Fabio Leimer and Racing Engineering finish second in today’s Feature Race at Bahrain.
Fabio Leimer finished today’s Feature Race in second place after a faultless performance in a very competitive race.
Leimer made a clean start from the second row and the Racing Engineering car held onto 3rd position as the cars braked for the first corner. The first lap of 32 was completed without incident and as the cars crossed the line Leimer was 0.5 seconds behind Valsecchi and 0.6 seconds ahead of Ericsson.
Over the next few laps Leimer lost ground to the two cars ahead as he was on the harder Prime tyres whilst the leaders were on the softer Option tyre. However by lap 8 Leimer had closed the gap as the Option tyres began to deteriorate and on the following lap the Racing Engineering car was looking for a way to pass Van Der Garde and despite being forced off the track briefly the young Swiss driver found a way past and was up to second place.
On lap 11 Leimer made his compulsory pit stop changing all four tyres and resuming the track in 8th but 2nd on the road as all but one of the cars ahead had yet to stop.
By lap 16 Leimer was 4.7 seconds behind Valsecchi and slowly closing on the DAMS car. The gap had narrowed to 4 seconds after 22 laps but Valsecchi began to push and the two cars began to lap at very similar speeds. As the race entered its final laps it was clear to Leimer that the two cars were too evenly matched and the Racing Engineering driver settled for 2nd place at the flag. Nathanaël Berthon made a good start and at the end of the first lap in the final corner he out-braked Gutierrez to finish the lap 13th. The Racing Engineering car now began to chase Dillmann and on lap 4 Berthon was 0.5 seconds behind the Rapax car. The young Frenchman took his mandatory pitstop on lap 12 resuming in 13th place and two laps later he made a great move to pass Gutierrez. Berthon was now chasing Crestani and on lap 17 he tried to out-brake the GP Lazarus car but made contact, spinning and resuming the race in 18th place.
With 7 laps to go Berthon was up to 14th and fighting hard with Melker who was less than 0.5 seconds ahead. Berthon was soon ahead of the Ocean car but with the next car over 10 seconds ahead he had to settle for 12th place at the end of 32 hard laps.
Leimer will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from 7th on the reversed grid and after his very competitive showing today Fabio will be looking for another podium finish. Berthon will be looking to gain as many places as possible to try and move up to a points scoring finish.
Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering: "Fantastic race from Fabio. He deserved this podium, although we would have obviously preferred a win. But second is not bad considering last weekend's circumstances. He starts from 7th position on the grid tomorrow, so it won't be an easy race. But I am sure he will give it all he can to get back onto the podium. A pity about Nat, he got all the way to 10th before making contact with Crestani. And following the outcome of the race, he most probably would have finished 7th or 8th and be starting tomorrow's race from the front. But that was not to be and Nat actually finished the race outside the points. Although giving credit to him, I have rarely seen a driver overtaking as much as he did in this race. A special thanks also to all the boys who did a wonderful pit stop for both drivers. Now let's get ready for tomorrow."
Fabio Leimer: "It finally worked out! We really deserved a podium finish in Malaysia and also during the last weekend in Bahrain, but there was always some kind of problem keeping us from it. Today I am really happy with my podium finish in second position. There is still some potential to come and I am pretty sure we are one of the best teams at the moment. I have seen again today that I can manage my tyres really well and make them last longer. Starting from P1 might have brought a different result, but from P3 to second place is also good and I obtained quite a lot of points. Tomorrow we will see what's possible. The goal is definitely to score more points. Starting from 7th is risky. I will try to have a safe first lap and then we see how the race develops. But today was a great day. The entire team delivered a superb job with a good pit stop. Today everything worked out really well."
Nathanaël Berthon: "I am really disappointed with today's race. I had an incredible stint before I came into the pits for my pit stop. I overtook many cars, but our strategy didn't work as planned and after the pit stop I had to overtake many cars again. One of them was Crestani and when I was behind him, he didn't keep his line. I was at the same time defending my position from Gutierrez, and turning into corner 8, Crestani braked too early and I slightly touched his car. I dropped back to 18th and recovered to finish the race in 12th position. But I am very disappointed as I could have finished the race in the top 8 and tomorrow could have been a very good day."