Leal finishes 3rd and Leimer 6th for Racing Engineering in the Monza Sprint Race

Fabio Leimer was starting from 8th on the grid following his superb win in yesterday’s Feature Race and Julián Leal was in 4th spot after finishing 5th.

The weather was much cooler for today’s 21 lap Sprint Race with air and track temperatures of 25° and 28° respectively and there were grey clouds overhead with a possibility of rain.

Fabio Leimer was starting from 8th on the grid following his superb win in yesterday’s Feature Race and Julián Leal was in 4th spot after finishing 5th. All but two of the cars on the grid were starting on the harder Pirelli compound as there would be no pitstops unless the rain came.

Julian Leal
Julian Leal

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

Julián made a great start from the second row of the grid and as the cars braked for the first corner he moved into second place and as the cars finished their opening lap he was 1.1 seconds behind Quaife-Hobbs and 0.5 seconds ahead of Bird.

Over the next five laps the Racing Engineering car dropped away a little from the leader as he became involved in an intense battle with Bird, Rossi and Dillmann but on lap 7 he set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:33.365s and closed the gap to the leader again.

On lap 8 light rain began to fall and many of the teams brought out their wet tyres as it seemed that a pitstop would be likely and Julián lost a place to Rossi as the track became slippery but it was not wet enough yet to change to wet tyres and the rain was predicted to quickly clear. On lap 11, the half-way point, the young Colombian was 0.8s behind Rossi and 0.6s ahead of Bird and the top four cars were separated by just 3.6 seconds.

As the race entered the final 5 laps Julián had fallen back from Rossi as his race long battle with Bird continued and the Racing Engineering driver was determined to finish on the podium again.

With one lap remaining Julián put in his fastest lap of the race at 1:33.201s to open out the gap on Bird to 0.8 seconds and he crossed the line in 3rd to take his second podium in two races.

Fabio made a clean start as the lights went off gaining two places on the opening lap to cross the line in 6th, 0.3 seconds behind Dillmann and 0.8 seconds ahead of Haryanto. Over the next few laps the Racing Engineering car dropped away a little from the Russian Time car as the young Swiss concentrated on preserving his tyres. By lap 9 the gap was up to 2.6 seconds with Haryanto 1.8 seconds behind.

Although Fabio began to close the gap a little on Dillmann in the closing laps the Racing Engineering driver was conscious of the importance of gaining more points with Nasr and Coletti out of the top ten and Bird just two places ahead and on lap 19 Fabio grabbed fastest lap with a time of 1:32.791s to gain an extra two points and he reduced his time further on the final lap to 1:32.749s to finish in a fighting 6th.

This was another great weekend for Racing Engineering with a win and 6th for Fabio and 3rd and 5th for Julian. Fabio leaves Monza in the lead of the 2013 GP2 Drivers Championship and Racing Engineering have moved up to 2nd in the Team Championship. The next round of the 2013 GP2 series will be in Singapore in two weeks’ time. spacer

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "Another positive result today. Julian achieved yet another podium finish and Fabio scored good points by finishing 6th, but also takes 2 more points for setting the fastest lap time in the race. This underlines the strong performance of our cars throughout the entire weekend. During today's race some rain drops fell to spice things up quite a bit.

The track became slippery in some areas and made it quite tricky for all drivers out on track. Overall this was a very positive weekend for both drivers and the entire team, Fabio took over the lead in the championship and Julian is in 12th, very close to the top 10. As a team we are currently second and will work hard on keeping the momentum for the remaining races of the season."

Fabio Leimer: "I think we can be very satisfied with P6 today. Pity I didn't have a great start, which would have been very important today, but shortly after I was able to pass Richelmi. I then tried to attack Dillmann, but our speed was pretty identical at this stage of the race, so it was not possible.

As until this moment I had stressed my tyres quite a bit, I left a small gap to manage my tyres to still be able to push towards the end. But everyone in the front was running consistently in the same lap times, so we decided to push for fastest lap during the third last and the last lap, just to be certain. This was the right strategy for today."

Julián Leal: "Today I didn't have a perfect start, but I was able to take P2 before the first chicane. After that I was behind Quaife-Hobbs for half of the race. It was a very difficult race as it was raining in sector 1, so braking in the chicane was not easy. Because of this Bird and I both went straight, but Rossi was able to brake early and took the turn correctly.

Because of this he had better traction out of the corner and passed Bird as well as me. After this I controlled my pace, paying a lot of attention on braking as the track was slippery. But the car was consistent, so I kept my position to finish on the podium again. The car was quite good today, so congratulations to the team for the work done.”

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Series GP2
Article type Race report
Tags gp2, leal, leimer, monza, racing engineering

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