It was overcast for today’s 24 lap Sprint Race at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore with a track temperature of 36° and 66% humidity.
Fabio Leimer made a great start from 6th on the grid as the lights went off to move up to 4th at the first corner as he battled hard with Razia and at the end of the opening lap he was fighting with Razia in 3rd and Valsecchi in 5th. Over the next few laps Fabio kept the gap to Razia at around one second whilst slowly pulling away from Valsecchi.
By lap 15, and with the race entering its closing laps, Fabio was just 0.3 seconds behind Razia and he had, once again, opened out a gap of 1.3 seconds on Valsecchi.
With the race now being run to time rather than laps completed Fabio was putting more and more pressure on Razia running alongside the Arden car and the Racing Engineering car was clearly faster and on the last lap Fabio moved ahead of the Brazilian to take 3rd.
Nathanaël Berthon also got away very quickly from 10th on the grid gaining three places to be 7th at the end of the opening lap but, on lap 2, the young Frenchman’s bad luck struck again as he had to make a pit stop to replace a damaged nose and the Racing Engineering car resumed in 25th and last place. Nathanaël immediately began to close the gap on Teixeira who was 20.7 seconds ahead and within three laps he had reduced the gap to 14.3 seconds.
Nathanaël was now flying and on lap 7 he set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 2:02.833s, over one second faster than the pace the race leaders were running. Following the deployment of the Safety Car and problems to other drivers Nathanaël was now in 20th place and battling with Onidi who he passed on lap14 to take 19th position. His next target was Gonzalez who was just 0.2 seconds ahead and he got ahead of the Mexican on the next lap.
With four minutes remaining Nathanaël passed a slowing Chilton and was now closing on Guerin and with contact between two cars ahead of him he moved up to 15th, an excellent result following his unscheduled pitstop on lap 2.
Another great day for Racing Engineering in Singapore with Fabio on the podium for the second time and a great fighting drive from Nathanaël that saw him set the race’s fastest lap.
Although the racing season is now over, the work doesn’t stop as the GP2 teams will be carrying out their usual post-season testing on the 30th and 31st of October at Barcelona and on the 22nd and 23rd of November at Jerez de la Frontera.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: "Another podium for Fabio Leimer. We knew we had a good car and a good driver, but this track is tricky and you can easily lose positions with the slightest lapse of attention. Fabio in that respect kept his concentration and managed his tyres, allowing him to overtake at crucial moments.
As for Nathanaël Berthon, he was flying and gained some good positions at the start. Sadly, a driver ran into him and he had to pit for a new front wing. But he did not give up and managed to set the fastest lap of the race.
What fighters both drivers have been this season. Congratulations to the whole team, once again the cars were extremely quick and did not break down once during the entire season."
Fabio Leimer: "It was a really good race today, I am very happy. It was important to get a good start and at the end I managed to move from P6 to almost P3. But I had to give up a position to Razia, who was on the better line for corners 2 and 3. When I saw that Van Der Garde was pushing hard at the beginning, I decided to manage my tyres and wait until later in the race to up the pressure.
Then the Safety Car neutralized the race and this allowed me to push a bit earlier. I saw that Razia started to struggle and we were very close for quite some time. I tried to get past him in the second last corner, but we both went straight through the chicane. I tried the same move on the last lap and it worked out so I could move up to 3rd position.
I finished both races of the weekend on the podium, which is really great. A big thank you to the team as they gave me a very good car, thanks for all the hard work during the entire year."
Nathanaël Berthon: "I had a good start but then a crazy guy ruined my race by pushing me from behind in corner 13. I was pushed towards the wall, which damaged my front wing. Consequently I needed to stop in the pits to quickly put a new front wing on.
Due to the damage the car didn't feel perfect, but I was the quickest on track, so it's a real shame as we had a very good chance to score points today. I would like to thank the Racing Engineering team for this season."
Source: Racing Engineering