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pic 01/07/16 Norman Nato qualifies 9th for Racing Engineering today at the Red Bull Ring.

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It was very warm at the Red Bull Ring with air and track temperatures of 24° and 42° respectively as the 45-minute Free Practice got underway. The two Racing Engineering drivers, Norman Nato and Jordan King, were amongst the first out on the track and, like all the other cars, they were using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyres as they prepared for both this afternoon’s Qualifying and the races due on Saturday and Sunday.

Both of the Racing Engineering cars did a single installation lap before returning to the pits, Norman was back on the track after a few minutes and his first fast lap, 1:15.255s, saw him in 4th position which he improved to 1:14.965 four laps later. It was almost twelve minutes before Jordan resumed his practice as the team had worked on his car in the pits and his second flying lap saw him set a time of 1:14.590s to go third and then, after a cooling down lap, he went fastest on 1:14.241s.

Norman and Jordan were back in the pits at the halfway point of the session for some adjustments and, with just over nineteen minutes left in the session, a red flag period gave the Racing Engineering team more time to work on their cars. Both men returned to the track as Practice resumed but a Virtual Safety Car period caused by two cars leaving the track at Turn 1 left just four minutes in the session which meant that neither man improved on their earlier times.

The afternoon Qualifying session saw almost identical temperatures to the morning but although the skies were sunny the circuit was still damp off-line in some places as a result of the rain that had affected the earlier F1 practice session. All the cars were now using the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft compound tyres.

Norman and Jordan took to the circuit as soon as the 30-minute session got underway and the young Frenchman immediately went fastest on 1:15.131s. Jordan was also fast with his first flying lap of 1:14.825s putting him 4th while Norman was right behind on 1:14.987s. With just over ten minutes gone both cars returned to the pits for some final adjustments and a fresh set of supersoft tyres.

There was just ten minutes remaining as the Racing Engineering duo took to the track again and Norman jumped up to 5th with a time of 1:14.466s but Jordan’s quick lap was ruined when Lynn slowed in front of him into the final corner. On his final lap Norman improved to 1:14.456s for 9th but Jordan was unable to reduce his time anymore and he finished in 14th place.

A disappointing Qualifying for both Racing Engineering drivers after a promising Practice session and tomorrow’s Feature Race will see Norman start from the 5th row of the grid and Jordan will be on the 7th row. As usual both men will be fighting to get up into the points and to get a good grid position for Sunday’s Sprint race.
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Team Comments:

Alan Queille, Race Engineer: “This was a disappointing session after a good start in free practice, even if Norman could have been higher up in practice as well. Jordan probably had the speed in qualifying, but didn’t manage to have a clean lap, which would have put us in a much better position for tomorrow. As for Norman, he for sure suffered from traffic as well, even though we managed to improve from the first to the second run. But it’s not the result we were looking for. Tomorrow our drivers have difficult starting positions for what will for sure be an exciting race here in Spielberg.”

Norman Nato: “I made quite a few mistakes during free practice, which made the entire run a bit difficult, but we knew where to improve for qualifying. On my first set of tyres in qualifying we didn’t find the right solution and I was P12 at that moment and it was difficult to push. We made a lot of changes for the second set, but they were not enough, even though going in the right direction, but this will be useful for the races.”

Jordan King:: “Overall a disappointing session. The speed was there for a top 5, but I was hampered by traffic which made it very difficult. The speed was good; the car was good. If we had had a clean lap, we would be up there.”
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