|With the two Racing Engineering drivers, Dani Clos and Christian Vietoris, lining up 12th and 13th on the grid following yesterday’s Qualifying session both men were looking to gain as many places as possible and score some points in today’s 34 lap Feature Race.
As the lights went off Clos made a fantastic start to move up to 6th place but for Vietoris the race was over as soon as it had begun when he was struck from behind by Valsecchi, losing his rear wing and being forced to retire. A further collision between two other cars saw the Safety Car deployed as the cars completed their first lap.
Racing resumed on lap 3 with Clos in a close battle with Leimer just ahead and Parente right behind the Racing Engineering car. On lap 6 Clos lost a place to Parente and on the following lap he dropped to 8th as Ericsson got ahead.
The mandatory pit stops began early with several drivers stopping on laps 7 and 8 and Clos moved back to 7th as Parente pitted. Clos made his stop on lap 10, regaining the track in 15th position, following the usual efficient work by the Racing Engineering pit crew. The young Spaniard was now chasing Parente with Carroll, just behind, and as more pit stops took place Clos moved up to 12th place.
By lap 19, following the completion of all the pitstops, Clos was now lying in 8th place 0.7 seconds behind Parente and 0.4 seconds ahead of Bird. The battle for points was now intense with Parente, Clos and Bird less than a second apart and over the next few laps the gap between the three cars remained constant.
As the race entered its final 10 laps Clos was pushing Parente as hard as possible but having to be careful not to make a mistake and let the closely following Bird take advantage. Carroll, Razia and Leimer now moved onto the tail of the three car battle so now it was six men all looking to score points as well as to gain the best grid position for tomorrow’s Sprint Race.
Seven laps to go and the gap between Parente in 7th and Leimer in 12th was just two seconds with Clos still looking strong in 8th. Bird momentarily overtook Clos but the Racing Engineering driver fought back to retake 8th and with 5 laps to go Parente received a drive-through penalty for not respecting the track limits moving Clos up to 7th.
Lap 30 and Clos was still fighting hard with Bird as Leimer and Razia make contact putting the Brazilian out of the race. The battle for 7th was now down to Clos, Bird and Leimer with 1.3 seconds between the three cars. As the final laps unfolded Clos made no mistakes to finish an excellent 7th in what was a very hard fought race from start to finish.For tomorrow’s Sprint Race Clos will start from second on the reversed grid and he will be looking for a podium finish and more points in the 2011 GP2 Series championship. The bad luck that fell to Vietoris today will see the young German having to start from the back of the grid but, as always, he will be battling to finish as high as possible in the final results.