Chaotic qualifying session in Spa sees Racing Engineering's Christian Vietoris in 5th Racing Engineering had a challenging first day at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit today. Changing weather conditions marked both sessions of the day and...
Chaotic qualifying session in Spa sees Racing Engineering's Christian Vietoris in 5th
Racing Engineering had a challenging first day at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit today. Changing weather conditions marked both sessions of the day and heavy rain, little visibility and the resulting yellow and red flags marked free practice as well as qualifying. With Spa being less than an hour's drive from his home in Germany, Christian Vietoris almost felt like he was at a home race and continued his form from the Hungaroring. Although he suffered from the four red flags in qualifying, seeing each of his fast laps being destroyed, the German in the Racing Engineering car managed to claim 5th position on the grid for tomorrow's feature race. Dani Clos, after an excellent morning session where he finished in second, set the 12th fastest time in the afternoon.
Atrocious weather conditions welcomed the GP2 field at Spa Francorchamps when everyone returned to action after the summer break. While the morning's free practice session started on a dry track, heavy rain set in from the middle of the session, which was red flagged ten minutes from the end. However, the drivers of the Spanish team were very competitive. Dani set the second fastest time, with Christian finishing in sixth.
The weather had it's part to play in afternoon qualifying as well. When the GP2 field was about to start it's session, light rain set in, which within minutes turned into a heavy shower. After just three minutes, and without any driver having set a lap time yet, the session had to be red flagged due to the heavy rain falling on the mythical Belgian track. Dani Clos was one of the drivers who had an early setback in the session. Too much humidity on the spark plugs resulted in a misfire with the engine, which was not running correctly. Although Racing Engineering did everything possible to protect the engine before the session and Mecachrome being quick at trying to solve the problem, the heavy rain made this task difficult. Christian, on the other hand, joined the session after the first red flag and set the second fastest time. When Razia spun off the track, the session was stopped for a second time.
At the restart, Christian was fifth, and Dani, who had a smoothly running engine now, set the 10th fastest time immediately on his first timed lap. But another accident resulted in another red flag with just 10 minutes to go in the session. Both Racing Engineering drivers were on their flying laps, significantly improving their sector times until the red flag was shown for the third time and resulted in them having to finish their lap times in the pit lane, instead of crossing the finish line.
At the restart, Herck was quick at setting the fastest lap time and Dani climbed up to 8th position. Christian dropped back to 15th, while strictly sticking to the newly introduced rule of not to improve the lap time when there is a yellow flag shown on track. Another accident, this time involving Zaugg, caused the fourth and last red flag with just five minutes to go. The drivers had only one more flying lap left and, when the lights turned green for the last time, Christian Vietoris made the most out of his last attempt and set the fifth fastest time of the session. Dani, on the other hand, improved his lap time as well, but the Spaniard was held up by a slower car in front of him and could not show his entire potential and finished the session in 12th place.
Rain is also forecasted for tomorrow's feature race, which is programmed to start at 15:40 CET.
Christian Vietoris: "This was a tough session. With the amount of red flags and the new rule of not improving one's lap time if there was a yellow flag anywhere, I always had to abort my laps. There was a bit of panic then as I was only in 15th position, which didn't reflect our speed at all. So it was a bit of "all or nothing" on my last lap and I took some risks. But I still had to be careful enough to finish the lap, which was actually my first fast lap of the session. Therefore 5th position is not bad at all. For tomorrow, we need to see what the weather will be like, but I think a podium finish is possible."
Dani Clos: "We were held up for quite some time at the beginning of the session by an engine problem. I was confident as we did a good job in free practice. But it was only on the last lap when I was able to really improve my time, but even then, I found a slower car in front of me. So I couldn't complete any clean laps, which is a shame as we were fast. But it's a good track to overtake and we will do our beat, like always."
Alfonso de Orlèans - Borbon, President of Racing Engineering: "With today's rain, qualifying was a real lottery and anyone could have been on pole or in last position. I think both our drivers had the speed to be at the very top, but the weather conditions, bad visibility and the amount of red flags were hampering their attempts. The team and the drivers have done a great job today, but now let's prepare for the race for tomorrow."