More points for Vietoris in the Monza Feature Race.
Today’s 30 lap Feature Race at Monza was held in warm, dry conditions.
As the lights went off Vietoris made a good start and was able to hold on to 7th place but Clos was slower away and lost two places to drop to 9th. Lap 2 saw Vietoris lose a place to Bird so the two Racing Engineering cars were now running nose-to-tail in 8th and 9th.
The race positions now remained static for several laps with Vietoris running about one second behind Bird and Clos leading Cecotto by 1.5 seconds. With many teams opting for an early mandatory pit stop cars began stopping from lap 7 and on lap 12 many of the front runners made their stop temporarily promoting Vietoris and Clos to 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Vietoris made his stop on lap 13, the Racing Engineering team getting him back on track in a very fast 32.3 seconds. The following lap saw Clos dive into the pits and this time the Racing Engineering crew were even quicker, the stop taking just 31.6 seconds.
Lap 15 and the two Racing Engineering cars were still running 8th and 9th with Vietoris 1.5 seconds behind Carroll and Clos leading Leimer by 0.2 seconds. Sadly for Clos any chance of a good result was lost when he was given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Vietoris moved up to 6th on lap 19 when Parente took a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement.
Clos was now down in 14th place and chasing Ericsson but with a 25 second gap to 8th place the young Spaniard had no chance of adding to his points score today. Vietoris, by lap 21, was now in a relatively comfortable position leading Leimer by almost two seconds. On lap 27 Clos, who had been closing rapidly on Ericsson, was able to pass the Swede for 13th position.
There was no further excitement and as the chequered flag fell Vietoris finished 6th and Clos 13th.
Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Vietoris starting from 3rd on the grid and with an excellent chance of a podium finish. For Clos it will be a case of driving as hard as he can in the final race of the season to see if he can get into a points scoring position.
Dani Clos: “I didn't have a good start, but my race pace after was really good. Chris and I had a very good rhythm, whereas I think my car was even faster than his. I waited for his tyres to degrade more. When I entered the pits, I thought the speed limiter was already on, but this wasn't the case. With the drive through penalty my race was pretty much over.”
Christian Vietoris: “This wasn't a very exciting race. My start was good, but not perfect. I had a safe first lap and then everyone pretty much drove at his own rhythm. Race pace was good and also the pit stop. I start tomorrow's race from P3 and who knows, what's still possible. A race win to finish the season would not be too bad.”
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: “It's a pity about the race. We are tied up with iSport in 3rd position in the teams' championship now. But tomorrow we will fight back and with Chris starting from P3, we have good options. The whole team did a very good job and we hope that tomorrow this will translate into points.”