It was a beautiful day once again at the Nürburgring with air and track temperatures of 22° and 32° respectively as the cars formed up on the grid for today’ Sprint Race with all the cars starting on the medium compound Pirelli tyres. Following yesterday’s Feature Race Fabio Leimer lined up 5th on the grid with Julián Leal in 22nd spot.
Fabio made a great start from the third row passing Frijns and Richelmi into the first corner to lie 4th and he was immediately involved in a tight battle for 2nd with Dillmann and Calado but on lap 2 the Safety car was deployed following contact between Richelmi and De Jong.
For the next few laps Fabio began to conserve his tyres as he had started on a set that he had used yesterday whilst Lancaster and Calado were on new Pirellis, as a result he fell away a little from Calado but he was in turn pulling away from Dillmann in 4th.
On lap 12, the half-way point, Fabio continued in 3rd, 3.9 seconds behind Calado and 7.8 seconds ahead of Ericsson but only the top three drivers were lapping in the 1:43 second bracket which showed how quickly Fabio was going on his worn tyres as many other drivers like Coletti and Ericsson, also on part worn tyres, were not able to match his pace.
Continuing to conserve his tyres over the remaining laps Fabio continued to slowly fall away from Calado but he continued to pull away from Ericsson and despite a late charge from Nasr he took the chequered flag in 3rd place.
Julián got away well as the lights went off, passing Binder and Abt into the first corner and gaining two more places to lie 18th at the end of the opening lap. Following the Safety Car incident the Racing Engineering car lost two places to Canamasas and Palmer but the young Columbian was now involved in a tight battle with Rosenzweig.
Over the next five laps Julián was able to gain several places as cars ahead ran into trouble and on lap 10 he moved up to 15th as he passed Palmer which almost immediately became 14th as Canamasas served a drive-through penalty.
By lap 17 Julián was now up to 11th as more incidents ahead of him caused spins and retirements and he was now 2.2 seconds behind Evans and 2.8 seconds ahead of Binder. As the race entered its final laps, although Julián closed right in on the battle for 6th place, he was unable to make any further progress as his tyres were now badly worn and he lost a place on the final lap crossing the finishing line in 12th place.
A positive weekend for Racing Engineering with Fabio taking 4th and 3rd in the two races and although Julián was unable to add to his points score he showed a great race pace on both days. The Spanish team now returns to its Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for the next round of the 2013 GP2 series at Budapest in three weeks’ time.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering:"Fabio's drive today was exceptional considering that he was racing on the set of tyres he had used in yesterday's feature race. Congratulations also to our technical crew for having done a great job in facilitating Fabio's already complicated task.
This podium is proof that with everyone working together we were able to achieve a fantastic result. Julian did a good job overtaking today. It's a real pity that he was not able to start further up the grid as he proved to be one of the fastest on track in both races.
As for Fabio, our goal has to be to keep the momentum and score as many points as possible during the upcoming event in Hungary, while in Julian's case, the target is to qualify higher up to be in a position allowing him to score points."
Fabio Leimer: "My start was OK, even though I braked a bit too early into the first corner. Calado had better traction as he started on a set of new tyres, so I lost one position to him. After this it was important for me to manage my tyres and stay as close as possible to Dillmann and Calado, who fought ahead of me.
My goal was to overtake Dillmann when Calado did, so I would not have to stress my tyres too much. This worked out really well, so once I was in 3rd, I pushed during a couple of laps to open up a gap to the cars behind me.
After that I tried to save tyres and during the last three laps they were already quite worn and I could not keep up the pace. But our strategy for today was perfect and we were able to take 3rd place.
Generally it was a good weekend as we were able to take a lot of points. I am very satisfied as we are now in the middle of the season and we will work hard to attack during the second half and ! the aim is to close the gap to Coletti and win the championship."
Julián Leal: "I had a good start and gained some positions. Then I was behind Rosenzweig, who blocked me for 5 laps. I tried to pass him braking into the chicane, but he touched the rear of my car. My car was OK and I was able to overtake some more cars as I had a good car and pace. But with 5 laps to go I had a big lock up and wasn't able to push the way I had before. We had a good car and set up this weekend. I need to work on qualifying higher up now."