Dani Clos fully recovered at Monza with Racing Engineering Racing Engineering had a positive day at Monza today, although the results in qualifying were not reflecting the performance of Racing Engineering's cars and drivers adequately.
Dani Clos fully recovered at Monza with Racing Engineering
Racing Engineering had a positive day at Monza today, although the results in qualifying were not reflecting the performance of Racing Engineering's cars and drivers adequately. Nonetheless, the first good news came from Dani Clos who, having made an incredible and courageous recovery from his accident in Spa, was fit to behind the wheel for this weekends event. At the mythical high-speed circuit of Monza, Dani Clos set the ninth fastest time in qualifying which, together with Christian Vietoris' tenth position, means that Racing Engineering's drivers are starting Saturday's feature race from the fifth row of the grid.
It was sunny and warm at Monza today, when the GP2 engines were turned on for free practice shortly before midday. Dani Clos, who spent some ten days of intense and purposeful training to recover from his back injuries, was back to drive his Racing Engineering car and left no doubt about his condition. He quickly moved up the time sheets, occupied the top spot for some time, and finished free practice in an excellent fifth place. Christian Vietoris, on the other hand, was having a satisfying free practice as well. Trying different set ups on his car and setting very promising sector times, the German GP2 rookie finished the session in eleventh.
With the track getting quicker and the time gaps very close in free practice, the afternoon qualifying promised to become a thrilling session. After just two flying laps, Christian was already in sixth position. With the standings changing and lap times improving constantly, Dani set the seventh fastest time the following lap. After just five flying laps, the Racing Engineering boys returned to the pits to pick up their new set of tyres halfway though the session. With the entire field in the pits at this moment, the final laps were set to be some of the decisive of the entire session. With less than half the session left, all drivers went back on track. Those already having finished a flying lap were the lucky ones when Maldonado spun off at the first chicane. The Racing Engineering duo was not part of them. After an initial yellow flag, the session was red flagged and all cars had to return to the pitlane. With 5 minutes and 29 seconds left, the session was restarted as soon as the Venezuelan's car was removed. Keeping in mind the necessary out lap, there was a maximum of two flying laps possible. Both Racing Engineering drivers were on a fast lap, set to improve their lap times, when Turvey stopped causing a yellow flag. Respecting the rule change applied recently, Dani and Christian immediately slowed down as they still were to pass the incident zone, unable to improve, they ran out of time to start yet another flying lap. Dani and Christian, only separated by 5 thousands of a second and four tenths behind pole sitter Bianchi, finished today's qualifying in ninth and tenth position, respectively.
Saturday's feature race (30 laps) at the Autodromo di Monza is scheduled to start at 15:40 CET.
Dani Clos: "It's a real pity about qualifying. The new rule about yellow/red flags has cost us a better starting position. We were definitely in a position to have a really good qualifying session here in Monza. It's a shame I was not able to complete a fast lap. Like so often, towards the end of the session drivers go off and I had to abort my fast lap. After the red flag there was no time to improve my lap time as we already had another yellow flag out again. Tomorrow we need to run a very smart race. In front of me there are the two drivers, who are ahead of me in the championship, but I will do my own race and will try to get the best out of it."
Christian Vietoris: "We could have been in much better positions. Qualifying was not easy before, but with the new rule, it is even more of a lottery. There are always drivers going off and this makes the sessions so unpredictable. Tomorrow I need a good start and it's definitely a realistic goal to finish the race in the top 8 as we have a good car here, but were simply not able to show this today."
Alfonso de Orlèans - Borbon, President of Racing Engineering: "I am surprised with our qualifying results. Although both drivers are in the top 10, they should actually be in the top 5. However, the red flag at the end of the session stopped both our drivers on their fast laps so we have a bit of a random starting grid for tomorrow. Anyway, we will do our best to make up for this during tomorrow's race."