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pic 01/09/12 A disappointing day for Racing Engineering in today’s Sprint Race at Spa.

Conditions were very different for today’s GP2 Series Feature Race with blue skies and a track temperature of 31°....
Conditions were very different for today’s GP2 Series Feature Race with blue skies and a track temperature of 31°. As this was the first time the GP2 cars had run in the dry this weekend the setup of the Dallara chassis would have to be intelligent guesswork by the teams based on previous experience of the Spa circuit.

As the lights went off Fabio Leimer made a clean start but was pushed wide on the exit from the first corner and as the cars arrived at Les Combes the Racing Engineering car made contact with Valsecchi causing the young Swiss to spin and he was an immediate retirement.

Nathanaël Berthon also made a good start gaining two places on the opening lap to start lap 2 in 10th place but a big accident to Melker at Eau Rouge caused the deployment of the Safety Car on the following lap. Most of the cars made their mandatory pitstop on lap 6 to take advantage of the Safety Car and typically efficient work from the Racing Engineering pit crew saw Berthon resume the track in 10th position which became 9th when Teixeira made his stop and with four cars ahead of him who had yet to stop things were looking good for the young Frenchman.

On lap 7 the race was red-flagged due to the time needed to repair the tyre barrier at Eau Rouge and the cars returned to the grid to await the restart. Once the barrier was repaired there was a further delay as the medical helicopter had not returned to the circuit. The race resumed under the Safety Car for one lap some 85 minutes after it had first started with 17 laps still to run.

Berthon, resuming in 9th position, was now chasing Kral with Canamasas right behind him, and on lap 10 the Racing Engineering driver found himself forced against the pitwall by the Venezuela GP Lazarus car in a very dangerous manoeuvre, damaging the front wing on the Frenchman’s car, which resulted in a second pitstop and he resumed the race in 21st place. Despite being one of the fastest cars on the track in the closing laps and passing several cars Berthon was unable to get any higher than 14th at the finish.

A very disappointing day for both Racing Engineering drivers with both Leimer and Berthon badly effected due to incidents involving other drivers. Both men will have to start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from the second half of the grid but both will drive as hard as ever and try to get into the points.

Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
Disappointing results for both drivers today. The race was full of action and incidents and sadly enough both our drivers were involved. Fabio had contact with another driver on the opening lap, which forced him to retire immediately. Nat's first laps until the red flag were very good and he also gained positions through the pitstop period under the Safety Car. Unfortunately he lost a position to Canamasas at the restart, but was about to take it back the following lap arriving at the bottom of Eau Rouge. Canamasas said he didn't seen Nat when he squeezed him against the wall in a dangerous manner, which caused some damage on Nat's car. Nat needed to stop at the pits for a new front wing and lost all chances of a very good result in today's race as his race pace was very strong throughout the entire race.”

Fabio Leimer: “The start of the race was not great, but OK. I lost one position in turn 1. Then we approached turn 5 with four cars very close to each other. I didn't see Valsecchi as Palmer and van der Garde were ahead of me and we got together. I touched his rear wheel, spun and could not continue the race.”

Nathanaël Berthon: “My start was pretty good and I was already in 9th position and with a good strategy and pit stop, I was potentially 5th. Then the race was red flagged, but I was able to continue with the same good pace when we started again. However, Canamasas made a dangerous move and pushed me towards the wall at 270 kph. Honestly, it's a miracle nothing serious happened and he only broke my steering arm and front wing. Sadly this cost me a very good result in today's race as I had to come into the pits for a new wing when, throughout the greater part of the race, I was the fastest driver on track.”

Race 2: Sun 02 Sep 2012, 10:35 (GMT+2)

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