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pic 27/11/15 The two Racing Engineering drivers are in the top eight in Abu Dhabi qualifying.

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The last round of the 2015 GP2 Series started mid-morning in Abu Dhabi with warm weather, and air and track temperatures of 28 and 33 on the Yas Marina asphalt. Given that qualifying and the feature race will be held in the evening, with very different conditions expected, all the teams made use of the 45 minutes of the morning free practice mainly for general testing, without looking for optimal performances.

Nevertheless the two Racing Engineering drivers where always among the fastest, Alexander Rossi was one of the first to get close to the 1:50 mark, and after doing 14 laps, he finished the session in fourth position with a 1:50.021. His teammate, Jordan King, ran similar lap times, finally being seventh fastest with a personal best of 1:50.288 set with around 12 minutes left to the end of the session, during which he did a total of 17 laps of the Yas Marina track.

A few minutes after 7PM, local time, and the night was already coming to Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina track was under the floodlights for the beginning of the qualifying session. With 24º air temperature and 26º on the asphalt, all the cars were using the Pirelli 'red' supersoft tyres and most went out of the pits as soon as the 30 minutes that would decide the grid for the feature race started. Alexander Rossi was the first to set a fast lap with a 1:49.855, but he was soon beaten by several drivers, one of them being his teammate, Jordan King, who got up to second with 1:48.632 in his first flying lap while Alex went down to 12th.

After doing a slow lap to cool down the tyres, both Alex and Jordan made another fast lap attempt, and the young American, improved to 1:48.598 to take 4th position, while Jordan lost some time in the final sector and had to settle on his previous time that left him right behind, in 5th position, when the session reached its halfway point and all the cars returned to the pits.

With ten minutes to go, Alex and Jordan were back on track with a new set of supersofts and the target of improving their times in what would be the final run for all the drivers. However neither of the two men from the Spanish team were able to find some clear track among the intense traffic in the final minutes of the session, and that meant both losing some positions, finishing with Alex in seventh place followed, just three hundredths of a second slower by Jordan in eight position.

All in all, the first day of the GP2 at Abu Dhabi delivered a little below expectations outcome for Racing Engineering, but its two drivers have been close to the top times and are starting tomorrow from the fourth row of the grid for the Feature Race. Bearing in mind their good pace, their aim will be to reach the podium positions and score the maximum possible points so that Alexander can consolidate his second position in the Drivers’ Championship and the Spanish squad would secure the same place in the team standings ahead of the final race of the year, the Sunday Sprint Race.

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©GP2
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Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Team Engineer: “This was a really disappointing session considering how we started it. Jordan was immediately on pace, while it was a bit more complicated for Alex, but he was in the top 5 as well with his second push lap. Halfway through the session we had both cars on the top 5, but all went a bit downhill from there. Alex didn't manage to improve his lap time and with Jordan we gambled on only one more lap. But he went off in turn 1, so we pushed on the following lap where he encountered traffic by cars on their slow laps. We will push tomorrow to defend our second position. It's a long race and a lot can happen. .”

Jordan King: “I was very happy with my first stint in qualifying. I knew there was some more time to be found in myself and the car and I knew what needed to be done. So going onto the second set of tyres we took a risk with our run plan that didn't quite pay off. But all in all it was a very positive session. With a good start we should be able to fight for a top position in tomorrow's race. ”

Alexander Rossi:: “Disappointed to qualify below where we were in practice. There were no mayor issues other than the fact that we just lacked pace. As always we are very confident in our car for Saturday and we'll do our best to get on the podium again on our last weekend.”
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©GP2
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