Racing Engineering GP2 podium

Yesterday’s Sprint Race at Barcelona saw a great result for Racing Engineering with both drivers finishing in the top six and scoring points. Giorgio Pantano continued his great run from Saturday with an intelligent drive and using all his experience he took a very close third place while once again Javier Villa kept his head and calmly moved up from 14th on the grid to finish an excellent sixth.

It was a clean start to the Sprint Race although Giorgio was hampered slightly by the car in front being slightly slower away but he still managed to take 4th place right on the gearbox of Buemi as the cars dived into the first corner. Javier also made a good start and was fortunate to avoid a spinning Chandhok, at the end of the first lap he was already up to 11th. Giorgio was trying everything he could to pass Buemi and tried to outbreak the Swiss driver into the first corner on lap 3 but wasn’t quite close enough.

Javier was continuing his progress through the field as he moved up to 10th on lap two and then 9th on the fourth lap. Giorgio continued to put pressure on Buemi as he clearly had the faster car but he also had to keep a close eye on the 5th placed Petrov who was right behind him.

Javier was beginning to close in on the group of cars ahead of him that were battling over 3rd to 8th but he also had to be careful of the chasing Valsecchi but the young Spaniard was driving quickly and not making any mistakes. Lap 11 saw Giorgio continuing his fight to take 3rd place taking every opportunity to close in on the third placed Arden car and constantly keep the Racing Engineering car in Buemi’s mirrors. A little further back Javier continued to close on the group ahead and by lap 12 he was only 1.5 seconds behind.

For the next eight laps the positions remained static other than the retirement of Petrov that moved Javier up to 8th but up ahead the two Piquet cars of Maldonado and Zuber were fighting each other for position and on lap 17 and then again two laps later the two cars made contact allowing Javier to close right in on them.

Lap 20 saw the Safety Car out on track as a spinning car was stranded on the track and as it pulled off the track on the following lap and the cars were up to speed again the two Piquet cars hit each other again. Javier took immediate advantage and passed Zuber and then dived inside Maldonado but the second Piquet car made contact with him and in the confusion Valsecchi passed the Racing Engineering car.

Lap 23 and everything changed as race leader Grosjean was penalised with a drive-through penalty moving everybody up a place. Three laps later and the chequered flag was waved and Giorgio crossed the line in an excellent third place and a delighted Javier came home sixth to see both the Repsol/Telefónica supported cars scoring points.

With such a great result for Racing Engineering both drivers can look forward to the next round in Turkey in two weeks time with more podium positions and a race win within the scope of both drivers.

Alfonso de Orleans Borbón (team principal): “I’m very happy with the results; both drivers did an excellent job today. Third, both, in the team and driver championship, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Thanks to all the boys as they have worked hard to make this possible."

Javier Villa (driver car 11): "Today everything went much better. I had a good start and also the first laps of the race went well. We had a good rhythm throughout the entire race, although towards the end I had a little contact with Maldonado, which made the last laps a bit difficult. I think we all learned a lot this weekend with the new car and it will help us with the upcoming races."

Giorgio Pantano (driver car 12): "For all of the weekend I think we did quite well. We nearly did the job, good for me and the team as we learned each from each other. That's important as we will improve more than we did this weekend. I am sure from next race on we will fight for victory."