|Today’s 21 lap Sprint Race was held on a damp but drying track so all the cars were running slicks for the first time this weekend.
As the red lights went off Fabio Leimer made a great start from 14th, overtaking several cars to be 10th at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately the young Swiss lost several places on the second lap following a spin, after contact with Haryanto, to be lying 16th and chasing Trummer. Leimer soon dealt with the Arden car to move up to 15th and he started to close in on Ericsson who was just over two seconds ahead and battling with the second Racing Engineering car of Berthon.
On lap 9 Leimer passed his teammate Berthon to take 14th place and his next target was Crestani, 0.7 seconds ahead. On lap 11 the young Swiss passed the Venezuela GP Lazarus to move up to 13th and the Racing Engineering car was now one of the fastest cars on the track and his next target was a battling group of Haryanto, Onidi and Ericsson. Lap 14 saw Leimer lose a place to Calado but he immediately began to look for a way to re-pass the Lotus GP car as both men closed in on the battling group ahead.
Leimer passed Haryanto on lap 16 to regain 13th place and on lap 18 he passed Van der Garde to take 12th position which soon became 11th when Calado left the track and then 10th when Chilton pitted. On the final lap Leimer gained a further place as Cecotto retired to take 9th at the chequered flag.
Nathanaël Berthon made a clean start to hold onto 12th place at the end of the opening lap but over the next few laps the young Frenchman began to struggle and by lap 7 he had dropped to 14th place and was overtaken by his teammate Leimer. Opting to stop for new tyres on lap 11 Berthon dropped to 22nd place but he was now flying and he set the fastest lap of the race so far on lap 13 with a time of 1:43.446s.
However with most of the other cars not pitting Berthon could only pass a few cars in the remaining laps and at the finish he was 14th.
A disappointing race for the Racing Engineering team and drivers but in both races Leimer and Berthon were very fast and if it hadn’t been for the Safety Car incident in the Feature Race the team could have had a very different weekend.The next race in the 2012 GP2 calendar is Hockenheim in two weeks’ time.