Racing Engineering press release
Vietoris dominates Qualifying at a wet Spa Francorchamps for Racing Engineering.
The morning’s 30 minute Free Practice session was held under changeable weather conditions that meant that the fastest times were set at the start. The GP2 drivers found the track damp as Practice got under way but everyone opted for slick tyres although rain was forecast to arrive before the 30 minutes were over.
Nearly ten minutes were lost early on when an accident caused the red flags to be displayed and then the weather forecast proved to be correct, when the rain started 16 minutes into the session before many of the drivers had had an opportunity to go for a quick time.
The cars returned to the pits for wet tyres but any chance of a fast time was now impossible. Despite the difficult track conditions both Vietoris and Clos were on the pace setting the 8th and 10th fastest times respectively.
The weather had not improved in the afternoon and Qualifying got under way with light rain falling and all the drivers using Pirelli wet tyres. Track conditions were extremely difficult with a lot of standing water and the spray thrown up by the cars creating poor visibility.
From the opening laps Vietoris was one of the front runners as the young German, within a couple of laps, set the fastest time of the session so far in the Racing Engineering Dallara. As the drivers began to get used to the wet surface and times began to fall it was soon clear that the battle for pole position would be between Vietoris, Filippi, Pic and Bianchi, as these four men were clearly the quickest on the track.
As the session drew to a close the qualifying battle was down to two men, Vietoris and Filippi and as the chequered flag was shown it looked as if the Italian would come out on top but Vietoris was really flying and on his final lap he took pole position for Racing Engineering with a time of 2m 18.345s, an astonishing 1.434 seconds faster than the Coloni driver.
For Clos it was a difficult session and, although he was in the top ten for most of the 30 minutes, a problem with his radio and having to reduce speed due to an abandoned car on the track meant that the young Spaniard had to settle for 13th position.
Starting from pole for tomorrow’s 25 lap Feature Race will make Vietoris a strong favourite for the race win but the ever uncertain Spa weather means that he will not be taking anything for granted. Starting in 13th place will be difficult for Clos but the young Spaniard will not stop fighting and his aim will be to gain as many positions as possible with an eye to getting a good grid position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
Dani Clos: “It's a real shame as my last lap was really fast. I improved my first two sectors and saw that at the end of the last sector there was Pic on the side of the track and it took a long time for his car to be removed. Thanks to this I lost many positions and I am sure I could have been in the top 3 together with Chris, we have the potential. I had a problem with my radio, so I didn't know how much time was remaining and this was my last lap.”
Christian Vietoris: “This was fun from the first minute on. We were so much faster than anyone else. In the wet there is really very little we can still improve. I had several good laps but wasn't expecting pole with such a big time gap. Maybe we can win tomorrow's race.”
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: “Fantastic performance from both drivers today. Chris' pole position by nearly 1.5 seconds shows what both, the driver and the team, can come up with. While Dani was doing a very good job, his qualifying was cut short by Pic stopping next to the track while Dani was on his fast lap. Once again, great job from everyone in the team. Now let's think about tomorrow.”