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pic 28/06/13 Rain badly affects today’s Silverstone Qualifying session.

The rain that had badly affected the preceding F1 practice had stopped by the time the GP2 cars took to the track...
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The rain that had badly affected the preceding F1 practice had stopped by the time the GP2 cars took to the track for their 30 minute Free Practice session but the track was still very treacherous with standing water in many places and wet tyres were the order of the day.  Both Racing Engineering drivers were immediately on the pace with Fabio Leimer moving to the top of the timing sheets with a 2:00.508s lap and Julián Leal taking 6th place with a 2:01.577s.

Fabio was the first driver to get below 2 minutes with a time of 1:59.149 and Julián reduced his lap to 2:00.170s as the track began to dry out a little, although the cars were still throwing up large balls of spray for most of the lap. The majority of the cars pitted around the 15 minute mark to make some set-up adjustments and with 9 minutes remaining both Fabio and Julián returned to the track and with just 5 minutes to go Fabio set the fastest time of the session with a lap of 1:57.996s and on his final lap Julián took 4th place with a time of 1m58.776s.

Shortly before the start of the 30 minute afternoon Qualifying session light rain began to fall again and all the GP2 teams were looking to get out on track and set a time on slick tyres in case the rain began to fall more heavily. Fabio took his first three laps to get used to the circuit before setting a time of 1:41.442s for 4th with Julián just a little slower on 1:41.765s in 11th position.

With some 17 minutes remaining all the cars returned to the pits for final adjustments before making a final effort. However the rain had now started to fall more heavily and it was clear that nobody would be able to improve on their earlier times and many of the quicker drivers found themselves lower down the grid than would normally be expected.

Tomorrow’s Feature Race will see Fabio start from 6th on the third row of the grid and with an excellent chance, given his proven speed around the Silverstone Circuit, of getting a podium finish. Julián will start 11th from the 6th row and he will be looking to gain as many positions as possible to get into the points and get a good grid position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
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Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Following a very positive free practice, things didn't go so well during the qualifying session this afternoon. It was difficult for the drivers to set a fast lap during the first 10min of qualifying without previous experience of a dry track but that was the same challenge for everyone. Some traffic hampered the efforts of our drivers and it should have been possible to improve on the second set of slicks but, unfortunately, the rain came back and made everyone abort the second stint. We expected to qualify higher up but starting from the 3rd and 6th rows tomorrow, it is possible to score many points and even be on the podium so all our team will work to achieve this outcome.”

Fabio Leimer:
  “It was quite a hard Qualifying. I think today it was a typical English day with a lot of rain in the morning and then many clouds but the track was drying out. We knew that the rain was coming back so that we had to go out quickly and set a fast lap on the first set of tyres. It was not really easy as we had no reference from free practice as the track was fully wet in the morning. I got quite a lot of traffic, being blocked twice by another car so I took P6 and when we tried to improve on the second set of tyres, the track was getting wetter and it was not possible to go any quicker. It was not a perfect qualifying but starting from third row tomorrow everything is possible, it will be a long race.”

Julián Leal: “In the wet Free Practice, the car was going quite well, I was able to manage the tyres and put a good lap in at the end of the session. For the qualifying, the track dried up and it was completely different. I arrived at the limit of the car a little bit too late so that I was not able to use all the grip available from the tyres when the track was dry. I was P11 and there was no way to improve on the second set due to the rain. Tomorrow I have to do a good race, being focused and concentrated to avoid any mistakes and I'm sure that I can do well.”

Timetable:
Race 1: Sat 29 Jun 2013, 14:40 (GMT+1)
Race 2: Sun 30 Jun 2013, 09:35 (GMT+1)
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