Giorgio Pantano took his second pole position of the season for Racing Engineering in Hockenheim yesterday whilst Javier Villa completed a really good qualifying session for the Spanish team by finishing ninth overall.
Giorgio's pole has its origins in the free practice session, when the Italian driver and the Racing Engineering technical staff found the basis of an ideal setup for the car in qualifying. With free practice starting on a damp track that was drying as the minutes went by, the main focus was on running and setting up the car for the crucial half an hour where the grid was to be decided. Pantano was third at the end of the free practice and had a very clear picture of the way to go to get the perfect car for qualifying session.
The work done in the morning really paid off and the Repsol and Telefónica backed Dallara driven by Pantano was amongst the fastest from the start of qualifying, scoring a 1:23:343 at his first attempt that put him straight to the top.
As the session continued the track was getting quicker and laptimes were improving but the Racing Engineering driver settled the battle for pole position when he returned to the track, improving his previous time by more than 1.5 seconds, setting a 1:21:650 that none of his rivals could reach in the remaining ten minutes still left to the end of the session. With this new pole, the second of the season, Pantano increases his advantage at the top of the GP2 series standings and gains for himself the best position to fight for victory in today’s Feature Race on the German track.
The good news for Racing Engineering didn't finish with Giorgio's amazing showing, his team mate, Javier Villa, also had a good qualifying that allowed him to get a place in the fifth row for tomorrow’s race after scoring the ninth fastest time. Javi has already been among the top ten in free practice despite completing only 8 laps because of an oil leak in his engine that was quickly and efficiently fixed by Racing Engineering's mechanics before qualifying. There, although he hadn't run as much as he would have hoped for in the morning, Villa was still able to set some good lap times to get that ninth position that puts him in the right place to have a good race tomorrow.
With Giorgio in pole and Javi well placed, the outlook for the Spanish team is good for the Feature Race, due tomorrow afternoon. Another win seems to be perfectly within reach for Giorgio while Javi will be looking for his best result of the season so far.
Alfonso de Orleans Borbón (team principal): "Once again Giorgio has done an amazing job, the prospects are good for tomorrow. I am very happy for Javi as well, luckily the engine problem we had on his car's engine was just a loose pipe, which we solved easily for qualifying. Well done to both drivers and a great job by the whole team, but let's keep our heads cool for tomorrow's race."
Javier Villa (driver car 11): "I think that we made a step forward compared to the previous weekends. It's not the best qualifying we've done, but I think for tomorrow, starting from 9th position, we can do a good race."
Giorgio Pantano (driver car 12): "Everything went very well. We understood from free practice what we needed to improve for qualifying. We did the job and I think we did a perfect lap, the car was perfect and I was almost perfect. I have to say thanks to the team as they worked hard to prepare the car for qualifying."