For the Racing Engineering team today's Sprint Race at Valencia gave them the great end to the season they were looking for when Javier Villa took a superb second place behind the new GP2 Champion, Timo Glock.
Following yesterday's wet/dry race conditions were much improved today with the race getting under way beneath sunny Spanish skies. As the lights went off Javier made a good start from pole position but second man on the grid, Glock, made a slightly better one and took the lead going into the first corner as Javier slotted into second. Over the next few laps Javier began to secure his second place, pulling away from third man Soucek by a few tenths on each lap. By lap 5 Glock was leading Javi by 1.7 seconds with Soucek 1.9 seconds behind the Repsol/Telefonica car.
Over the next few laps Javi closed slightly on Glock and increased the gap to Soucek but it was clear that the Racing Engineering and iSport cars were very evenly matched so Javi began to concentrate on increasing the gap to Soucek. Over the next 12 laps the top 4 cars pulled away from the rest of the field with Glock edging out his lead to between 3 and 4 seconds while Javi moved 2.5 seconds ahead of Soucek. As the final 10 laps were counted down the positions remained static and at the finish Javi crossed the line to take an excellent second spot and to secure sixth place for himself in the 2007 GP2 Championship.
For Marcos Martinez it was a case of "what might have been" as a podium place was certainly on the cards for the Spaniard. Marcos, starting from 5th on the grid following his great 4th in yesterday's Feature Race, made a great start gaining a position into the first corner and as the first lap developed Marcos moved up to third behind his Racing Engineering team mate when he pushed Soucek down to 4th. Unfortunately for Marcos it all went wrong on lap 4 when he ran slightly wide entering a corner, the Brazilian driver Negrao tried to dive up the inside but there wasn't enough room and the front wheels of the Minardi Piquet Sports car made contact with the side of the Racing Engineering car pushing Marcos into a spin. Although Marcos was able to continue he had been passed by the rest of the field and he resumed in 25th position but he was unable to make any progress and was left ruing his bad luck.
For Racing Engineering it has been an excellent season, in Javi Villa they have a proven race winner who has been able to race at the front with great maturity and skill and in Marcos they have a new young star who has adapted to the competitive world of GP2 faster than anybody would have thought possible.
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon (team principal): "We have finished this season well. We took three wins and two second places, something we might not have expected at the start of the year. It's been an exciting year with a lot of great moments and this weekend with both Marcos and Javi scoring in Saturday'srace and Javi's second position todayit has been a worthy end for the team. All the boys have done a great job this year and I want to really thank them for everything!"
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "Things went well today. The start wasn't very good but in the end I held onto second. I pushed hard to keep a good distance in front of the next car and that allowed me to hold on to the finish of the race although my tyres were very worn by the end. In the end I finished second and to do this at Valencia is very good for everybody, the Team, the sponsors and all the people who have supported me."
Marcos Martinez (driver car 15): "I had a very good start that moved me up to third and I could keep up the rhythm but then I met a car with a lot of understeer. I entered one corner and went a little wide and two drivers passed me, in the next corner I was hit by one of the cars and I spun. The rest of the race gave me a chance to gain some more experience with the car. On balance the weekend has been good."