Dani Clos takes a great victory today at Imola
Racing Engineering’s driver Dani Clos won the second race of the final weekend of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series held today at Imola by leading from start to finish.
GP2 Asia Imola 3Racing Engineering’s driver Dani Clos won the second race of the final weekend of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series held today at Imola by leading from start to finish.
The post-race exclusion of Davide Valsecchi promoted Clos to 7th in the results which meant that he started today’s race from second on the grid and the young Spaniard took full advantage of his front row spot to power into an immediate lead from the Rapax car of Leimer. Further back teammate Nathanaël Berthon had made a great start from the back of the grid following yesterday’s retirement and at the end of lap one he had gained 10 places and was already up to 13th.
Clos now found himself involved in a battle for the lead with Leimer with whom he had also had a close fight in yesterday’s race and it was clear that the two drivers were very evenly matched. By lap three the red and yellow Racing Engineering car led the Rapax car by 0.6 of a second and for many laps the gap would hold steady at around half a second as both drivers constantly lapped with a tenth of a second of each other but Clos was always in command as he drove to conserve his tyres.
Meanwhile Berthon found himself in a similarly close battle, 0.4 seconds behind Cecotto and 0.2 ahead of Filippi, but on lap five Berthon lost a place to Filippi as he attempted to find a way past Cecotto and was pushed onto the grass but over the next eight laps the young Frenchman continued to chase Filippi hard whilst keeping Leal behind him. Lap 17 saw Berthon move up to 12th still chasing Filippi but now pursued by Bird as Leal was dropping down the order.
Back at the front Clos continued to lead and although, by half distance, his lead was nearly a second he couldn’t afford to relax as Leimer continued to shadow him but he was never close enough to the Racing Engineering car to try to attack. As the race entered its closing laps Leimer closed the gap to Clos by a few tenths but the Racing Engineering driver had everything under control and at the chequered flag he took the victory by just over nine tenths of a second.
For Berthon the final laps were difficult as he was now suffering gearbox problems due to his off-track incident with Cecotto and he lost another place to Bird six laps from the finish but he was able to hold on to 13th place at the end, finishing 0.8 seconds behind Calderelli and 2.0 seconds ahead of Razia.
For Spain’s Racing Engineering this was the best possible finish to their first entry into the GP2 Asia Series and this victory is the perfect stepping stone for both the team and Dani Clos as they look forward to the start of the 2011 GP2 Series in Istanbul on the 6th-8th of May.
Dani Clos: “This was a positive race for the team. We were looking forward to this moment of obtaining the maximum data possible on the car. It was a good race. Now we need to push the reset button and prepare everything for the Silverstone test where we will work on gathering more data and information on the car and tyres. I would also like to thank the team for their work this weekend. Now we have to continue working in this direction.”
Nathanaël Berthon: “I had a very good start! It was incredible and I think I gained some 10 positions in the first laps. I was really quick during the opening laps. I passed Cecotto, when he pushed me into the grass and this is where Filippi was able to pass me. I wanted to fight back, but due to the impact something on my gearbox might have been broken. With this problem it was not possible to fight like before, so I tried to finish as good as possible, but I lost speed compared to the others. But it was a positive race.”
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon, president of Racing Engineering: “A wonderful job by everyone in the team after the difficult Friday qualifying. I am very happy with the results for the entire team. Nat impressed all weekend and it's a real pity that both his races were affected by other drivers hitting him. He was able to show his potential and was close to finishing both races in excellent positions. Dani drove a good race today, with his great start being the base for his victory. Well done. We are now heading on to the Main Series.”
-source: racing engineering