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pic 08/05/15 Alexander qualifies 5th today in Barcelona.

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Once again the GP2 teams were greeted at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with blue skies and warm weather for round two of the 2015 GP2 Series with air and track temperatures of 24° and 38° respectively.

The 45 minute free practice session saw the cars running the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres and the two Racing Engineering drivers, Jordan King and Alexander Rossi, were amongst the first out onto the track and Alexander was immediately on the pace going fastest on his third lap with a time of 1:31.050s and his next flying lap improved this to 1:30.767s, while after seven laps Jordan was just a little slower than his teammate on 1:31.524s. As the session approached the halfway point both Racing Engineering cars returned to the pits for some setup adjustments and a new set of the hard compound tyres. Jordan returned to the track with 20 minutes remaining and Alexander followed a few minutes later as both men continued to work on their race set-ups and neither man improved on their earlier times.

The temperatures had risen by the time the 30 minute qualifying got underway in the afternoon with air and track temperatures of 30° and 50° respectively and the cars were now running the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyres as they battled for the grid positions for tomorrow’s race. Alexander and Jordan went out onto the track as the pit lane lights turned green but almost immediately the session was red flagged as Markelov’s car stopped at turn four. The stranded car was quickly removed and the 25 cars returned to the track as qualifying resumed and Alexander was immediately 2nd fastest on his first flying lap with a time of 1:30.154s but times were falling quickly.

As always most of the cars returned to the pits as the 15 minute mark arrived for final adjustments and a fresh set of the soft compound tyres and with nine minutes to go the Racing Engineering pair were back on track. Jordan was soon setting some quick times and he jumped up to 7th with a lap of 1:30.686s but he was unable to improve any further and he finished the session in 15th place. Alexander’s earlier time proved to be his best of the session and he will start tomorrow’s 37 lap Feature Race in 5th position.
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “It was a disappointing qualifying session, especially for Jordan. Even though this was his first time in Barcelona with a GP2 car, we all wanted him to secure a top 10 position. Alex has been fighting in the top 5 in both stints and P3 was possible today, but we have to work on catching Vandoorne. The red flag at the beginning of the session caused an offset on the lap sequence of the drivers which provoked traffic for pretty much the entire field and not having the GPS at the pit-wall working didn’t help either. The asphalt here is abrasive and we have high temperatures, so we expect a challenging race and will work on managing it in the best way possible.”

Jordan King: “I am very disappointed given the speed we have shown in testing in Bahrain. I expected to be closer to the top 10, mid top 10 was my goal. My first run on options was very scrappy due to traffic management. My first two laps were pretty much void. The second run was better traffic-wise, but I left too much to do for that one lap even though I improved my time by over a second. I didn’t get into a rhythm all session long to get the best out of myself and the car.”

Alexander Rossi:: “Both qualifying runs were difficult for us. We didn’t really find the best balance and I made a mistake on the second set. Bearing in mind these things starting P5 isn’t the worst thing on earth, but we need to understand why there is such a big gap to P1 and make sure it doesn’t stay like this tomorrow.”
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
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