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pic 08/09/12 5th place at today’s Monza Feature Race for Fabio Leimer and Racing Engineering.

Once again it was a sunny day at Monza for today’s 30 lap Feature Race....
Once again it was a sunny day at Monza for today’s 30 lap Feature Race with the track temperature at 40°. A grid penalty to Cecotto meant the Fabio Leimer, who qualified 7th, would start from 6th on the grid.

As the lights went off, Leimer made a clean start as all the cars were forced to avoid Van Der Garde who was very slow away from the front row of the grid. The Racing Engineering driver held onto 6th place but he lost a place as he ran over the curb just before the Lesmo corner but he completed the lap in 7th place just behind Razia and ahead of Nasr. Over the next few laps the young Swiss driver continued to battle with the Brazilians until he made his mandatory pitstop on lap 12, resuming just ahead of Gutierrez and Palmer.

Leimer now closed in on Razia and as the cars entered Turn 2 they made contact and Razia spun and Leimer now closed on Nasr and once again he attacked going into Turn 2 passing the Brazilian and, although the DAMS car tried to re-pass the Racing Engineering car and made contact, Leimer was able to continue in 9th place and on lap 15 he set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:34.362s.

Leimer’s next target was Valsecchi and by lap 18 he was right on the gearbox of the DAMS car and when the Italian missed his braking at Turn 4 Leimer moved up to 8th which soon became 5th as the remaining cars completed their pitstops. The next target for the Racing Engineering driver was Chilton who was 3.8 seconds ahead but with just 6 laps remaining it would be difficult to close the gap significantly but on lap 27 Leimer set the fastest lap of 1:33.478 in his effort to catch Chilton. Although Leimer was able to reduce the deficit to 1.7 seconds with another fastest time of 1:33.237 on the final lap he had to settle for 5th place.

Nathanaël Berthon made a good start but entering the first corner he was badly delayed by Van Der Garde who was slowing with a mechanical problem and at the end of the opening lap he was down in 21st position. By lap 5 the young Frenchman was up to 19th as he passed Richelmi and he was closing fast on Trummer and two laps later he made his mandatory pitstop, resuming in 21st, still just behind Trummer.

On lap 15 the Racing Engineering car got ahead of Trummer and with the pitstops now completed Berthon was lying in 15th place, 2.8 seconds behind Richelmi. For the remaining laps he continued to chase Richelmi and Canamasas and although he closed to within 0.7seconds of the Spaniard in the Venezuela GP Lazarus car he could not improve on 15th position.

Sunday’s 21 lap Sprint Race will see Fabio Leimer start 4th on the reversed grid and with his fastest laps today and the chances to overtake at Monza he will be looking for the podium and a race win. Once again bad luck ruined Nathanaël Berthon’s race but he will try as hard as ever to move up into a points scoring position tomorrow.
Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
“Following an expectedly action packed opening lap, Fabio remained in the top 8 group, but unfortunately Nat lost many positions at the first chicane due to a struggling van der Garde. This ruined his race, so we opted for an aggressive strategy pitting early to gain some positions. Afterwards he fought through the field to go from P21 to P15. His pace could have been better, but we will all work on it for tomorrow. As for Fabio, he had a really strong pace throughout the entire race setting the fastest lap time on several occasions. He finished in a satisfying P5, just behind the pole sitter.”

Fabio Leimer: “I am quite happy with today's race. I had a pretty good start, but was blocked by another car through the first chicane and lost two positions and another one shortly after when I cut through the second chicane. Then the first half of the race was not too exciting as I saved my tyres, but then on second stint I started to push more. The car was very, very consistent and I was able to handle the tyres really well. I made up some positions and saw, when the gap to the cars in front was too big; I pushed for the fastest lap.”

Nathanaël Berthon: “Today's race was the worst for me this season. I did my best and pushed all race long. Tomorrow is another day and we know what work we have to do on the car.”

Race 2: Sun 09 Sep 2012, 10:35 (GMT+2)
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