A fighting 4th for Fabio Leimer and Racing Engineering Hockenheim Sprint Race.

The weather had improved greatly and the 27 lap Sprint Race was held under sunny skies with a track temperature of 25°.

Fabio Leimer
Fabio Leimer

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

As the lights went off Fabio Leimer made a great start to pass Melker on the run into the first corner and then overtake Richelmi on the exit to finish the first lap 0.3s behind Nasr and 0.3 ahead of Richelmi in 4th position.

The Safety Car was briefly deployed on lap 2 whilst some cars that had spun and blocked the track were removed and as racing resumed Leimer was pushing hard to pass Nasr whilst be careful not to stress his tyres too early in the race. By lap 10 a big battle was developing for third place between Nasr, Leimer, Cecotto, Gutierrez, Melker, Kral and Coletti. The Racing Engineering driver briefly lost 4th place to Cecotto but the young Swiss driver immediately re-passed the Venezuelan.

Over the next few laps Nasr, Leimer and Gutierrez were pulling away from the next group, led by Cecotto. With 9 laps to go the battle between Nasr, Leimer and Gutierrez was becoming very intense with the Racing Engineering driver looking for any opportunity to pass DAMS car without leaving an opening for the Mexican driver.

As the remaining laps were counted down Leimer dropped away a little from Nasr as he concentrated on keep Gutierrez behind him as the Lotus GP pressed hard but as the cars crossed the finishing line Leimer held on to take 4th position 0.3s ahead of the Mexican.

A good start from Nathanaël Berthon saw him gain several places on the opening lap to be lying 12th at the start of lap 2, 04.s behind Valsecchi and 0.5 ahead of Palmer. Over the next few laps a tough battle developed between Valsecchi, Berthon and Palmer and on lap 9 the Racing Engineering driver lost a place to Palmer but the young Frenchman stayed close to the British driver. A spin by Valsecchi on lap 16 which required Berthon to take evasive action promoted him 11th.

A big group of cars comprising Cecotto, Melker, Coletti, Palmer, Berthon, Kral and Leal now began to battle for 6th which continued for the rest of the race. An attempt from Kral to pass Berthon saw contact between the two cars resulting in some damage to the Racing Engineering Dallara but Berthon was not deterred and he continued to press and he crossed the finish line at the end of the race in a hard fought 11th place.

A good weekend for Racing Engineering with Leimer finishing 2nd and 4th in the two races and Berthon once again showing great race pace and with a little more luck he could have picked up more points. The team now has only a week to prepare for the next round in Hungary where they will be looking for more great results.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "A nice race full of action today. Both our drivers were fighting hard from the start until the chequered flag and we saw a lot of overtaking. Fabio managed the first laps well, but unfortunately couldn't pass Nasr, but was able to keep Gutierrez behind with a mature drive. He has been scoring good points this weekend. Nathanaël had an action packed race, where he tried to make up positions, while at the same time facing several tricky situations. But some contact with others cars kept him from a points finish today."

Fabio Leimer: "The weekend was pretty positive, I am very satisfied. At the start of today's race I made up 3 positions. Then I tried to pass Nasr, but he was too fast and so, just like yesterday, I focused on managing my tyres. Towards the end Gutierrez was behind me, pushing me, which didn't allow me to save the tyres as I wanted to, so during the last laps I had slight problems, but was able to keep him behind. A big thank you to the team, this was a good weekend, we scored a lot of points and I’m now looking forward to Budapest."

Nathanaël Berthon: "I think I had a pretty good first lap and I should have passed Valsecchi right away as my pace was really good during the beginning of the race. Then the race became quite chaotic and I think five cars pushed me on different occasions. I am lucky to actually finish the race as I think it was dangerous how some others drove today."

Source: Racing Engineering

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Series GP2
Article type Race reports
Tags berthon, hockenheim, leimer, racing engineering

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