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pic 22/08/14 Lello is 4th in today’s qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.

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The weather for the 45 minute practice session this morning was very unseasonable with air and track temperatures of just 15° and 25° respectively and there were a lot of clouds in the sky although the sun was trying to break through. The opening minutes of the session saw all 26 cars take to the track with everybody running the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres.

Stefano was quickly on the pace going 5th with a time of 1:58.937s with Lello just behind on 1:59.540s and the young Italian quickly improved to 6th with a lap time of 1:58.397s and Stefano immediately set exactly the same time showing how equal the two men are.

After 20 minutes most of the cars returned to the pits for some setup adjustments and Stefano and Lello returned to the track with 20 minutes of the session still remaining. Lello began to fly and moved up to 3rd on the timing sheets with a lap of 1:58.265s and with 10 minutes left he returned to the pits. Stefano’s session was brought to an end when he ran wide at Fagnes and spun and he had to abandon his car on the track causing a red flag and resulting in the end of his practice. The session resumed with four minutes remaining but Lello did not improve on his earlier time so he finished in 3rd place with Stefano 8th.

It was a little warmer for the 30 minute qualifying session with air and track temperatures of 17° and 29° respectively and now all the cars had switched to the Pirelli P Zero White medium compound tyres. After ten minutes of the session Stefano went 7th with a time of 1:57.844s despite being forced wide by Markelov and almost immediately Lello went 2nd with a 1:57.254s as the lap times begun to drop.

With 15 minutes of the session completed most of the cars returned to the pits for some final adjustments and fresh tyres before trying for their final attempt at fast lap. Stefano returned to the Racing Engineering pits but Lello stayed out to take advantage of a clear track and he improved his best time to 1:57.237s to move up to 2nd. With just seven minutes of the session left both Stefano and Lello returned to the track but neither man was able to improve on his earlier time so Lello will start from 4th while a disappointed Stefano will be back on the eighth row in 16th.

Starting from the second row Lello will be looking for his first win in GP2 in tomorrow’s 25 lap Feature Race while, for Stefano, it will be a case of gaining as many places as possible and his pace in recent races means that a podium finish is a strong possibility.
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Quite a good qualifying session for Lello, who was able to take fourth place, but a disappointing result for Stefano. Despite the threat of rain, the session has been held under dry conditions, but was affected by several yellow flags from the beginning on. Stefano was on a push lap, when Markelov clearly impeded him and forced him off track and the rest of Stefano’s session was not better due to small mistakes and traffic. Lello, on the other hand, was fighting for a top spot during the entire qualifying and was on yet another faster lap with a few minutes left, when only a small mistake kept him from improving his time even further. However, second row is a good result for our rookie and we will fight for a podium finish tomorrow. Rain might affect tomorrow’s race, so Stefano’s chances could increase significantly given his skills and experience in wet conditions.”

Rafaele Marciello: “Qualifying went quite well today. Starting from the second row gives me a good chance to finish on the podium, maybe even take the win. Of course, it’s not like taking the points for pole, but GP2 races are always a bit of a gamble and at Spa even more so. For me it’s a good position to start and to have a good race tomorrow.”

Stefano Coletti:: “During my first run in today’s qualifying I had a lot of traffic, especially in sector 3. On my first flying lap I had a yellow flag and had to abort, on my second push lap I had traffic, so I also had to stop this lap. We then put a new set of tyres and on my only flying lap I went off. So I pretty much didn’t put any lap together and this is why the result is P16. Generally it’s a track where overtaking is possible and we should be fine tomorrow.”
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©GP2
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