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pic 26/11/16 Norman Nato in the points today for Racing Engineering at Yas Marina.

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Today’s 31 lap Feature Race at Yas Marina took place at 18:40 local time so, as had been the case for yesterday’s Qualifying, the floodlights were again illuminating the circuit and conditions were similar in the Abu Dhabi evening with air and track temperatures of 24° and 26° respectively. Follow Qualifying the two Racing Engineering cars, driven by Norman Nato and Jordan King, lined up 7th and 11th respectively on the grid and both cars were starting on the Pirelli P Zero Red Supersoft compound tyres and would switch to the Pirelli P Zero White Medium compound tyres at their mandatory pitstops.

Norman got away cleanly at the start and he was able to hold his 7th position on the opening lap and, as the cars started lap two, he was just behind Giovinazzi and was being chased by Lynn. For the next three laps Norman came under heavy pressure from Lynn but the young Frenchman was able to keep his place while keeping the gap to Giovinazzi down to under a second. On lap five the Racing Engineering driver tried to pass the Prema car but the two men made light contact and Lynn took advantage to push Norman down to 8th. Lap six saw him take his pitstop as his Supersoft tyres were wearing very quickly and he resumed the race in 14th position now on the Medium tyres.

On lap nine it was announced that Norman had received a five second penalty for speeding in the pitlane. By lap eleven he had moved up to 13th and he was now 0.5 seconds behind Sirotkin and 0.7 seconds ahead of Latifi and five laps later he gained a position when he overtook Bernstorff who had been passed by Sirotkin. As the race entered its second half Norman was now chasing Armand and he soon got ahead of the Trident driver and on lap twenty he was 11th, just 0.8 seconds behind De Jong and on lap twenty-two he passed the Dutch driver to take 10th. With seven laps left Sirotkin, who was 0.8 seconds ahead, was Norman’s next target and on lap twenty-four Norman set the fastest Lap of the race so far with a time of 1:52.640. Some late pitstops promoted Norman to 5th with four laps to go as he set another fastest lap at 1:52.439 but the Racing Engineering driver was unable to gain any more positions and, although he crossed the line in 5th, his five second penalty dropped him to 6th.

Jordan lost three places at the start as Cecotto, Ghiotto and Latifi passed him on the inside of the first corner and although he repassed Cecotto he stayed in 14th as he was passed by Canamasas. On lap three the Racing Engineering car lost another place to Malja but two laps later he repassed the Swedish driver. Jordan took his pitstop on lap seven but by lap eleven he was down in 16th place 0.4 seconds behind Giovinazzi and 1.2 seconds ahead of Evans. The young Briton now began to set a number of personal fastest laps as he tried to close the gap to Latifi who was now in 15th. As the race entered its closing laps Jordan was up to 13th as cars ahead made late pitstops but he was unable to make any more progress before the chequered flag fell.

A slightly disappointing day for Racing Engineering today with just a 6th place finish for Norman and Jordan never able to come back after having lost positions at the start. Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Norman start from 3rd on the reversed grid and his pace on the medium compound tyres today means that he must have a good chance to take the win.
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©GP2
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©GP2
Team Comments:

Sebastien Viger, Technical Director: “This was obviously not the race we hoped for. Both starts were not up to what we are normally doing, especially in Jordan’s case as he lost several positions. From there on the job was more complicated for him and a slow pit stop further complicated things. His pace out of the pits was not quite enough for 4-5 laps, so adding all this together, it cost us quite some time. In Norman’s case, it’s a shame about the penalty and we need to look at the data to understand what happened. His pace was very good during the second part of the race. We will work hard tonight to claim back second position in the teams’ championship in tomorrow’s race.”

Norman Nato: “The start was not really good but I kept my position and I struggled for the first two laps to find the right pace. Then I was fighting with Lynn, who was on primes, which didn't help as I had to defend from him. We decided to pit on lap 6 and I was over speed in the pitlane. But on my dashboard the pit limiter or was on, but the car didn't slow down. After the pit stop I struggled for a few laps, but then the pace was better and better each lap and really good towards the end of the race, but I lost too much during the laps after the pit stop.”

Jordan King:: “We changed tyres on the grid and because of that we struggled off the line and the first laps of the race because of lack of tyre temperature. I think I managed the options well, but had to do an extra lap compared to others, which cost us some time. We also had a slow pit stop, all of which made our job on prime tyres more difficult.”
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©GP2
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©GP2
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