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pic 09/07/11 Vietoris finishes second today at Silverstone.

The start of today’s 29 lap Feature Race was delayed by 10 minutes due to torrential rain that began to fall as the GP2 cars lined up on the pre-race grid and, due to the prevailing weather conditions, the decision was made to deploy the Safety Car for the opening laps of the race....
The start of today’s 29 lap Feature Race was delayed by 10 minutes due to torrential rain that began to fall as the GP2 cars lined up on the pre-race grid and, due to the prevailing weather conditions, the decision was made to deploy the Safety Car for the opening laps of the race.

The race got under way as the Safety Car pulled into the pits after 3 laps and Vietoris and Clos immediately looked to put pressure on the two cars ahead of them. As the cars started the fourth lap Vietoris was 1.2 seconds behind Parente and 1.5 seconds ahead of his team-mate Clos who, in turn, was leading Ericsson by 1.9 seconds.

Vietoris began to close in on Parente and by lap 6 the gap was down to less than a second with Clos right behind him and Ericsson still some two seconds behind the young Spaniard. Lap 7 saw Vietoris close right in on Parente and begin looking for a place to pass the Carlin car and one lap later he was through into 2nd place.

Vietoris was now chasing the race leader, Bianchi, who had taken advantage of the clear track ahead of him to open out a 6.5 second lead on the field. Clos was now 2 seconds behind Parente but he had pulled out a 5 second lead over Ericsson. Setting his fastest lap of the race so far on lap 10 saw Clos reduce the gap to Parente to just over a second.

By lap 11 Vietoris and race leader Bianchi were the two fastest men on the track, lapping about a second quicker than anybody else and within a few tenths of each other as they gradually opened out a gap on the rest of the cars. Two laps later Clos made a determined effort to pass Parente but the Portuguese driver was just able to retain his 3rd place but within a few corners the Racing Engineering driver made it through to take over 3rd spot.

It had been agreed beforehand that the leading car would have the priority when the pitstops were due and on lap 14 Vietoris made his mandatory pitstop changing all four tyres and now running slicks as the track began to dry out. One lap later it was turn of Clos to stop, the Spaniard also having slick tyres fitted as all the drivers were now doing.

Thanks to an excellent pitstop by the Racing Engineering team Vietoris was now just 0.3 seconds behind race leader Bianchi and lap 17 saw Vietoris pass Bianchi who immediately regained the lead only for the young German to get ahead again but Bianchi was able to take the top spot again!

Following the pitstops Clos was now in 5th place, 2.9 seconds behind Grosjean and 2.7 seconds ahead of Bird but Clos was now the fastest car on the track setting the fastest lap of the race so far on lap 18. Meanwhile, back at the front of the field, Vietoris was still battling hard with Bianchi and was less than half a second behind the Lotus car.

With just 8 laps left to go Clos was now involved in a close battle with Bird for 5th with the Racing Engineering driver holding the upper hand but as the drivers completed the 22 lap Clos was demoted to 6th place. The race was now entering its final laps and Vietoris dropped away a little from Bianchi as the German found his front tyres beginning to grain so he eased off a little to help them recover but he was no longer abler to push as hard as he had been and as the chequered flag fell he crossed the line in an excellent 2nd place with Clos finishing 6th.

The reversed grid for tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Vietoris start 7th and Clos 3rd so, once again, both Racing Engineering drivers will again be looking for a finish on the podium.
Team Quotes:

Dani Clos: “This was a tough race. At the beginning due to the weather condition, I was not able to follow the rhythm of the cars in front when the track was wet, but when the track was drying up, I was really fast and was able to move to P3. My pit stop was maybe a lap too late, but we wanted to avoid a problem with traffic in the pits as Chris pitted the lap before me. Two cars passed me at this moment, but I was able to keep up the rhythm. During the last laps I was not at the level to fight for a top position, but I have scored points. Tomorrow I will start from the front and I will see what I am able to get out of the race. We continue to push hard.”

Christian Vietoris: “This was an interesting race and it was fun. At the beginning I lost some time behind Parente. But due to the rain the visibility was quite bad so I could not get ahead. When I did get by, I quickly pulled away from him and during the pit stop period everything went really well. I had a good in and out lap, a good tyre change and was able to close the gap to Bianchi. I was faster than him as it took him longer to adapt to the changing conditions and we had a nice battle. But my front tyres started to grain and I decided to back off a bit to allow my tyres to recover. During the last laps I was pushing once more and in the end I was able to finish in second place.”

Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: “What a great race, one of the most exciting I have seen all year. Even though we did not win it, Christian's race was close to perfect with many very close moments and fantastic racing with Bianchi. Good result for Dani, but we need to see why he was slower than Chris. We now have to work hard to prepare the cars for tomorrow since both cars have again the possibility to end up on the podium. Wonderful work from everyone in the team.”
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