Christian Vietoris will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from pole position.
With Christian Vietoris starting from 13th on the grid and Dani Clos 16th it was very important for both of Racing Engineering’s drivers to make a good start and as the lights went off both men immediately gained places with Vietoris moving up to 10th and Clos to 13th. As the cars completed their first lap Vietoris was confirmed in 10th whilst Clos had made further progress to be right behind his team-mate in 11th.
Vietoris was now chasing Gutierrez but on lap 3 the Mexican pitted and Vietoris moved up to 9th. Clos had lost a place to Bird but the young Spaniard was soon back on the tail of the iSport car and on lap 8 he regained 10th place. Vietoris now found he was locked in a tense battle with Bianchi and, with both cars lapping at an almost identical pace, the German driver was pressuring the Lotus ART car to try and push Bianchi into making a mistake.
On lap 10 Clos had closed right in onto the back of his team-mate’s car and tried an unsuccessful overtaking manoeuvre. Clos made his mandatory pitstop on lap13 resuming the race in 17th spot and two laps later it was the turn of Vietoris who returned to the track in 15th place.
As the cars approached the half distance point of the race on lap 19 and all but one of the pitstops completed Clos was now running 9th, 0.4 seconds behind van Der Garde and 2.5 seconds ahead of Leimer. Vietoris was now 12th, still just a few tenths behind Bianchi and 1.3 seconds ahead of Kral.
As the final pitstop took place on lap 21 Clos had moved into a points scoring position in 8th with Vietoris less than five seconds behind in 11th. Clos was now part of a three car battle for sixth place with less than a second between Bird, Van Der Garde and the Racing Engineering car. As the three drivers fought to gain any advantage they inevitably slowed each other up and the three-way battle was soon a six-way battle as Bianchi, Leimer and Vietoris closed in.
On lap 27 Clos was able to get ahead of Bird to gain 7th place and a lap later Vietoris took over 9th place as he passed Leimer and Bird pitted. With ten laps to go Clos found himself on his own in 9th as Van der Garde was 4.3 seconds ahead and Bianchi was 2.3 seconds behind. Vietoris was still in a duel with Bianchi as the Racing Engineering driver looked to move up to 8th and a points scoring position. Seven laps to go and Clos now had Bianchi and his team-mate Vietoris closing in on him, the three cars separated by 0.6 seconds, and on lap 33 both cars passed the young Spaniard demoting him to 9th and he was now under attack from Kral.
As the race entered its dying laps Vietoris settled into 8th place as he had a comfortable 5 second lead over his team-mate, Clos, who was still keeping ahead of Kral. As the final laps ticked away Clos lost a place to Kral and at the chequered flag the Racing Engineering cars crossed the line in 8th and 10th.
Vietoris will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from pole position and with his race pace today will be looking for a place on the top step of the podium whilst Clos was very quick for much of today’s race and he will be driving for a position in the points.
Tomorrow is another race and the goal is to score points.
Dani Clos: “Well, I had a very good start and also good first laps. We were very consistent during our first stint. I was able to pass some cars and also overtook some others after the pit stop. But when I was quite comfortable in 7th position, with some 6 laps to go, I suffered from tyre degradation and this together with the fact that I lost my right mirror during the first lap, meant that I could not keep my position as I wanted. Tomorrow is another race and the goal is to score points.”
Christian Vietoris: “I had a good start and a good first lap. During the following laps I had a lot of contact with the team to inform them on the state of the tyres and find the best moment for the pit stop. Initially it looked as if we came in too late, but it turned out to be the right strategy. Tomorrow I start from pole. We have made good improvements during the season and there are only some one or two more steps necessary. The tyre situation is difficult for everyone and my goal is to finish tomorrow's race on the podium.”
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Racing Engineering’s Sporting Director: “The target was to have both drivers in the top 8 and we fulfilled this goal by 50%. It was a difficult race for everyone as was expected due to the nature of the track and the characteristic of the tyres. Both drivers did a good start and have been strong during the first half of the race having had a better pace than the cars around them. Unfortunately Bianchi held our boys up and we had to bring Dani in to avoid losing more time. He fought hard and moved up, but suffered during the last laps. Chris did a good job maintaining his tyres until the end and reached the top 8. Tomorrow's 28 lap race will be another challenge for the drivers and team.”
By: Racing Engineering