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pic 25/11/16 Norman Nato qualifies in 6th today for Racing Engineering at the Yas Marina circuit.

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The opening Practice session at the Yas Marina circuit for the final race weekend of the 2016 GP2 Series saw the sun shining under blue skies with air and track temperatures of 28° and 33° respectively. Norman Nato and Jordan King, the two Racing Engineering drivers, were out on to the track as soon as the session got underway and, like all the other cars, they were using the Pirelli P Zero White medium compound tyres as they began working on the set-up of their cars for this afternoon’s Qualifying and the races on Saturday and Sunday.

Norman’s first flying lap of 1:51.994 saw the young Frenchman go 3rd fastest with Jordan just behind him in 5th with a time of 1:52.718 and Norman’s next fast lap saw an improvement to 1:51.730 while Jordan was just a little slower on 1:52.320. With eighteen minutes of the session completed the Racing Engineering cars returned to the pits for some set-up changes and both men returned to the track with nineteen minutes still to go. Jordan was the first to set a faster time as he lapped in 1:52.828 and a few minutes later Norman went 4th on 1:51.687 and Jordan immediately reduced his time to 1:51.795. With eight minutes remaining the Racing Engineering cars were back in the pits and with just three minutes remaining Norman and Jordan were back on the track but neither man improved on their earlier times.

The 30-minute Qualifying session took place at 19:10 local time so the Yas Marina floodlights were illuminating the circuit and all the cars were now running the Pirelli P Zero Red Supersoft compound tyres as the drivers battled for grid position for tomorrow’s Feature Race. It was now cooler in the Abu Dhabi evening and air and track temperatures were down to 24° and 27° respectively. Both Norman and Jordan were immediately on the pace as their first flying laps saw them go 4th and 5th with laps of 1:49.102 and 1:49.806 respectively. Jordan pitted after eleven minutes for some set-up changes and a fresh set of supersoft tyres and Norman followed two minutes later. With nine minutes of the session left both the Racing Engineering cars were back on track and Jordan reduced his lap time to 1:49.116 and then Norman went 6th on 1:48.307. Jordan’s final flying lap moved him up to 11th as he reduced his time to 1:48.712 while Norman finished the session in 7th.

Tomorrow’s 31 lap Feature Race will see Norman start from the 4th row of the grid with Jordan two rows further back and both men will be battling hard to get on the podium and finish the year on a positive note.
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Technical Director: “This was a quite eventful qualifying with a lot of improvement during the session. It took Jordan a bit of time to adapt to the GP2 car again, but he was quite quick in the last sector. In Norman's case, it was the contrary, he was quick in sectors 1 and 2, but not enough in the last. These are not the starting positions we were hoping for and we have a lot of work tonight to work on a good car and a strategy to finish the race as well as possible.”

Norman Nato: “It was quite difficult on the first set of tires because I wasn't confident with the car to push at the limit. We tried to do some changes for run 2, I had a bit of traffic on my fast lap, which I think cost me some two tenths, so I could have been in 5th.”

Jordan King:: “It took a bit of adapting to get back into the GP2 car which hindered me on the first run. I then struggled to get tyre temperature on the second run, which cost us lap time. It's a long race tomorrow and we saw last year that a lot can happen.”
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©GP2
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©GP2
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©GP2
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