Only 25 cars would start today’s 30 lap Sprint Race following the Race Stewards decision to exclude Cecotto for his part in causing the first lap incident in yesterday’s Feature Race which saw nine cars forced out of the race including both of the Racing Engineering cars.

Fabio Leimer
Fabio Leimer

Photo by: XPB Images

Following their retirements Fabio Leimer started from 18th on the grid and Julián Leal 20th and, on such a tight circuit with very limited opportunities to pass, little chance of getting into the points.

As the cars lined up on the grid the rain, that had affected F1 qualifying, began to fall and with all the cars starting on slicks everybody was hoping that it would quickly stop.

As the lights went off the cars made a clean start with everybody being very cautious into Saint Devote on the damp track, both Racing Engineering drivers had reasonable starts with Fabio holding on to 18th and Julián moving up to 19th.

As the cars started the second lap Fabio was chasing Palmer with Julián right behind his team-mate and by lap 6 they had both gained three positions as Abt and Trummer were given drive-through penalties for jumping the start and Dillmann made a pitstop.

Fortunately the rain had stopped and the track was quickly drying and Fabio and Julián were now involved in a tense battle with the cars from 12th to 17th separated by just five seconds. Fabio was still in 15th and chasing Palmer with Julián one second behind and running just ahead of Frijns.

As the race approached half distance and the cars started their 15th lap Fabio was 0.3 seconds behind Canamasas, who had been passed by Palmer, and the midfield battle was now even more intense with the gap from Richelmi in 8th to Julián in 15th just six seconds. Both of the Racing Engineering cars gained another place as Bird pitted moving Fabio up to 14th and Julián to 15th.

By lap 20 the cars were lapping some three seconds a lap slower than they had been earlier in the race as tyre degradation became a factor and although the fight for 10th place was incredibly close with Lancaster in 10th just two seconds ahead of Julián in 15th it would need a mistake by a driver to overtake.

Suddenly, on lap 23 there was light contact between several cars at Loews corner and both Fabio and Julián were able to take advantage and move up another place. There were no further changes of position over the remaining laps and Fabio crossed the finishing line in 13th with Julian just 0.4s behind in 14th.

The Racing Engineering team will now return to their Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for the next race weekend in one month’s time at Silverstone where, hopefully, Fabio and Julián can experience a change from the bad luck that has dogged them recently.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "Today's race was difficult considering the starting positions and track layout. Drivers have been cautious and changing weather conditions before the start might have added to it. We followed the group ahead, but there was hardly any overtaking today.

Fabio had contact with the wall, which slightly bent his suspension and didn't help the behaviour of his car. Julian drove well, and stayed behind Fabio all race long, not wanting to take any risk of making contact.

Overall the result of the weekend is terribly disappointing as we had placed both cars in the top 7 in qualifying, so we expected to score a lot of points with both cars in both races."

Fabio Leimer: "As expected it was a quite boring race. I had an OK start and after that there wasn't too much possible here in Monaco. I touched the wall on lap 5 or 6, slightly bending my suspension, but I was able to finish the race. Now we have a break and I am already looking forward to Silverstone."

Julián Leal: "Before the start it began to rain a bit, so it was not so easy to warm the tyres during the first laps. But I was able to start well, gaining one position. After that the pace was good, but it was too risky to overtake, so in the end I finished 14th."

Racing Engineering