Both of the Racing Engineering cars finished today’s Sprint race in the top ten as Dani Clos took an excellent second place and his team-mate Alvaro Parente finished 7th.
Following a post-race penalty to Grosjean that moved Dani Cos up to 6th in yesterday’s Sprint Race the young Spaniard lined up the red and yellow Racing Engineering Dallara 3rd on the grid with team-mate Alvaro Parente 11th.
The race started under sunny skies and as the cars raced towards the first corner Clos made a great start to move up to second but further down the field contact between Van der Garde and Bianchi saw both cars damaged and the Safety Car was immediately deployed to allow the cars to be removed from the track.
The race resumed on lap 5 and Clos got away well tucking in behind race leader Leimer with Ericsson in 3rd. Parente was in 10th as the Safety Car pulled off and he sat on the gearbox of Cecotto and within three corners he dived inside the Venezuelan to take 9th. Lap 8 saw Clos one second behind Leimer and 0.9 seconds ahead of Ericsson whilst Parente had pulled out almost a second on Cecotto and had closed within 0.3 seconds of Fauzy in 8th.
The next 8 laps saw Clos dropping slowly away from Leimer but he was able to extend his lead over Ericsson to two seconds. Parente was still involved in a tough battle with Fauzy and their fight had allowed Cecotto to close back up on the Portuguese driver.
With ten laps to go Clos was now 4.0 seconds down on Leimer and 3.8 seconds ahead of Ericsson whilst Parente was still battling with Fauzy but had now pulled away from Cecotto who was now 2.7 seconds behind the Racing Engineering car.
As the cars started the last three laps Clos continued to hold a comfortable second place but Parente now found himself under pressure from Varhaug who had passed Cecotto but contact ahead between Kral and Coletti moved him up to 7th. As the chequered flag fell Clos took an excellent 2nd place at his home race whilst Parente edged away from Varhaug to take a very good 7th on his debut weekend with Racing Engineering in the 2011 Series.
The Racing Engineering team have moved back to the front of the GP2 Series and can put the disappointments of Istanbul behind them and they can now look forward to the next race, Monaco in a week’s time.