The Racing Engineering Team, both on the track and in the pits, put aside their qualification disappointments to turn in an excellent performance on race day. Today's Feature Race started under cloudy skies with rain forecast before the end of the...
The Racing Engineering Team, both on the track and in the pits, put aside their qualification disappointments to turn in an excellent performance on race day. Today's Feature Race started under cloudy skies with rain forecast before the end of the race, although fortunately this proved not to be the case. Despite a car stalling on the grid both Javier Villa and Ernesto Viso made good starts and completed the first lap avoiding the various first lap incidents around them. The team opted to bring Javier in as soon as the pits opened on lap two and a rapid stop saw the young Spaniard resume in 18th place.
Villa then began to drive quickly with the aim of making up places without ruining his tyres, he soon began to make progress aided by other cars pitting as well as making up positions on the track and by lap 13 he was up to 11th.
Lap 15 saw Javier 10th, now involved in a close battle with former team-mate Adam Carroll and Bruno Senna who where just ahead and Lapierre right behind. On lap 18 Carroll ran wide at the first turn and as Senna tried to pass contact was made, Carroll was out and Senna delayed allowing Javier to move up to 8th. Over the remaining laps Javier drove superbly keeping Lapierre at bay and closing in on Zaugg despite having done most of the race on the same set of tyres. At the flag it was fully deserved 8th place and pole position for tomorrow's Sprint race. Remembering that the two previous occasions when Javier has started from the front row have resulted in first and second place finishes so another win is certainly on the cards.
For Ernesto Viso it was an understandably more subdued race, he still hasn't had much mileage in the Racing Engineering car and it's only three weeks since his huge accident at Magny Cours. Ernesto started well and was running in 12th which became 8th by lap 10 as other cars pitted, following his own stop after a dozen laps he resumed 15th. By lap 21 he was 14th and involved in an intense battle with Soucek ahead and Negrao just behind. This continued for two laps until Ernesto missed the Veedol Chicane passing Soucek in the process, as he correctly allowed Soucek to pass again he was unable to prevent Negrao also gaining a place. He was soon past Soucek and over the remaining laps he was involved in a huge dog fight with Petrov, Rodriguez, Negrao ahead and a closing Yamamoto behind, unfortunately he lost 6th gear and had to cede 13th place to Yamamoto in the closing laps to finish 14th.
Alfonso D'Orleans (team rincipal): "I'm very happy, Javier drove a stunning race in his usual "Javi style"! The boys did a fantastic job preparing both cars for the race. Tomorrow we start from pole and it's possible we will make a few small changes to Javier's car to improve it even more. We are hoping for a win tomorrow but Glock is looking very strong so we will be very satisfied with a podium but why not look for a win! Ernesto had a few problems with the pedals and gearbox and he's still not comfortable in the car after his accident but he showed his speed and talent. After another race he should be right on the pace."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "The race was very good and I pushed really hard in the first part. As the race progressed it became more difficult as the car wasn't handling as well as I wanted. I will be starting from pole tomorrow and the first lap will be very important, I need to make a good start and then push as hard as possible."
Ernesto Viso (driver car 15): "That was a tough race, I passed one or two cars at the start but the car became difficult to drive as I was suffering from "long" brake and clutch pedals . The handling wasn't right with understeer into a corner and oversteer on the exit but I did my best and we are still developing the car. I lost 6th gear towards the end of the race and it cost me some places at the finish."