In a stunning reversal of fortune Racing Engineering put aside the disappointments of Bahrain and yesterday's qualifying as drivers Javier Villa and Sergio Jimenez both drove brilliant races to finish in the points. The race began badly...
In a stunning reversal of fortune Racing Engineering put aside the disappointments of Bahrain and yesterday's qualifying as drivers Javier Villa and Sergio Jimenez both drove brilliant races to finish in the points.
The race began badly when two cars stalled on the grid causing the start to be aborted and then, as the cars roared away from grid at the second attempt, the Durango car of Karun Chandok speared across the track causing some near misses. Then entering the first corner several cars spun off causing a safety car period, immediately, as soon as the pits were opened, the majority of the field, including Javier Villa, made their compulsory pitstop. Several cars opted to stay out including race leader Timo Glock and Racing Engineering's second driver, Sergio Jimenez. A quick pitstop saw Javier up to 17th place whilst Sergio was now in a fighting third spot as the pace car returned to the pits. Whilst Javier concentrated on battling his way up the field Sergio was driving superbly in third keeping eventual race winner Bruno Senna at bay. Sergio pitted on lap 18 as his tyres began to go off and resumed in 13th place, two places behind his team-mate who was making the most of a car that was now running as it should and had passed several cars.
Both drivers gained a couple more places following retirements but Villa found himself blocked behind a battling threesome of Petrov, Aleshin and Yamamoto. Such was the intensity of the battle Sergio soon joined in and as Javier was forced to back off as Yamamoto locked up and Sergio moved ahead. Both Racing Engineering drivers began to press hard and on lap 32 they both passed Yamamoto and a lap later Sergio slipstreamed past Petrov on the main straight and Javier followed on the next corner. Sergio was now 7th and Javier 8th, positions they held to the finish. Significantly this was the first points finish for both drivers and of course tomorrow will see them sitting on the front row of the grid, a marvellous achievement for Racing Engineering on home ground.
Alfonso D'Orleans (team principal): "I am ecstatic; there really are no words to say how delighted I am. From first to last everyone in the Team did a brilliant job. If we had not had the fuel pump problem yesterday I'm sure Javier would have been on the podium. Now tomorrow we start both cars at the front of the grid and I'm sure we can get a podium place but racing can always bring surprises! Sergio drove a brilliant race to finish seventh and I'm sure he will go very well again tomorrow. Well done to everybody!"
Javier Villa: "The race was really good, I stopped on the second lap for new tyres and the car was handling well when I came out. I drove hard but it was difficult at the end of the race as the tyres began to go off. I am starting tomorrow in pole position and we are making a few small changes to improve the car, I am sure tomorrow will be really good."
Sergio Jimenez: I had a very good race. When the safety car came out at the start of the race the team decided to keep me running and I held third for a long time. The delayed stop may have cost me a little time but the team did a great pitstop and I was able to make up more places. I start on the front of the grid tomorrow and I'm hoping for more points."