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pic 27/05/11 An excellent 2nd for Alvaro Parente in today’s Monaco Feature Race.

Alvaro Parente drove faultlessly today in the Monaco Feature Race to take second place in only his third drive for Racing Engineering....
Alvaro Parente drove faultlessly today in the Monaco Feature Race to take second place in only his third drive for Racing Engineering.

Following yesterday’s qualifying a number of penalties were issued which resulted in both Racing Engineering drivers gaining a grid place so that Parente was now 3rd and Clos 17th.

As the lights went off, pole position man Bird stalled and Parente took advantage to move into 2nd place behind Valsecchi, further back Clos made a good start to move up to 14th. As the cars completed their first lap Parente was in 2nd 0.7 seconds behind Valsecchi and Clos was 14th 0.7 seconds behind Leimer and 0.6 seconds ahead of Razia.

Over the next few laps Parente pushed Valsecchi hard, never more than a few tenths behind the Team Air Asia car whilst gradually pulling away from Coletti. All the drivers had to keep the wear of their super-soft Pirellis in mind as the tyres had not been used before and nobody was sure how they would last in racing conditions.

Lap 7 saw Clos make his mandatory pitstop; the young Spaniard resumed the track in 21st place. Parente was slowly losing ground to Valsecchi and after 9 laps the Portuguese driver was 1.3 seconds behind but he had pulled out a gap of 4.6 seconds over Coletti.

Parente made his pitstop on lap 14, resuming in 4th although two cars ahead of him were yet to stop. Clos was now 16th, 0.8 seconds behind Cecotto and 1.2 seconds ahead of Leimer. On lap 22 Parente moved up to 2nd as Filippi and Grosjean took their pitstops, he was now 6.2 seconds behind Valsecchi. Unfortunately, on the same lap, Clos, who was now 13th, went off at Mirabeau, as the result of a puncture, hitting the wall and retiring.

By lap 27 Parente had reduced the gap to Valsecchi to 5.0 seconds but behind him Filippi was setting fastest laps as closed in to within 4 seconds of the Racing Engineering car. With ten laps to go Parente was 6.0 seconds behind Valsecchi and Filippi had closed to within 1.4 seconds of the second placed car.

Things all changed on the next lap when the Safety Car was deployed following a collision between two cars which left debris on the track. Racing resumed on lap 34 and Parente immediately began to push Valsecchi keeping the gap to less than one second. Filippi now seemed to have lost a lot of his previous pace and he was a further second down the track.

The race was now entering its final stages as the one hour mark approached and Parente closed in to within 0.5 seconds of Valsecchi but with only one lap left time ran out and Parente took a fighting 2nd, 1.4 seconds behind Valsecchi and 0.7 seconds ahead of Filippi.

Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Parente starting 7th on the reversed grid and his speed today shows that another podium is within his grasp. For Dani Clos his accident means he will start towards the back of the grid but Grosjean showed in today’s race, moving from last to 4th, that a positive result is still possible.

Team Quotes:

Dani Clos: “Well, we had a good start. I think we have a very good car with a very good balance. When I was in the race rhythm, I overtook several drivers. I think I was the only one overtaking. I was really motivated for today and think we have done a good job. But I punctured the rear right tyre braking and there was nothing I could do.”

Alvaro Parente:  “I am very happy. I was unlucky at the start when Bird stalled and I had contact with Coletti. But at the same time I was lucky nothing serious happened to my car. We were really good at the beginning and dropped a bit off after lap 10. But it was great. I got to know the car and tyres better. The team did a good job at the pit stop and I would really like to thank Racing Engineering for the chance to get this podium. I will give my best tomorrow to thank them.”

Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: “Great job by Alvaro!!! He did a quick and intelligent race. After yesterday's qualifying, it's obvious that it was not a one off. His consistency has paid off.

A pity for Dani, he picked up some debris which caused a slow puncture and his crash at the Lowes' corner. Luckily it was the slowest corner of the track, not exiting the tunnel or on the start-finish line.

Well done to everyone! It's been a couple of weeks of hard work, but it has paid off. We have a very quick and constant car. I am very happy with the job everyone in the team has done. Now let's get ready for tomorrow's race.”

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