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pic 09/05/14 Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello qualify 3rd and 4th today in Barcelona.

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There were blue skies and bright sunshine at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with air and track temperatures of 23° and 33° respectively as the 45 minute free practice session got under way this morning. All the GP2 cars were using the orange prime compound Pirelli tyres as they worked on their set-ups.

Both Racing Engineering drivers did a single installation lap before returning to the pits and then waiting several minutes before taking track once again. Stefano Coletti was quickly on the pace with a lap of 1:32.056s for 12th fastest which he soon improved top 1:31.657s for 9th. After 20 minutes most of the cars pitted for some final adjustments before using the rest of the session to check the adjustments and discover how long the prime tyres would last before they started to degrade.

At the end of the session Stefano was 11th with his earlier time whilst Raffaele Marciello had used the session to set-up his car and learn the track was 24th with a time of 1:32.640s.

The track temperature was up to 47° for the 30 minute afternoon qualifying session and now most of the cars were on the soft compound yellow Pirelli tyres. All 26 cars took to the track to check the conditions as soon as the lights turned green.

On their first flying laps both Lello and Stefano were straight into the top ten with times of 1:30.527s and 1:30.630s respectively. Almost immediately Raffaele went 6th with a lap of 1:30.163s and Stefano improved to 1:30.555s. With twelve minutes of the session gone most of the cars returned to the pits for final adjustments and a new set of tyres before returning to the track for the last nine minutes of the session.

Lello went 3rd with an excellent lap of 1:29.650s only to see his teammate Stefano push him back to 4th as the young Monegasque driver took 3rd with a time of 1:29.514s. As the session finished neither Racing Engineering improved so they finished the session in 3rd and 4th with both men having an excellent chance of taking the win in tomorrow’s 37 lap Feature Race.
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Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “We had a positive qualifying session today. Having both cars on the second row shows the team effort. The team reacted well and quickly to what was tested in free practice and both drivers did well in putting their laps together. We will continue to work hard in order to achieve strong results in both races.”

Rafaele Marciello: “Qualifying went quite well compared to free practice. Today was rather difficult for me, each time I went on track there was something new for me to learn. While in free practice I was on this track for the first time with a GP2 car on prime tyres, in qualifying it was the first time on options. From my first push lap in qualifying to the third I improved my lap time by a second as I gained more and more experience. The car was good and I worked well with my engineer. After free practice I was very unhappy, but we knew it's my first time at Barcelona and we worked hard on improving and in the end I am happy with today's qualifying results.”

Stefano Coletti:: “I had a difficult first stint as I made a big mistake in turn 3 where I almost went off; I damaged my tyres there so I had no good reference. When I was in the pits we also changed some things on the set up and I put down a perfect lap after which put me in P3. This is a good starting position and if we have the same tyre degradation as in Bahrain, it should be OK.”
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