Leimer and Racing Engineering start from the 3rd row of the grid in Barcelona.

Teammate Julián Leal will start from the 9th row of the grid.

The earlier rain at the Circuit de Catalunya had cleared by the time the GP2 drivers took to the circuit for the 30 minute morning practice session and the track temperature was 20°, much lower than the teams had experienced in Malaysia and Bahrain.

Fabio Leimer
Fabio Leimer

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

Both Fabio Leimer and Julián Leal took to the track with 8 minutes of the session gone and Fabio was quickly on the pace with a lap of 1:31.303s for seventh fastest although a succession of yellow flags saw it hard to set a very fast lap.

Both of the Racing Engineering cars then returned to the pits with half the session completed for some changes to their setup and with about seven minutes remaining the cars took to the track again.

In the remaining minutes neither driver tried for a fast lap and Fabio finished the session in 10th with his earlier time of 1:31.303s with Julián a little slower on 1:32.646s.

The afternoon qualifying began under black skies and a strong wind with a chance of rain before the session ended so all the drivers took to the track immediately to try and set a quick time in case the weather deteriorated. With 10 minutes of the session completed Fabio, after looking for some clear track, began to lap quickly and he set a time of 1:29.611s for 8th.

With just under half the session completed Fabio and Julián returned to the pits to fit a set of soft Pirellis. After warming his tyres up and with just over 4 minutes remaining Fabio went for a quick lap, setting his fastest three sector times, and he moved up to 6th with a time of 1:29.293s. Julián was also setting his fastest sector times and with 1 minute remaining a lap of 1:29.824s moved him up to 18th.

Tomorrow’s Feature Race will see Fabio start from the 3rd row of the grid and, although he would have preferred to be higher, his race pace in the previous rounds means that he is still one of the favourites to take the win. Julián will start from the 9th row of the grid and he will look to move up into the points scoring positions and get a good grid position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "Today we didn't have our best qualifying so far. Even though Fabio is in the top 6 and Julian in 18th, but theoretically we could have had a much better position, we are working hard on fine tuning our cars to the conditions encountered here in Barcelona. Tomorrow's race will be a completely different exercise and it's going be a hard one on tyres. So we will have to be prepared for this challenge."

Fabio Leimer: "I think we were not as competitive today as we were in Bahrain however we made the best out of it. But P6 leaves us with all possibilities; it's only tomorrow when the big points are given. We were very, very strong in the races so far and if the weather is fine tomorrow as well as it was today, when it was not so clear if it might rain or not, it should be a good race. The starting position is good and I will try to win tomorrow's race."

Julián Leal: "During the first part of qualifying we suffered from some problems at the front of the car and I also encountered traffic in the last chicane, so I didn't really have a good lap. When we changed the tyres, we also made some adjustments on the car that worked quite well. I was fast as Fabio in sector 1 and sector 2, but traffic slowed me down on my first flying lap.

During my second attempt my tyres weren't in a perfect state anymore and I lost time in sector 3, which kept me from setting a better time. But I was able to reduce the gap compared to free practice. I will only start 18th, but with a good start like I had in Bahrain, although here the first corner is quite different, a lot is possible and the aim will be to maintain the tyres."

Racing Engineering

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About this article
Series GP2
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags barcelona, circuit de catalunya, gp2, leal, leimer, racing engineering, spanish gp

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