|Today’s 24 lap Sprint Race got underway in damp and chilly conditions with all the cars starting on wet weather Pirellis.
Dani Clos was starting second and looking for a good finish, sadly for the young Spaniard his hopes were dashed on the opening lap when he was hit by Van der Garde and was an immediate retirement.
For Christian Vietoris, starting at the back of the grid after yesterday’s bad luck, it was a question of making up as many places as possible and the young German was in a determined mood making a great start and moving up to 16th at the end of lap 1.
Immediately the Racing Engineering driver started an incredible drive through the field, on lap 2 he passed Parente and Herck to take 14th and with a gap of only 0.4 seconds to Valsecchi he was ahead of the Italian driver on the next lap and closing in on Carroll.
Lap 4 and another position gained as Vietoris passed Carroll and immediately closed in on Palmer in 11th who he overtook on lap 5 and then started to hunt down Bird. Contact with Coletti on lap 6 cost the Racing Engineering driver two places to Palmer and Valsecchi but an immediate re-pass of Valsecchi saw Vietoris back in 13th.
The only question now was how many cars the German driver could pass before the chequered flag fell and the on lap 8 he made up two more places as he overtook Palmer and Bird and within a couple more corners Gonzalez found himself demoted by the flying Vietoris who was now 9th and closing in on Parente.
The amazing progress of the Racing Engineering driver continued on lap 10 as two more places were gained at the expense of Parente and Pic. With Vietoris now lying 7th a finish in the points was a strong possibility and the German continued to push hard.
The track was now beginning to dry and cars started to head to the pits for slicks and on lap 13 Vietoris made his stop as the Racing Engineering crew had their man back on the track in an amazing 34.7 seconds, one of the fastest times of the day.
Vietoris resumed in 10th place as three cars ahead of him had not yet pitted and on lap 16 it was 9th position as Chilton found himself the next victim of the German. Almost immediately 9th became 7th as Varhaug was the next victim and Gutierrez pitted and on lap 17 it was 6th as Razia pitted.
Lap 18 saw a big change as Valsecchi made contact with Palmer as he left the pits and was an immediate retirement and Pic was given a drive-through penalty for a pit-lane infringement. Vietoris was now an incredible 4th and the quickest man on the track as he set the fastest lap of the race so far in 1m 48.016s.
The race was now entering its final laps as the one hour limit neared and Vietoris was some 18.5 seconds behind Filippi and a comfortable 7.7 seconds ahead of Carroll. Despite the impossibility of catching Filippi the German did not give up, racing a second a lap faster than the Italian but on lap 23 the chequered flag was shown and Vietoris had to settle for 4th but he was still fighting at the end as he set the race’s fastest time on the final lap with a time of 1m 46.494s.
A mixed day in the end for Racing Engineering with the unfortunate retirement for Clos but a stunning drive for Vietoris that left people wondering where he would have finished if he hadn’t started from the back of the grid. The Racing Engineering team will now be turning their attention to the next round due at Budapest in one week’s time.