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pic 01/10/16 Norman Nato and Jordan King finish 3rd and 5th for Racing Engineering today at Sepang.

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Today’s 31-lap Feature Race at Sepang was held under cloudy skies with air and track temperatures of 31° and 44° respectively with the humidity up again to 55%. Norman Nato and Jordan King, were starting on the fourth row of the grid after finishing 7th and 8th in yesterday’s Qualifying which had seen the final laps for all the drivers ruined by a red and then a yellow flag. The majority of the field, including Norman and Jordan were starting on the Pirelli P Zero White medium compound tyres before switching to the Orange hard compound at the mandatory pitstop.

As the cars were on their formation lap the car of Markelov stopped on the back straight and the cars had to do an additional two laps before the car was safely removed which reduced the race length to 29 laps. Norman made a very good start from 7th passing Gasly, Matsushita and Lynn to lie 4th into the first corner and at the end of the opening lap he was 0.7 seconds behind Marciello and a similar distance ahead of Lynn. Over the next few lap the gaps remained constant and on lap seven Norman dived into the pits for his pitstop and another quick tyre change from the Racing Engineering pit crew saw the young Frenchman get ahead of Marciello resuming in 17th place but in a virtual 3rd place. By lap twelve all the fastest runners had stopped and Norman was now 10th, 4.1 seconds behind Giovinazzi and 0.7 seconds ahead of Rowland.

By lap fifteen, just past the halfway point, the Racing Engineering car was now up to 6th with three cars ahead of him still to stop and two laps later it was 5th with another pitstop and on lap eighteen the final two cars stopped and Norman was now 3rd. Although Rowland had been close to Norman he quickly opened out the gap, and, although he was preserving his tyres, the lead over the MP Motorsport car was soon three seconds. As the race entered its closing laps Norman began to push hard and he was closing the gap to Sirotkin but there weren’t quite enough laps left and he crossed the finishing line in 3rd, just two seconds behind the ART car.

Jordan, like Norman, also got away very well gaining three places into the first corner but halfway around the lap he had to back off slightly to avoid contact with his teammate and he lost a place to Lynn and Rowland then slipstreamed past the British driver demoting him to 8th. Almost immediately the Racing Engineering car was up to 7th as Latifi spun on lap four and he was now 1.6 seconds behind Rowland and 0.8 seconds ahead of Ghiotto. On lap six Jordan moved up to 6th as Rowland pitted and he was now chasing Lynn and two laps later he took his mandatory pitstop returning to the track in 14th.

As the cars ahead took their pitstops Jordan quickly began to move back through the field and on lap twelve he was up to 14th, 2.2 seconds behind Marciello and 4.9 seconds ahead of Gasly. Over the next seven laps further pitstops promoted the Racing Engineering car to 7th and Jordan began to close the gap to Marciello and by lap twenty the gap was just one second and he now had the benefit of DRS and the gap was soon down to under half a second. Both Jordan and Marciello were closing in on Rowland and on lap twenty-six both men got ahead and Jordan was now 6th. With just two laps left Jordan now pressed as hard as he could and on the final lap he made the pass on the Russian Time driver to cross the finishing line in 5th.

After a disappointing Qualifying both Norman and Jordan showed their true pace in the race by finishing in an excellent 3rd and 5th position after starting 7th and 8th. Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Jordan start from 4th and Norman 6th on the reversed grid and both men will be in with an excellent chance of finishing on the podium.
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Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Technical Director: “First of all congratulations to Prema, who clinched the team title today, being a strong competitor all season long. As for our race today, both drivers made a really good start and the fight was intense during the opening lap. Unfortunately, Jordan lost quite a few places as he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and other drivers were overtaking right and left. Norman took more advantage of it and ultimately pitted quite early to try the undercut and stay in front of Lynn. We pitted Jordan the lap after and his pace increased throughout the race and he came back from P7 to P5. Norman pushed when he needed to and settled for 3rd. In the end it is a strong result keeping in mind where we started, but we could have hoped for more considering Jordan’s pace. Tomorrow there is another opportunity to climb on the podium and we will work hard to make it happen.”

Norman Nato: “First of all I had a good start. We missed a bit of pace on the Option tyres at the start of the race so we decided to pit early to try the undercut and it worked as I increased the gap on Lynn. After the pitstop the pace was not good enough to follow Sirotkin and Giovinazzi, but it got better after few laps and I started to catch Sirotkin but it was too late.”

Jordan King:: “The start was very good, making up a lot of places. Unfortunately, in trying to overtake Norman I had to back off as I didn’t know if he saw me and this cost me time and places and I had to fight to get the positions back along the race. We had good speed for a podium but lap one cost me. Starting 4th tomorrow, with the strong pace of today, I’m looking forward to a strong result.”
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