Once again it was a sunny day at Monaco for today’s 30 lap Sprint Race with the track temperature a little warmer than yesterday at 34°. The majority of drivers were using the harder prime Pirelli tyres.
As the lights went off Valsecchi was very slow away but fortunately all the drivers managed to miss him however, as the cars entered Ste Devote, there was contact between several cars but both Racing Engineering cars were safely through. As the cars ascended the hill at Beau Rivage Cecotto spun just in front of Berthon but the young Frenchman avoided contact then, just behind, several other cars spun and collided with each other causing the immediate deployment of the Safety Car.
The Safety Car returned to the pits on lap 4 and the race resumed with Nathanaël Berthon in 8th and Fabio Leimer just behind in 9th. Berthon was chasing Razia hard with Leimer just head of Gutierrez.
On lap 9 Leimer’s disappointing Monaco weekend continued when he made contact with a barrier and had to pit and the damage to his car forced him to retire.
Berthon was now up to 7th as Calado pitted and the young Frenchman was just 0.3 seconds behind Razia and a similar gap ahead of Gutierrez. By lap 16 Berthon was now involved in a tough battle with Gutierrez which had allowed Razia to pull away slightly as the Racing Engineering driver concentrated on not making any mistakes.
As the race entered the final 10 laps Berthon had gradually moved away from Gutierrez and the gap was now 1.5 seconds. Then, with 5 laps to go Razia put in a slow lap and Berthon immediately closed in to within 0.8 seconds. Although he continued to push hard there wasn’t enough time left to push Razia into a mistake and Berthon had settle for 7th at the chequered flag.
There is now a one month gap until the 22nd June when the GP2 teams reassemble in Valencia for round 6 of the 2012 GP2 Series.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: "A pity about Fabio's race. He did a magnificent start and avoided the big pile up twice. But sadly a little mistake caused him to not finish the race on such a difficult track. As for Nat, a fantastic result, especially considering where he started in the race. A fantastic race, keeping out of trouble and driving intelligently. Thank you to the whole team for the wonderful job they've done. Now on to Valencia."
Fabio Leimer: "The start was really good and I was lucky I got away without any damage. After that I saw I could go faster than the cars ahead of me, I waited for some laps and saw no one made any mistakes. When I saw Nat make a little mistake I tried to pass him. I pushed too much though when on the curbs and I had oversteer which forced me to open up the steering and I hit the wall. Unfortunately the damage was too heavy to continue in the race."
Nathanaël Berthon: "I think I was lucky at the start when I had to avoid the car stalling in front of me. After that I was lucky again to avoid Cecotto, who touched with Gonzalez. Then I just raced to stay on track and to keep my position as it's so difficult to overtake in Monaco. I am happy I could score points for four races in a row now and hope to continue like this in Valencia. I would also like to thank the team for the car they gave me."