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pic 23/11/14 A brilliant victory today for Stefano in the Abu Dhabi Sprint Race.

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Today’s 22 lap Sprint Race was being run at 14:20 local time so there were no floodlights to contend with and the weather was much warmer with air and track temperatures of 29° and 46° respectively, much higher than the teams had experienced all weekend. All the cars would be starting on the Pirelli P Zero White Medium compound tyres and following yesterday’s Feature Race Stefano would be starting from second on the reversed grid and Lello from 11th.

Stefano made a great start and swept around the outside of Pic to take the lead into the first corner and at the end of the lap he was 1.4 seconds ahead of Nasr. On lap 3 Stefano set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:53.594s and he was holding the gap to Nasr at 1.4 seconds, the young Monegasque then went faster still on the following lap and opened out the gap to Nasr to two seconds and by lap 7 he moved further head to plus 2.4 seconds.

On lap 10 Stefano set another fastest race lap at 1:52.565s and he was now 2.9 seconds ahead of Nasr but it was important to preserve his tyres to the end of the race. With four laps remaining Stefano was 2.5 seconds ahead of Nasr and in the remaining laps he increased his pace further and he took the chequered flag 3.7 seconds ahead of Nasr.

Lello made a clean start and he was able to gain several places on the opening lap to cross the line in 8th, just ahead of Canamasas but he broke his front wing in corner 1, following contact with another car, and it affected the balance of his car for the whole race mainly slowing him in sector 1. The young Italian soon pulled out a lead of 1.8 seconds on the Trident car and he was now chasing after yesterday’s race winner Vandoorne and on lap 6 he was 1.5 seconds behind the ART car. The Racing Engineering car was now closing in on the battle for 4th with gap from Cecotto in 4th the Lello in 8th just four seconds.

By lap 11, the half-way point, Lello was still involved in the battle for 4th but all the cars were lapping in very similar times and all the drivers were being careful not to put too much strain on their Pirellis. Lello now began to close the gap to Vandoorne and by lap 15 the gap was down to 0.7 seconds and on lap 17 he set his fastest lap of the race so far but Vandoorne had also sped up so the gap was not closing and in the end he had to settle for 8th at the finish.

The Racing Engineering team finished the season as they wanted to with great win for Stefano as he led from start to finish but there is no time to celebrate as the team now has to prepare for the post-season testing which will take place on the Yas Marina circuit from November the 27th to the 29th.
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “A very positive result today with a well-deserved win for Stefano and the team. Lello was able to take a point as well despite a broken front wing, which slowed him down. The foundation of Stefano’s win was a great start followed by a very strong pace, which allowed him to fight for fastest lap and manage the gap to his followers. He was really happy with the car and did a great job himself. A big thank you to all the team for their good work.”

Rafaele Marciello: “My start went OK, but then another driver closed the door on me and I broke part of my front wing and I had a lot of understeer as a consequence in the right hand corners. Therefore I wasn’t so fast, but even like this my lap times were good and I was able to finish in 8th position.”

Stefano Coletti:: “I thought that my start wasn’t too good, but then I found a really good line into the first corner. I managed my pace and the tyres and kept Nasr behind me. It was a great win to finish the season. The team did a great job and the car was perfect today.”
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©GP2
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