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Jul 27, 2014 - 05:44 AM
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Review - Post-Race Penalties Ruin The Day For Racing Engineering Today
Posted by: newsla on Jul 27, 2014 - 05:41 AM
GP2 News
Review - Post-Race Penalties Ruin The Day For Racing Engineering Today At The Hungaroring

The weather today at the Hungaroring for the 37 lap Feature Race was a little cooler than yesterday with air and track temperatures of 26° and 40° respectively and in the F1 qualifying that preceded the race some rain had fallen. The majority of the cars, including Lello starting from 7th, were starting on the P Zero White medium compound whilst Stefano was starting on the P Zero Yellow soft compound as he was starting 15th and the softer tyre would help him make up positions early in the race.


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As the race got underway Lello made a very good start from the 4th row, moving to inside of the track into the first corner and slotting into 5th just behind Vandoorne and ahead of Pic. The Racing Engineering car now became involved in a big battle for 3rd which lasted until lap 7 when Lello made his mandatory pitstop under the Safety Car period that had been deployed on the previous lap following an accident between two cars, he resumed the track in 13th place.

By lap 12, one third distance, Lello was still 13th and fighting hard with Lancaster ahead and Pic behind but on lap 13 it was announced that the young Italian would have to serve a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Lello took the penalty on the following lap resuming the race in 22nd place with seemingly no chance of scoring any points. Despite the position he found himself in Lello kept pushing and by lap 29 he was up to 14th as the cars ahead took their pitstops and an accident to two other cars on lap 30 which saw the safety Car out again moved the Racing Engineering car up to 12th.

More pitstops saw Lello in an incredible 9th place, right on the gearbox of Berthon, and as the Safety car pulled in with just one lap left to run the Racing Engineering driver pushed the Frenchman hard and was able to take 8th place on the final lap. However a post-race penalty for inadvertently passing Vandoorne under the Safety Car means that Lello is relegated to the back of the grid for tomorrow.

Stefano made a great start gaining five places in the opening metres and, although he lost a place to Evans, he finished the first lap in 13th. On the sixth lap Leal made heavy contact with the young Monegasque resulting in a rear puncture and, as the Safety Car was deployed, Stefano immediately dived into the pits where the Racing Engineering team made a very fast tyre change and he regained the track in 16th place and was immediately involved in a fight for position with Haryanto and Quaife-Hobbs.

The penalty to his teammate moved Stefano up to 15th and on lap 20 he was still chasing Haryanto with Quaife-Hobbs right behind but the field was very close with the gap from 5th to 15th less than ten seconds. As the race reached the 25th lap many of the cars ahead were now taking their mandatory pitstops and Stefano was now up to 5th and then, as the final pitstops were taken and Haryanto retired, Stefano was suddenly lying in 2nd position with six laps to go and the Safety Car was still out at the head of the field. The time it took to clear away the accident meant that the race was now timed and as the Safety Car left the track there was just one lap remaining and Stefano made no mistake as he took the chequered flag in 2nd spot. It was announced after the race that Stefano would receive a 20 second penalty for the incident with Leal which will also put him to the back of the grid for the Sprint Race tomorrow.

It has been a very a very difficult day for Racing Engineering and its drivers Stefano as he took 2nd from 15th on the grid on a track renowned to be difficult to overtake on but received a penalty and Lello drove very well was also penalised. Both men will have to start tomorrow’s 28 lap Sprint Race from the back of the grid but, as ever, both men will fight to gain as many places as possible and try to get into the points.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
"A crazy race today at the Hungaroring with many incidents from the start to the chequered flag. We had an aggressive strategy for both cars trying to gain as many positions as possible throughout the race. Both drivers had good starts, but then Leal had contact with Stefano causing a puncture to our car and forced us to pit. We pitted with Lello just one lap later, but the safety car was deployed the same lap, which made it a turning point of the race. At this stage of the race our drivers were first and fourth of those, who pitted and we were looking forward to bringing both of them onto the podium. Unfortunately, Lello had a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane which put him at the back and far away from the field. He had a good pace then to catch up the field and take advantage of his position when the leaders had to pit. The second safety car was again quite decisive today and brought the field together, with some cars on new option tyres for a crazy last lap. P2 for Stefano is a great result, especially considering his starting position. Lello could have been fighting for the win without his drive-through, which is a shame.
It’s a real pity that we lost all those points with the post-race penalties after such a great effort by everyone. "

Raffaele Marciello:
"I am quite disappointed with the final result of today’s race. We started well and were on the right strategy, but when I entered the pits, I had Vandoorne next to me, who all of the sudden slowed down in front of the Safety Car line, which caused me to pass him unintentionally. This means I was handed a post-race penalty and instead of starting from pole position I will be at the back of the field.”

Stefano Coletti:
"A very eventful race today! We had a good strategy starting from 15th on option tyres. I had contact with another car on lap 5 and had to finish the entire lap with a punctured tyre. I was lucky with the Safety Car being deployed just when I pitted. Then I simply controlled my tyres until the end of the race, which is what we needed to do to finish in 2nd. I am very happy with the job done by the team, they gave me a great car and now we will concentrate on tomorrow’s race.”

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