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pic 06/09/13 Fabio Leimer and Racing Engineering qualify second today at Monza.

Track conditions were ideal for the 30 minute morning free practice session with an air temperature of 28° and a track temperature of 40°...
Track conditions were ideal for the 30 minute morning free practice session with an air temperature of 28° and a track temperature of 40° and all of the teams were running on the hard Pirelli compound tyres. The drivers were just beginning to set some fast laps when the session was red flagged following a spin by Cecotto at the Parabolica and four minutes were lost before the session resumed.

On his 4th lap Fabio Leimer jumped to the top of the timing sheets with a time of 1:32.712s which he improved on the following lap to 1:32.123s. Julián Leal was right behind his teammate in 3rd place with a time of 1:32.586s. Both Racing Engineering cars returned to the pits with 10 minutes to go to make some final adjustments but in the remaining time neither driver improved on their fastest lap and at the end of the 30 minutes Fabio was 2nd, just .003s away from the fastest time, and Julián was 7th.

It was warmer for the afternoon qualifying session with the air and track temperatures up to 30° and 44° respectively and, as the cars took to the track, they were now all fitted with the medium compound Pirelli tyres. Both Fabio and Julián were immediately on the pace setting the first and second fastest laps at 1:32.311s and 1:32.442s but the times were falling rapidly.

The session was red-flagged for several minutes following a spin by Ghirelli on the exit of the Parabolica which brought a lot of debris onto the track and the session resumed with 14 minutes remaining. Once again Fabio was flying and he improved his fastest time to 1:31.822s to go to the top of the times once again. This would remain his fastest lap of the session and despite the best efforts of the other drivers only Bird was able to go faster by just .034 seconds. Julián improved his best time to 1:32.398s but, although this was just over half a second slower than his team mate, it was only good enough for 14th fastest.

Fabio will start tomorrow’s 30 lap Feature Race from the front row of the grid with an excellent chance of finishing on the podium and, with Coletti qualifying 6th and Nasr 12th, further closing the gap on the two drivers ahead of him in the Championship. Julián will start from the 7th row of the grid and he will be looking to get up into the points and to maximise his grid position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.

Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “After a positive result for both drivers in free practice, we had a qualifying session interrupted by yellows, as well as a red flag. Second position is a good result for Fabio, but pole position was really possible today. Therefore we cannot be completely satisfied as we didn't score the 4 points for pole position, which we missed by only 3 hundredths of a second. Having said that, the entire field was really close together and we were hoping that Julian could repeat his strong performance of the morning session. Unfortunately he could not get the maximum out of the car, partially due to traffic, and he will start tomorrow's race from 14th position on the grid. Due to recent rule changes regarding Pirelli's minimum tyre pressure, the feature race will be a big challenge for all teams and drivers and we will work on getting the best out of our starting positions.”

Fabio Leimer:
  “I think we can be satisfied with today's qualifying. It's a pity as I was only 3 hundredths away from pole, but on the other hand, being only half a second slower would have sent me quite a long way back as everyone was really close. The starting position is great as I can start from front row again. We will have to see that tomorrow we have a good race and I can hopefully take the win and so take the lead in the championship. I think everything is possible tomorrow, a good start will be very important and then we will see.”

Julián Leal: “During the first part of the qualifying the car went well, but I was only able to set one fast lap as all the others were ruined by other cars blocking me or yellow flags. For the second set, we made a change on the car and I felt the set up was not as good as before. Neither did I put all sectors together, so even though I improved my lap time, it wasn't enough to get a better position. I therefore start from 14th tomorrow, but we are usually strong in races, so the goal definitely has to be to finish in the top 8.”

Race 1: Sat 07 Sep 2013, 15:40 (GMT+2)
Race 2: Sun 08 Sep 2013, 10:35 (GMT+2)

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