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pic 27/05/16 Norman Nato finishes second for Racing Engineering today at Monaco.

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The Monegasque weather for this morning’s 42 lap Feature Race was just a little warmer to that the teams had faced in Practice and Qualifying with air and track temperatures of 22° and 34° respectively. Both of the Racing Engineering drivers, Norman Nato and Jordan King, would be starting on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound and after their excellent pace in Qualifying Norman was starting from 2nd with Jordan right behind his teammate in 3rd. The start of the Race was delayed by fifteen minutes as some repairs were needed on the track following an earlier incident.

As the red lights went off Norman made a great start from 2nd to out-brake Sirotkin into Ste Devote and take the lead and although the Russian driver tried hard to stay with the Racing Engineering car over the next few laps Norman slowly pulled out a 0.6 second gap by lap five. On lap ten he had doubled his lead to 1.2 seconds but all the drivers were having to conserve their tyres as the Supersoft compound would not last very long on the Monaco track. On lap eleven Sirotkin missed the chicane and the gap was now 2.3 seconds but the ART driver began to close in again and on lap 15 Norman’s lead was one second and the Russian would now have the advantage of DRS. However once again the young Frenchman began to pull away and on lap 18 he was 1.5 seconds ahead.

On lap nineteen a Virtual Safety Car period came into effect to clear some debris and as it ended Sirotkin got the better “start” and closed in on Norman but once again the Racing Engineering driver opened out a gap but then on lap twenty-three the ART driver left the track at the Swimming Pool and was out of the race. The Virtual Safety Car was used once again as the damaged car was removed and now Norman was leading from his teammate Jordan. As racing resumed again on lap 27 Norman’s lead over Jordan was 1.6 seconds but as his teammate retired his lead was now four seconds over Rowland.

On lap 30 Norman took his mandatory pitstop switching to the Supersoft tyres and as he returned to the track Rowland, who had stopped a lap earlier, was right behind the Racing Engineering car but the Frenchman was driving hard and on lap 35 he had opened out a 1.7 second lead. Norman was now second on the road as Markelov had yet to take his pitstop and with six laps to go another Virtual Safety Car period came into effect as Ghiotto stopped on the track and when racing got underway again the one-hour time limit came into effect. Markelov then took his stop and was able to regain the lead just ahead of Norman who tried hard to regain the lead but there wasn’t enough time left and he had to settle for a disappointed 2nd position.

Jordan made a clean getaway following Norman and Sirotkin into Ste Devote and although Evans initially tried to pass him the young Englishman opened out a 1.5 second gap by lap six and he was less than a second behind Sirotkin. Evans now closed the gap to Jordan a little and the Racing Engineering driver had to start driving defensively and he began to fall away a little from Sirotkin. By lap sixteen Jordan had open out a gap again to Evans and he now had a 4.3 second advantage.

On lap twenty-one, the halfway point, Jordan was now 1.5 seconds behind Sirotkin and 4.1 seconds ahead of Rowland who had passed Evans but two laps later Sirotkin’s accident promoted Jordan to second 5.2 seconds ahead of Rowland. However, on lap twenty-seven, he reported over the team radio that he had made contact with the wall and he returned to the pits but he was unable to continue and he had to retire.

A disappointing day for Racing Engineering with Jordan retiring and Norman losing the race win in the dying moments of the race. Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Norman starting from 7th on the reversed grid while Jordan will be at the back of the field. Both men will be trying as hard as ever to score as many points as possible.
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Team Comments:

Alan Queille, Race Engineer: “Mixed feelings today obviously because we had two cars in front for a good part of the race then Jordan had the contact with the wall that ended his race. Norman was looking good for the race victory but in an eventful end to the race he lost the win which is a big disappointment for us. However, we are looking good in terms of pace so we are looking for good points tomorrow.”

Norman Nato: “My start was good and I was able to pass Sirotkin straight away. Our pace was good then and I mainly followed the instructions of Thomas, my engineer. I was simply trying to not make any mistakes and we were stronger than the others today. When I re-joined the track after my pit stop I didn't really understand how a car could be in front of me when I pushed and made no mistakes for some 40 laps. This is obviously quite disappointing when you’ve lead until two laps before the end.”

Jordan King:: “My start was really good again which is another positive, three good starts in a row. I had a good race until the end, the pace seemed quite good, I was struggling with a bit of understeer. I managed to pick up second place when Sirotkin retired and everything was looking OK for a good result. I was just trying to push a little when I clipped the inside barrier and it bent the steering and I couldn’t finish the race.”
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