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pic 20/05/11 Racing Engineering looking for a podium in tomorrow’s Feature Race.

Racing Engineering’s Dani Clos will start from 6th on the grid for tomorrow’s Feature Race following a very competitive qualifying session....
Racing Engineering’s Dani Clos will start from 6th on the grid for tomorrow’s Feature Race following a very competitive qualifying session.

The Barcelona weekend got under way for the GP2 teams with the 30 minute free practice session held this morning on the Montmelo circuit. Following the pre-season tests held here in April the Racing Engineering team were concentrating on fine-tuning the set-up of the cars for the prevailing conditions. For this weekend there is a new face in the number 8 car as Portugal’s Alvaro Parente has joined the team in place of Germany’s Christian Vietoris. Parente is a very experienced driver and has previously won in GP2 at Barcelona when he made a stunning entry into the formula by winning his debut race.

Free practice showed that both drivers were capable of setting very quick lap times and at the end of the session the young Spaniard Dani Clos had set the 9th fastest time just over a second away from the fastest lap. Parente showed all his experience and, despite his lack of familiarity with the 2011 specification Dallara and its Pirelli tyres, set the 14th quickest time less than 0.3 seconds behind Clos.

The 30 minute qualifying session proved once again just how competitive the 2011 GP2 Series is with the fastest 22 drivers separated by less than 1.5 seconds which underlines how important the set-up of the car is. Clos put in a number of fast laps and at the end of the session he had set the 7th fastest time less than 0.6 of a second slower than the fastest time however a post-qualifying penalty to Bianchi means that Clos will start from 6th. Parente, who was still getting used to his car, was able to qualify in 15th place just 0.7 seconds slower than Clos.

Starting tomorrow’s 37 lap Feature Race from the 3rd row of the grid gives Clos an excellent chance of scoring a very good result and he will certainly be looking for a podium finish. Parente’s experience will give him every opportunity to move up the field and gain a points scoring finish. After their disappointments in Turkey Spain’s Racing Engineering will be looking to make their mark on the 2011 Series starting tomorrow.

Dani Clos: “Positive conclusions for today, I think we made a good step forward, the team as well as myself compared to Istanbul. We still have quite some work to do, but we have a good base to work from. Tomorrow we need to be very attentive and make a good job without pushing too much too quickly.”

Alvaro Parente:  “This was an exciting first day with a new car and the new tyres after 8 months without driving a single-seater. It was not easy, I think I could have done better in qualifying, but it's going to be a long race and our focus now lies on preparing for it well. We will try to conserve the tyres as much as possible and I will give my best. Then we will see what happens.”

Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: “Considering we have to watch our tyres for tomorrow, we had to pay attention to not ruining them. I think both drivers did very well considering the circumstances. Dani drove an intelligent qualifying, while Alvaro did very well even though he hasn't driven a GP2 car in 8 months. I am quite confident for tomorrow. Everyone in the team did an excellent job!”


Race 1: 21 May 2011 15:40:00 (Local time)

Race 2: 23 May 2011 10:35:00 (Local time)
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