|Fabio Leimer and Racing Engineering have already proved to be one of the fastest combinations in the 2013 GP2 Series with the young Swiss taking the victory in the Feature Races at the first two rounds of the season, held at Sepang and Bahrain. Additionally it has only been the bad luck of twice being the innocent victim of other drivers incidents that has prevented Fabio from adding more success in the two Sprint Races held so far.
Julián Leal has also shown excellent pace in his first two race weekends with the Spanish team, taking 5th on his debut in Malaysia and setting the fastest lap in the Bahrain Feature Race.
Both Fabio and Julián are now looking forward to returning to the Circuit de Catalunya where they took part in the pre-season testing and, although the three days spent at the circuit were badly disrupted by poor weather, both men proved to be fast on the 4.655 Km track.
Below Ines Koschutnig, Racing Engineering’s General Manager, talks about the Barcelona circuit and the team’s expectations for the weekend.
|Racing Engineering had a positive start into the 2013 season. Are you happy with the results obtained so far?
It is obviously nice that Fabio won both feature races held so far and we are also very happy that during both weekends we were able to show a very strong performance from the very start. It's a pity that Fabio's sprint races in Malaysia and Bahrain were affected by other drivers crashing into him which took away his chances to score points. But the important thing for us is to see that we have been strong in every session and this is what makes up confident about the upcoming weekend in Barcelona. Julián, on the other hand, started off very well and had his best result ever in GP2 in his first race with us in Malaysia. Just like Fabio, he was the victim of another car in the sprint race where he was set for another great result. Bahrain was a rather difficult weekend for him even though he proved to be really fast on track and learned a lot of things during this event, which will certainly be applied during the upcoming events.
This weekend there is the first European round of GP2 in Barcelona. What does it mean for Racing Engineering to race in front of the home crowds?
For us, as a Spanish team, it's a very special event and a pleasure to race at Barcelona in front of our fans. It's the only race event we have in Spain this season, so we really hope for great racing and good results to reward our supporters.
Barcelona is a different track compared to Malaysia and Bahrain. What are the main characteristics?
I would say it's a very complete track, a reference track, representative for the entire season. Unlike Monaco or Monza, which are clearly slow and high-speed tracks, Barcelona is a mixture of everything. Usually, if you are quick there, you are quick on other tracks as well. It's a mixture of high and slow speed corners and not the most demanding track on brakes. Corner 3 might actually be the most demanding one on tyres, but also generally on car balance. Another highlight for the drivers is corner 9, they have to be brave through this blind fast corner. Stability is important in corner 10 together with traction for the exit and the stadium area. But traction is the key point through the entire third sector. Overtaking is not really easy in Barcelona and usually mainly limited to corners 1, 4 and 10. For this weekend, as in Malaysia and Bahrain, we will be given the hard and soft compounds by Pirelli.
After the positive rounds in Malaysia and Bahrain, what are your expectations for Barcelona?
I hope we will be able to score good points with both cars. Fabio is in a very good form, so he should be strong in Barcelona as well. It would be fantastic to win our home race and bring back points from Sunday's sprint race as well. As for Julian, we know that he can be really fast and is a brave man on track. With a good result in qualifying, I see absolutely no reason why he should not be able to score a lot of points in both races. After starting so well in Malaysia, Bahrain might have been more challenging for him, but he never gave up and it was a real pleasure to watch him fight for every single position.
Practice: Fri 10 May 2013, 12:00 (GMT+2)
Qualifying Session: Fri 10 May 2013, 15:55 (GMT+2)
Race 1: Sat 11 May 2013, 15:40 (GMT+2)
Race 2: Sun 12 May 2013, 10:35 (GMT+2)