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pic 26/08/16 Norman Nato and Jordan King qualify 4th and 5th for Racing Engineering today at Spa Francorchamps.

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It was another warm and sunny Friday with blue skies for the GP2 teams at Spa Francorchamps today with air and track temperatures of 28° and 34° respectively for the start of the 45-minute Free Practice session. Norman Nato and Jordan King, the two Racing Engineering drivers, were out on to the track as soon as the session began and, like all the other cars, they were using the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres as they began working on the set-up of their cars for today’s Qualifying and the Saturday and Sunday races.

Norman was the first man to set a quick lap, going 3rd fastest with a time of 1:59.414s but then Jordan went faster with a time of 1:59.228 for 2nd. It was Norman’s turn to improve on his next flying lap and he overtook Jordan with a lap of 1:59.194 to lie 3rd with fifteen minutes of the session remaining. At the fifteen-minute mark Jordan returned to the pits for some set-up adjustments and he was followed a few minutes later by Norman.

Both Norman and Jordan returned to the track with twenty-two minutes remaining and the team were now concentrating on the race set-up so both men were now over a second a lap slower than they had been in the opening fifteen minutes. With just over ten minutes remaining Norman and Jordan returned to the pits for final adjustments as a yellow flag period slowed proceedings and with just seven minutes to go Jordan left the pits and Norman followed him one minute later but neither man improved on their earlier laps so Norman finished the session in 3rd with Jordan right behind him in 4th.

It was hotter still for the 30-minute Qualifying session with air and track temperatures now up to 30° and 38° respectively and all the cars were now using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyres as they competed for the grid positions for tomorrow’s Feature Race. Jordan’s first flying lap saw him in 3rd place with a time of 1:57.411 while Norman went 10th on 1:58.614. Two laps later Norman made a big improvement to 1:57.649 to lie 4th, one place behind Jordan.

At the halfway mark Norman and Jordan returned to the pits for some adjustments and a new set of soft compound tyres and both men were back on track with ten minutes still to go and Norman’s first flying lap saw him move up to 3rd with a time of 1:57.211 but Jordan was unable to improve on his earlier time. At the end of the 30-minute session Norman finished in 4th with Jordan next up in 5th and both of the Racing Engineering drivers will be in a very strong position to stand on the podium after tomorrow’s Feature Race.
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Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Team Engineer: “This was an eventful qualifying session here at Spa. The first part was reasonably calm with drivers sticking to their usual plans. We came into the pits after the first stint with Jordan in 3rd and Norman in 4th. A lot of drivers you expect to see higher up in the standings struggled with traffic during their first push laps, so we knew we needed to push hard on the second stint. To avoid traffic, our cars were within the first cars to go back on track alongside Malja. But unfortunately Malja took advantage of the situation. jumping both our guys, while we got caught out by traffic. So it’s disappointing we could not fight for a better starting position. Having said this, the second group of cars joining the session on their second set of tyres had a lot of issues as well and only a few were actually able to improve their lap time. Tomorrow’s starting positions are not bad and some of the drivers fighting for the championship are behind us, so it’s all about pocketing some big points tomorrow.”

Norman Nato: “It was generally an OK session today. On the first set I made a mistake on my first push lap, but I managed to improve my lap time on my next push lap though. We went for only one push lap with the second set of tyres and I improved my time by 4 tenths with a bit of traffic in the last sector, so I think I could have been in P3. P4 is not bad at all and a good starting position for tomorrow’s race.”

Jordan King:: “The run on the first set of tyres was good. I was in the top 3, so all was working quite well and I was happy with the balance of the car. Unfortunately, we got our timing wrong on the second set and hit traffic, so we couldn’t improve, so we slipped down the order a bit. It’s very frustrating as I think the top 3 was easily doable today.”
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