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pic 24/08/14 Incredible drive from Stefano as he finishes 7th after starting 24th today at Spa.

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The weather had improved greatly today at Spa from yesterday’s wet and changeable conditions with the sun shining although air and track temperatures of 11° and 18° respectively were still chilly and there were a few damp patches still on the track following heavy overnight rain. Following his stunning debut victory in Saturday’s Feature Race Lello would be starting today’s 18 lap Sprint Race from 8th on the reversed grid while Stefano who retired would be right at the back of the field in 24th position. Most of the cars would be using the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres with just two drivers opting for the softer P Zero White.

As the race started Lello lost a place away from the grid as he was on the damp side of the track but halfway around the lap he spun as he battled with Markelov for position dropping to 24th place. By lap 6 the young Italian was in 22nd spot and he then got ahead of Daly on the following lap and he soon closed on Izawa and on the following lap he passed the Japanese driver. The Racing Engineering car was now closing on Haryanto and on lap 12 he made his move to take 18th place and his next target was Sato just 0.5 seconds ahead and he quickly passed both the Campos driver and Berthon to move up to 15th spot and a lap later it became 14th as he demoted Trummer. The next car was Richelmi but the DAMS driver was over eleven seconds ahead so at the chequered flag Lello had to settle for 14th.

Stefano had a stunning opening lap moving from 24th to 14th and on lap 2 he passed Sorensen to take 13th and he immediately gained two more places to lie in an amazing 11th place, 0.4 seconds behind Leal. As the cars started lap 4 Stefano was now in a group of five cars fighting for 8th place and on lap 6 he passed Leal and he was now chasing after Dillmann who was 2.2 seconds ahead. As the race neared the halfway point the Racing Engineering driver had closed the gap to 1.2 seconds as the young Monegasque set his fastest lap of the race so far.

On lap 9 Stefano passed both Dillmann and Quaife-Hobbs to take 8th place and get into a points scoring position and he was now 2.6 seconds behind Negrão but he was lapping a lot faster than the Arden driver and on lap 12 the gap was down to 0.6 seconds and on lap 13 he made his move around the outside to take 7th and he now began to chase Vandoorne who was 4.8 seconds ahead but with just four laps remaining it would be hard to catch and pass the Belgian driver. Stefano continued to push hard but at the end of the 18 laps he was still 3.3 seconds behind Vandoorne in 7th.

A mixed weekend for Racing Engineering at Spa with a stunning win for Lello on Saturday but a retirement for Stefano and an incredible drive through the field for Stefano on Sunday but a first lap incident spoiling the day for Lello.

The next round of the 2014 GP2 Series will be in two weeks’ time in Monza and both Lello and Stefano will be back in the hunt for more race wins.
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Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Great recovery today from Stefano from 24th on the grid to 7th. The racing line was dry, but some parts of the circuit were still damp, which made it more complicated to overtake. But Stefano did a good job and showed the strong pace of our car throughout the race. Lello was fighting hard on the opening lap to be in a top spot, but after overtaking several cars right on Kemmel straight he arrived at corner 5 on the inside of Markelov, who didn’t leave him enough space to get by. Lello touched the wet curb and spun, which made him drop to the end of the field. He fought hard to make his way up to P14 again setting very fast lap times. Overall it is still disappointing to not have both cars scoring at the same time due to incidents on track. Pace in qualifying and races was good this weekend and we will again work hard to prepare the next event and hope to have a good points haul from both drivers.”

Rafaele Marciello: “Today’s race was a bit disappointing. I didn’t have a very good start, but was very fast through Eau Rouge passing two or three cars on the straight after that. But when I arrived at Les Combes, I was on the inside of Markelov, who closed the door on my bit too much and I spun. After that I had a good recovery from last position to P14. We were able to do better today, but it’s difficult to control it when others are slower.”

Stefano Coletti:: “I didn’t have a really good start, but a very good first lap. I was immediately on the pace and the car was good so I was able to brake later than the others and pass them immediately and then I got into a nice rhythm. As I said my car was perfect to drive today and the team did a great job. I was really fast and able to make up positions and finish the race in 7th.”
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©GP2
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©GP2
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