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Apr 05, 2014 - 06:43 PM
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Stefano Finishes A Fighting 4th In Today's Bahrain Feature Race
Posted by: newsla on Apr 05, 2014 - 06:40 PM
GP2 News
Stefano Finishes A Fighting 4th In Today's Bahrain Feature Race


Weather conditions in Bahrain for today’s 32 lap Feature Race were good with sunny skies although temperatures were higher than those experienced in yesterday’s Free Practice and Qualifying with air and track temperatures of 27° and 54° respectively. Following a post-qualifying penalty to Nasr, Raffaele Marciello would now be starting 8th while Stefano Coletti retained his 6th place and both Racing Engineering drivers were starting on the softer yellow option tyre.

 

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A great start from Stefano saw him gain three places to be 3rd into the first corner, a position he held through the lap and as the cars crossed the line the Racing Engineering car was right behind Vandoorne and Richelmi with Haryanto in 4th. Stefano closed right in on the two cars ahead on the second lap but as the cars started their 3rd lap an accident to one of the Trident cars saw the Safety Car deployed. The Safety Car pulled in on lap 6 and a large number of cars including Stefano immediately took their mandatory pitstop switching to the harder orange compound tyres. The young Monegasque driver resumed the track in 14th place but the majority of the cars ahead had yet to stop.

Lap 10 saw Stefano 0.7 seconds behind Haryanto and 0.8 ahead of Evans and on the following lap he was lying 12th which was effectively 5th with seven cars ahead still to stop. On lap 13 Stefano made a great overtaking manoeuvre on Haryanto to move up to 11th and he was now looking to close the 5.3 second gap to Leal in 10th and he was immediately lapping faster than the Carlin driver. By lap 17, just over halfway through the race, Stefano was 10th and he was now 4.7 seconds behind Leal and 2.0 seconds ahead of Haryanto.

With 10 laps to go Stefano was now up to 5th and the gap to Leal was still just under 5 seconds and as the Columbian passed Palmer the Racing Engineering car was now closing in quickly on the DAMS car and with two laps left the gap was just 1.3 seconds. As the cars started the last lap the gap was down to 0.7 seconds but there just wasn’t enough time for Stefano to pass the Englishman and he crossed the finish line in 4th just 0.4 seconds away from a podium place.

Lello lost a number of places at the start as several drivers ahead of him made very slow getaways and he was 16th into the first corner but he was able to gain a place during the course of the lap and he crossed the line in 15th, 0.2 seconds behind Rossi and 0.9 ahead of Daly. On the next lap the Racing Engineering car passed Rossi for 14th and he was now chasing Berthon. Lello took his mandatory pitstop straight after his teammate and he resumed the track in 22nd but with many cars ahead still to stop. Unfortunately on lap 12 it was announced that Lello would have to take a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane and he resumed the track in 23rd place with no chance of scoring any points in his GP2 debut. The young Italian however did not give up and by lap 20 he was one of only two drivers running in the 1 minute 46 second bracket and he continued to push for the rest of the race to finish 18th.

A mixed race for the Racing Engineering team with Stefano taking 4th place which will put him 5th on tomorrow’s reversed grid whilst Lello will have to start towards the back of the field but he has shown with his pace in today’s race in won’t be long before he is on the podium.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
"Stefano finished today’s race in P4, really close to the podium. This isn’t bad, but the final result could have been better. He was slowed down in the pitlane by other drivers, who went slow waiting for their pit stop areas to be cleared, so we lost positions there. Lello, on the other hand, lost quite a few positions at the start and also during the pit stop period as he had to wait a bit behind his team mate during the pit stop. Unfortunately his drive through penalty didn’t help him to recover from that. The positive thing we saw was the really strong pace and that both cars are performing well. We will work on the preparation of tomorrow’s race now. The aim is to bring Stefano onto the podium and have Lello make up as many positions as possible."

Raffaele Marciello:
"Today was really bad for me, I think. The car was really fast, so I think we lost a great chance to score good points. I think I gained a lot of experience from today and we can learn a lot."

Stefano Coletti:
"The start wasn’t so great but I think the track was still quite dirty, so several drivers had a bad start. In the end I out-braked two cars on the outside and exited the first corner in P3. On the option tyres the car was really good and before the safety car period I was quicker than the two cars in front of me so. I am quite happy with the car. When the safety car came out, we pitted on lap 6. The problem was that some drivers slowed down on the fast lane, so I dropped from P3 to P6 and in the end finished in P4. The pace was good all race long, when I saw the cars behind me dropping away, I maintained the gap in front of and saved my tyres as there was 8 laps to go. Unfortunately the race was one lap short as otherwise I would have easily been in P3.. Overall I am very happy with the car and if we hadn’t had some bad luck, I am sure we would have finished much higher up on the podium.”

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