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pic 07/09/14 A great drive to 2nd place today for Stefano at the Monza Sprint Race.

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The weather for today’s 21 lap Sprint Race was sunny and warm with air and track temperatures of 22° and 29° respectively and all the cars were starting on the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres. Following yesterday’s Feature Race Stefano would be starting from 9th on the grid and Lello, who had to retire after being the innocent victim of contact between two other cars would have to start from 25th with a lot of work to do to get into the points.

As the lights went off Stefano made a clean start and was able to pass Vandoorne, Nasr and Pic and as the cars completed the first lap the Racing Engineering car was up to 6th but two separate incidents saw the Safety Car deployed as the cars began lap two. The Safety Car returned to the pits at the start of lap 6 and as racing got underway again Stefano made fantastic pass on both Evans and Negrão at the Rettifilo to lie 4th as he set the fastest lap of the race so far and on the following lap he did it again at the same corner to take Sorensen for 3rd.

Stefano now began to close in on Richelmi for 2nd place and on lap 11 he carried out another superb out-braking manoeuvre into the first corner to take 2nd and he was now 2.1 seconds behind race leader Palmer. Lap 13 saw Stefano set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:33.440s and the gap was now down to 1.2 seconds. Stefano continued to close the gap and with five laps still to go the gap was 0.9 as the Racing Engineering car set another fastest lap of 1:33.375s and on the next lap another quicker still lap of 1:33.258s saw the gap down to just 0.7 seconds. As the race entered the final laps Stefano found his tyres going off after all the hard driving he had to do in the early laps and he settled for an excellent 2nd place and fastest race lap at the finish.

Lello had a stunning opening lap passing Trummer, Abt, de Jong, Markelov and Izawa and as the safety Car came onto the track the young Italian was lying in an amazing 13th spot, twelve places gained in one lap. On lap 6, as racing resumed again, Lello was right behind Quaife-Hobbs and Canamasas and looking to gain more positions and he immediately passed the Rapax car to take 12th but he lost the place again when he straight-lined the chicane. On the following lap, just as Lello was looking to gain more places he was pushed offline by Canamasas who gave him no room and the Racing Engineering car was forced into the pits for repairs and the young Italian had dropped to 21st position. Lello continued to push hard setting some very quick lap times but he was only able to move up to 18th as the chequered flag fell.
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Great race and results from Stefano today. Starting from P9 taking the fastest lap and finishing in P2 is a good achievement. The start was good, the pace was great throughout the entire race and the overtaking manoeuvres of Stefano were clean and impressive. Pity about Lello, who had a good recovery up to P13 from 25th on the grid, but the contact with Canamasas, put an early end to his chances of finishing in the points. Overall not the weekend we were hoping for, but at least we were able to show what our cars are capable of.”

Rafaele Marciello: “I had an OK start, but a good opening lap passing 12 cars as I was up to 13th. After the restart I put too much heat in my tyres, so slowed down a bit the following laps, but then I was quickly back on pace closing the gap on the cars in front of me battling for the points. When I was on the inside of Lesmo 1 Canamasas crashed into me all of the sudden, as a consequence I had a punctured tyre and but when back on track after a tyre change I felt that something more on my car must have been broken.”

Stefano Coletti:: “I pushed really, really hard all race long to catch up, but when I saw towards the end that I wasn’t catching up enough per lap, I settled for second. It was an amazing race, my car was very, very quick, especially under braking and that’s why I out-braked everyone into the first turn. The team did a really good job, they gave me a really good car today, so thank to them, and I hope this won’t be my last podium this season.”
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
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