The GP2 teams and drivers were greeted by rain at the start of the afternoon free practice although it gradually ceased during the session.
Even though the track temperature was at 30°, the humidity was 88% meaning that it would take longer for the track to dry than is normal so, although a dry line to begin to appear by the end of the 30 minutes, wet tyres were needed throughout.
Conditions on track were difficult with a lot of standing water and leaves off the racing line on several corners.
After eight minutes Nathanaël Berthon went quickest for Racing Engineering with a time of 2:21.717s but lap times were dropping quickly as the drivers got used to the circuit and the track conditions.
As the session reached the halfway point Fabio Leimer went 2nd fastest with a time of 2:17.294s with Berthon just over a second slower in 13th.
Fabio continued to get faster and, with one minute remaining, he improved his time to 2:14.671s to stay in 2nd spot, one of only two drivers to get under the 2:15s mark. Nathanaël also went quicker and quicker to end the session in 13th with a lap of 2:16.461s.
The track was dry for the evening qualifying session with the GP2 drivers running under floodlights for the first time, the track temperature had fallen to 27° and the humidity to 77%.
Fabio was immediately on the pace, setting the second fastest time of 2:00.860s after 10 minutes with Nathanaël some two seconds slower and searching for a clean lap.
Most of the cars pitted after 15 minutes to fit new tyres and make some final adjustments and with just 8 minutes remaining both Racing Engineering cars were back on track and looking to improve their times.
Fabio was fast once again and with just 3.5 minutes left on the clock he set a time of 2:00.113s for 2nd fastest but with 1.5 minutes left, just as the young Swiss was looking to go faster still, an accident to Melker saw the session red-flagged and the Racing Engineering driver had to settle for 5th on the grid.
Nathanaël was similarly affected by the red flag just when he was looking to set his fastest lap and the young Frenchman was left in 12th place with a time of 2:00.695s.
Although both Racing Engineering drivers would have preferred to have started higher up the grid, they will be looking to gain positions in tomorrow’s Feature Race with Fabio aiming to finish in a podium position and Nathanaël wanting to score more points and get a good grid position for the Sunday Sprint Race.
Source: Racing Engineering