: Drew Gibson/GP2 Media Service.

Racing Engineering Endure Qualifying Disappointments.

Dani Clos - GP2 Qualifying at Nurburgring.

The opening day of the GP2 Series race weekend at Nurburgring, in the Eifel Mountains, Germany began with a Free Practice session where the Racing Engineering team were quick out of the box and both drivers demonstrated their speed.

Both Dani Clos and Christian Vietoris were, from the moment the track went live, were amongst the fastest drivers out on the track. Nearly all of the cars went out on track as soon as the session got underway – the cloudy skies threatened rain but it never arrived and the session remained dry.

Lap times in the second half of the session didn’t improve much, apart from Clos who jumped up to second in the dying moments. Vietoris finished eleventh as all the teams focused on their race set ups.

Qualifying was also a dry session. On his first run, Clos was one of the first drivers to dip below the 1:41 barrier and he was provisionally ninth while Vietoris was eleventh, just a tenth behind his Spanish team-mate. Both drivers were hampered by traffic in the second sector.

Both drivers were amongst the first to rejoin the track for the second part of the qualifying session and both of them looked for an improvement on their provisional grid positions.

The second set of tyres didn’t give the behaviour which Clos and Vietoris had expected. They were unable to improve their times and had to settle for twelfth and fourteenth on the grid.

Even if their qualifying results weren’t what the team expected, the lap times by the drivers weren’t that much slower than the pace setters in the session. They will have the opportunity to move up the field to pick up points in the feature race and a better grid slot for Sunday Morning’s sprint race.

Speaking after qualifying, Clos said: “It was a complicated qualifying session. Honestly, I am not satisfied because I was slowed down by other cars on my fast lap and I had to overtake them. After that, my tyres’ performance was not the same anymore. With my second set of tyres I didn’t have the opportunity to improve my lap time. It was complicated. We start tomorrow’s race from a difficult position, but tomorrow is another day.”

Vietoris added: “My lap was OK. Maybe there would have been another tenth or two possible, but today’s qualifying didn’t go to plan. We tried a new solution on the car and it didn’t work out the way we hoped. I think the race at the Nürburgring will be difficult as it’s very hard on the tyres. However, we will now put all our efforts into preparing for tomorrow’s race as well as possible. It’s another race and maybe one with different conditions”

Racing Engineering’s Technical Director, Stefano Alessi commented on the qualifying session: “We missed an opportunity on the first set of tyres with traffic in sector 2. The second set of tyres didn’t give the same feeling as the first set. The car is behaving well from what we see. But we will have to wait and see what tomorrow’s race brings as everything suffers here on this track with hard braking areas and elevation changes. This means the balance changes a lot here. We are disappointed with these qualifying results, but continue to work hard in order to prepare tomorrow’s race.”

Picture Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.