Today's Sprint Race at Spa did not have the outcome that Racing Engineering and their drivers Javier Villa and Marcos Martinez were hoping for. Following yesterday's inspired drive though the field that ended in 4th place for Javier and a very ...
Today's Sprint Race at Spa did not have the outcome that Racing Engineering and their drivers Javier Villa and Marcos Martinez were hoping for. Following yesterday's inspired drive though the field that ended in 4th place for Javier and a very competitive run from Marcos until a punctured radiator forced him to retire there were high hopes for at least a podium finish today.
The race started well as both drivers made apparently good starts with Javi slotting into 3rd place as the cars exited La Source although a small error further round the lap saw the Repsol/Telefonica car loose two places leaving Javi 5th at the end of the lap. Marcos was also making good progress moving up 7 places despite running wide onto the run- off area during his opening lap. Javi was sitting on the tail of Tung and looking for a way past and on the end of lap 3 the gap was only 0.5 seconds. Sadly for Marcos lap 3 saw the end of his race as he spun out as a result of oil on the track from an engine problem suffered by Buemi's car and with the car beached on the outside of the track he was unable to continue.
Javi continued to press Tung hard for fourth place pulling alongside the Chinese driver on several occasions without quite being able to pass. The top seven drivers were now leaving the rest of the field trailing in their wake and Javi was easing away from 6th placed Filippi and still looking for a way past Tung when, on lap 6, he was called into the pits for a drive-through penalty resulting from a jumped start. Resuming in 18th place Javi refused to give up and he was soon chasing Garcia and on lap 10 he was up to 17th. Quickly pulling away from the Durango car his next target was Negrao and on lap 12 he was through to 16th, Javi now moved up to Bakkerud and gained a further place as the DPR driver spun out. Pantano was next on the list but with only 4 laps to go Javi was 2 seconds back but continuing to push hard he quickly closed the gap but as the cars crossed the line he was 0.3 seconds behind and had to settle for 15th.
Once again Javi displayed great pace and was able to pass cars to move through the field whilst Marcos showed great promise before a retirement through no fault of his own. Now Racing Engineering will prepare for the last race weekend of the season and as they return to home soil in Valencia in two weeks time they will be looking to finish the year on a high.
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon (team principal): " We had a great chance to take points, and most probably a podium, today. Javier had a very fast race pace, but a drive through penalty for a jump start put him at the back of the field. He pushed and made up positions, but although he was one of the fastest on track, higher than 15th just wasn't possible. Marcos has once more surprised us all with an excellent start that put him in 16th. However, when Buemi's engine broke, Marcos spun on the oil and it's a shame he couldn't finish the race. I want to thank the entire team for having done a great job this weekend and although we expected more from today, yesterday's 4th place was an excellent result."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "It was a real pity as I could have ended up on the podium. Winning would have been difficult but I think I could have been 2nd or 3rd without any problem. However we had to do a drive through loosing a lot of time and dropping down the order. At least we showed that we are fast, setting good lap times, next time it will be better!"
Marcos Martinez (driver car 15): "I had a good start up to 16th. I was trying to keep on the pace but I spun because of oil left on track by the broken engine of another car. That was the end of my race so now we have to start thinking about Valencia."