Difficult qualifying at Imola for the Racing Engineering drivers
The comeback of GP2 to the historic Imola track didn't result in good qualifying results for the two Racing Engineering drivers, Dani Clos and Nathanael Berthon.
The day started in a promisingly for the Spanish team, carrying out a problem free work program during the two free practice sessions where both Clos and Berthon set good lap times in being fifth and tenth.
However, qualifying became difficult from the start with a red flag that prevented Clos from completing his first fastest lap attempt and left Berthon without the time to find a clean lap. When the session was restarted, the activity was frantic with nearly all drivers simultaneously on track looking for their best lap time. Both Dani and Nathanael were trying to find a gap in the traffic but were unable to get any clear laps and they also found the balance of the car was different with the second set of tyres which ultimately prevented them from repeating the good positions achieved during the morning.
Eventually, Clos was classified in 20th position, while Berthon finished 25th, both hampered by the traffic on a track without almost no overtaking places. This will make things difficult for the two Racing Engineering drivers in the race that starts tomorrow at 2PM, although both are resolved to recover positions, knowing that they have the pace and the car to be in a far better position.
Dani Clos: "A complicated qualifying session. We were not able to put everything together. When I was on my fast lap Bianchi blocked me and after, when I was on another good lap, there was the red flag. With the new set of tyres we could not put everything together anymore, and Bianchi was once more in my way when he didn't look when leaving the pits. For tomorrow, we will work hard and give our best. However our focus is on the Main Series."
Nathanael Berthon: "Free practice went well today although I encountered traffic on track. But I knew there was a margin to improve. In qualifying I had no free lap at all; I was always slowed down by traffic. I felt really, really quick on my first run with the first set of tyres, on the second set the car felt different. It's hard to understand why I only improved 3 tenths of a second on new tyres, which is not normal. We need to work now to understand what happened."
Thomas Couyotopoulo (Technical Director): "This was a difficult qualifying session affected by the early red flag. Both drivers were happy and confident with the balance of their cars with the first set of tyres. Sadly enough traffic affected both of them during this first part of the session. Both reported a different behaviour of their cars when the second sets of tyres were mounted. They could not set the lap times we hoped for; we will work hard in analyzing and understanding what has happened."
-source: racing engineering