Racing Engineering: Fabio Leimer gave it his best shot for the pole but will start on the front row.
The weather for the 30 minute Free Practice session, held in the morning, was cool with a track temperature of just 19° and overnight rain had left the circuit damp and slippery in places. Both Racing Engineering cars took to the track as the session began and Julián Leal was the first to register a quick time when he set a lap of 2:01.286s to go 3rd and he was quickly followed by Fabio Leimer who set a 2:00.258s lap to take over Julián’s place.
The track temperature had substantially increased to 34° by the time the afternoon qualifying got underway and all the GP2 cars were out on track as soon as the 30 minutes session began. Fabio was immediately on the pace and with eight minutes gone the Racing Engineering driver jumped to the top of the times with a 1:57.255s on his first flying lap and Julián was right behind him in 9th with a time of 1:57.924.
All the cars returned to the pits after about 12 minutes of the session to fine tune the set ups of their cars and with eight minutes left the Racing Engineering cars were back on the track but the car of Quaife-Hobbs was moving slowly around the track with a loose front wheel preventing any quick laps until it returned to the pits. Fabio improved his time on his first flying lap with a time of 1:57.156s to lie 2nd just 0.2 seconds away from pole position. However Julián was unable to improve on his earlier time leaving him in 12th but a 10 grid penalty given to Canamasas in Hungary will promote the young Colombian to 11th.
Tomorrow’s 25 lap Feature race will see Fabio, starting from the front row, having an excellent chance of winning the race and closing the gap to the two drivers ahead of him in the Championship as Coletti and Nasr only qualified 20th and 10th respectively. For Julián it will be a case looking to move up into a points scoring position and maximise his grid position for Sunday’s Sprint race.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
"Overall this was a good qualifying session for both our cars today. While free practice took place on a damp track, we had a completely dry track in qualifying. So everyone used the option compound of the slick tyres. Today there was only one push lap to get a fast time as the tyres were then fading away. The top drivers are really close today so starting from the front row is very positive for Fabio. We saw quite an improvement from Julian today and this means he will start tomorrow's race form 10th place, leaving him with plenty of options for a good result."
"I think qualifying was great. It was definitely not easy to find the perfect set up today as the track was still damp in the morning session. But we were already really fast in free practice and were able to reproduce this in qualifying. Sure I would have preferred pole position, but the starting position is quite good on the front row. I think for tomorrow a lot is possible and the goal is to have a good race to score as many points as possible. Now we will work on finding a good set up for tomorrow, and then I am sure it will be a good race."
"The car was behaving quite well today even though there are a few things we can still improve and I could also improve from a driving point of view. But even like this we start from a quite a favourable position given the fact that our race pace is usually very good. Therefore, if I have a race weekend without mistakes, I am sure we can bring home good points."