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pic 28/08/16 Jordan King and Racing Engineering in the points again today at Spa.

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Following Jordan King’s excellent 2nd place in yesterday’s Feature Race the young Briton would be starting today’s 18 lap Sprint Race from 7th on the reversed grid. For Norman Nato it was a different story as the young Frenchman had very bad luck when a piece of debris on the track punctured his radiator a few laps from the finish and the resulting overheating caused his retirement which meant he would have to start night at the back of the grid in 21st. Once again the skies were blue in Belgium and, while it was not as hot as yesterday, it was still warm with air and track temperatures of 25° and 29° respectively. Both Norman and Jordan would start today’s race on the Pirelli P Zero Orange compound tyres.

Jordan got away cleanly at the start gaining a place but on the run to Eau Rouge he lost a place to Markelov but the Racing Engineering driver was in a determined mood and he made a very bold pass on Lynn to take 6th place and at the end of lap one he was 0.7 seconds behind Markelov and 0.3 seconds ahead of Lynn. By lap six Jordan was 1.5 seconds behind Markelov and 0.8 seconds ahead of Gasly but it was very close at the front and the gap between the Racing Engineering car and the leader was just 4.3 seconds.

All the drivers were being careful not to overuse their tyres and on lap nine, the halfway point in the race Jordan had closed on Markelov but he had Gasly right behind him and all the drivers were lapping within a few tenths of each other and they were so close that all (except the race leader) were able to use DRS making overtaking more difficult. On lap twelve Gasly made a move on Jordan into the final corner demoting him to 7th but Jordan was fighting back and he was right on the gearbox of the Prema car. As the race entered its final three laps Jordan was now trying to pass Markelov, who had been passed by Gasly, and on lap sixteen he passed the Russian into La Source but Markelov got ahead again into Eau Rouge and Lynn, in 8th, was able to use his DRS and the tow from the two cars to demote Jordan to 8th. On the final lap Jordan was able to repass Markelov and he crossed the finish line in 7th place.

Norman held position away from the grid and he was quickly ahead of Armand and Eriksson to end lap one in 19th, 1.3 seconds behind Kirchhofer and he soon closed the gap and passed the German for 18th. His next target was de Jong and on lap four the gap was just 0.5 seconds and both men passed Gelael to promote Norman to 17th. On lap seven the Racing Engineering driver was ahead of De Jong and he was now chasing Jeffri who was 2.9 seconds ahead and in just two laps he had caught the Arden car and on lap ten he was ahead and in 15th position. On lap eleven Norman was less than half a second behind Evans but the two men were lapping in almost identical times but Norman was fighting hard and he passed Evans and then took Latifi and Matsushita to move up to 12th. An incident on the final lap allowed Norman to gain another place to finish the race in 11th after gaining ten places in the race to finish just outside the points.

Today’s race saw Jordan gain more points to keep himself in contention for the Drivers’ Championship and Norman did all that could be expected of him when he had to start right at the back of the field. The GP2 teams will now have little time to relax as they now head to Monza for round 9 in just one week.
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Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Team Engineer: “Given our starting position, it was all about overtaking today. Unfortunately, Markelov quickly escaped from Jordan's DRS zone, so to keep in contact Jordan pushed hard on his tyres during the first half of the race. Even though he didn't drop during the closing laps, the performance faded a bit during the last laps, allowing Gasly and Lynn to get by. We were hoping for more considering Norman's pace starting from second last. He was steady at the beginning, avoiding contact at the end of the field, but was the quickest car on track during the second half of the race finishing in 11th place. Without yesterday's bad luck he would have definitely been a candidate for the race win today. We are leaving Spa with mixed feelings as we had a good pace throughout the weekend, but were not able to take all the points we could have. We are looking forward to Monza to hopefully collect the points we deserve and regain second position in the team championship.”

Norman Nato: “During the formation lap the cars in front of me were really slow, making big gaps, so we arrived really late on the grid. I had almost no time left to prepare my start, which therefore was not good at all. I was very careful during the opening laps of the race because the cars around me fought hard for positions, stressing their tyres a lot. Our pace was really good throughout the race and our tyre management was really good as well. It's a real pity about yesterday's bad luck as I think I could have been on the podium in both races. Now I’m look forward to Monza to translate our pace into big points.”

Jordan King:: “I had a good start again, challenging the front of the grid on the first lap. After a few laps I then settled into the race and tried to manage tyres and pace. Unfortunately, when I was trying to come through the field, I ended up losing a place. So, really I think we could have been challenging for a top 5 finish, but 7th is still some good points for the championship.”
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