Opening lap incident ruins the day for Fabio Leimer in Bahrain

Racing Engineering car made contact with the nose of the Caterham car of Rossi causing damage to the sidepod and the turning vane.

Once again the weather at the Sakhir circuit was very hot for the 23 lap Feature Race with an air temperature of 30° and a track temperature of 42° and all the drivers were starting on the harder Pirelli compound.

Following yesterday’s race win Fabio Leimer was starting from 8th on the reversed grid with Julián Leal in 19th.

Fabio Leimer
Fabio Leimer

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

Fabio made a good start from the 4th row of the grid holding an inside line into the first corner and gaining two places to move up to 6th but the Racing Engineering car made contact with the nose of the Caterham car of Rossi causing damage to the sidepod and the turning vane which would affect the car for the rest of the race.

The young Swiss then held position for the rest of the lap to cross the finishing line 0.7 seconds behind Nasr and 0.3 seconds ahead of Calado. Fabio now began to close on Quaife-Hobbs and on lap 5 the gap was 0.4 seconds and he was now being chased by Palmer who had passed Calado.

By lap 7 there was a very close battle for 5th between Quaife-Hobbs, Fabio and Palmer with just one second between the three cars, Fabio was still looking for a way to pass Quaife-Hobbs but he had to be careful not to leave an opening for Palmer.

The gaps between the three drivers began to slowly open out and by lap 13 Fabio was 1.4 seconds behind Quaife-Hobbs and 2.8 seconds ahead of Calado.

With 5 laps remaining Fabio had closed onto the tail of Quaife-Hobbs and was putting the MP Motorsport under increasing pressure but once again Palmer was right behind him and on lap 19 he lost places to Palmer and Calado dropping to 8th.

With two laps to go Leimer was now battling with Abt but the Racing Engineering car was now right behind Palmer however, with his front tyres now badly worn, he was unable to keep Abt behind him and he lost the position to drop to 9th which was where he finished.

Julián got away well at the start but contact in the first corner between two cars caused the Racing Engineering driver to run wide and lose several places dropping to 19th at the end of the first lap. On the second lap Julián lost a place to Evans but on the following lap he passed De Jong to regain 19th.

The young Columbian was now battling with Frijns and he dropped to 20th on lap 6 but once again he moved back up to 19th when he made a good overtaking manoeuvre on Berthon five laps later.

Julián quickly pulled away from Berthon and was now looking to close on Evans who was 0.6 seconds ahead with eight laps still remaining. Julián was now involved in a fight with Frijns, Richelmi and Evans and on lap 17 he passed Frijns place and he was now right on the gearbox of Evans.

For the remaining laps Julián continued to chase the Arden car and he completed the 23 laps in 16th place, just 0.7 seconds behind Evans.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "Disappointing results in race 2 today. In the end we could not score any points, even if both drivers have made good starts.

But unfortunately Julian lost positions with the accident in turn 1 and Fabio's start was directly affected by the contact with Rossi, which damaged his car and affected the rest of his race, not allowing him to perform with a standard car.

Having said this, the pace of the cars around him was very similar today and there was no big time difference. We will look into it in detail to see what has happened during this race. We will be busy now and work hard to prepare the next round taking place in Barcelona."

Fabio Leimer: "It was a hard race today. I actually had a quite good start and my plan was to go to the outside, but when there was no space I went to the inside of turn 1. In the end it wasn't too bad a decision as I was already ahead of Palmer and Rossi. But then unfortunately Palmer hit Rossi, who lost control of his car and hit the side of my car.

So in the end his front wing went into my sidepod and it stayed there for the rest of the race, which greatly affected the car in high speed corners, where I suffered from quite a lot of vibration and turbulence. It was really, really hard as I had this problem with the wing, but also tried to save tyres. In the end we missed the points only by one position, but we can actually be happy I was able to finish the race like this."

Julián Leal: "I think today there was no big difference between all the cars. At the start, things went quite well until turn 1, where someone crashed. In order to avoid a collision, I had to go wide in turn 1 and lost some positions. After that I fought a bit during the first laps, which put some pressure on the rear tyres.

I kept the pace and cooled down the rear tyres as I could not push at that time. So I was saving tyres and towards the end the car was quite good and I could attack again. The tyres started to work again and I overtook several cars.

I think the pace was quite good, but when you start from so far back, it's not easy. I think we paid the price for my mistake from yesterday. I have to be more concentrated and focussed in race 1, which will allow me to have a better starting position in the Sunday races."

Racing Engineering

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About this article
Series GP2
Article type Race reports
Tags bahrain, calado, gp2, leal, leimer, palmer, quaife-hobbs, racing engineering, sakhir

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