Excellent 4th place for Dani Clos in today’s Feature Race at Valencia.
Both of the Racing Engineering cars made very good starts with Dani Clos moving from 7th on the grid to 3rd, and Christian Vietoris making excellent progress from 15th to 8th, sadly however for the German his start was judged to have been a little too good and he was given a drive-through penalty for a jumped start.
By lap 5 Clos was in 3rd with Grosjean in front and Filippi behind, Vietoris was 8th chasing Bird and ahead of Razia. On lap 6 Vietoris took his drive-through penalty and on the following lap he made his mandatory pitstop resuming in 22nd and last place.
Over the next few laps Clos kept up a fast pace being some 2.3 seconds behind Grosjean and 1.1 seconds ahead of Filippi and on lap 13 the young Spaniard made his mandatory pitstop resuming the track in 6th place.
At the back of the field Vietoris was flying, setting similar lap times to those being set by the first three drivers in the race and by lap 15 he was up to 17th just 0.4 seconds behind Fauzy. Sadly for the German driver it was all over on the following lap when he made contact with another car and had to retire.
Clos was continuing to battle hard in 4th place just 1.3 seconds behind Valsecchi and rapidly pulling away from Chilton who was 5.6 seconds behind. On lap 23 the race leader Van Der Garde served a drive-through penalty promoting Clos to third, 1.5 seconds behind Valsecchi.
Van Der Garde was setting some very quick lap times following his penalty and on lap 25 he passed Clos, dropping the Racing Engineering car back to 4th.
As the race neared the 1 hour mark Clos came under increasing pressure from Bird as his car wasn’t handling correctly following contact with Filiipi but he kept his cool and as the chequered flag fell after 30 laps Clos finished an excellent 4th.
Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Clos starting 5th on the reversed grid with a great opportunity to finish on the podium again. For Vietoris his bad luck today means he will be starting towards the rear of the field but his rapid race pace should soon see him moving quickly up the field.
Dani Clos: “I had a great start and I had a very good rhythm. Without pushing, I had a nice gap. I was also fast after the pitstop, but as we changed 4 tyres Valsecchi got by. Then I was stuck a bit in traffic and could not properly take advantage of the fresh tyres. I am a bit disappointed with one driver, who should maybe be in karting and learn the basics of how to react when someone takes your position. Well, I think that due to the impact something on my car was bent. I lost a bit of my rhythm towards the end of the race due to this contact. I am happy because we are back at constantly fighting for the podium and there is still much more to come.”
Christian Vietoris: “I had a good start and do not think it was actually a jump start. The opening lap was very good as well and I was able to make it from 15th to 8th position when I was handed a drive-through penalty. After that it was difficult and my race was over when I tried to overtake Cecotto. The contact with his car made me spin off the track and I had to retire.”
Thomas Couyotopoulo - Racing Engineering’s Sporting Manager: “It's a pity about Chris' race. Unfortunately a very marginal anticipation by him resulted in a penalty to what otherwise was a really fantastic start. The drive-through penalty and then, following the contact with Ceccon, which caused him to spin off the track, did not allow him to show his real potential today. He was happy with the car's balance and had a good race pace. I think he could have finished today's race in a top position. Dani, on the other hand, drove a fantastic race. He was very competitive today. As we opted to change all 4 tyres on Dani's car, it was anticipated that we might drop back a bit at the pit stop, but Dani was immediately there again. Well, until Filippi crashed into the rear of Dani's car, damaging his front wing on Dani's rear right tyre. Consequently the performance of this tyre was affected and Dani was in no position to fight for the podium anymore. However, Dani did a great job to secure 4th place in today's race. This means he will start tomorrow's sprint race from P5 on the grid and given our good race pace, our goal is to finish tomorrow's sprint race on the podium.”
-source: racing engineering