This weekend sees the GP2 teams head to Belgium for one of the most popular venues for both drivers and spectators, the magnificent Spa Francorchamps circuit, venue for the 8th weekend of the 2011 GP2 Series.
The track contains some of the most famous corners in racing over its 7.004 km length with such historic names as Eau Rouge, Radillon, Les Combes, Stavelot, Blanchimont and La Source. With its mixture of very fast and very slow corners, changes in elevation and high-speed straights it is a circuit that requires total commitment from a driver and, this in turn, requires a very good set up to his chassis.
For this weekend Pirelli will be supplying medium compound slicks to the GP2 teams as the tyre company feel this is the best tyre to suit the varying track and weather conditions that are frequently a feature of racing at Spa.
Racing Engineering will be looking to continue their recent run of good results that has seen the Spanish team running very competitively. Christian Vietoris has been very fast in recent races and will be looking to take a win in Belgium. Dani Clos has been on the receiving end of some bad luck in the previous two weekends but the young Spaniard has shown that he is just as competitive as his German team-mate and he too will be looking for a place on the top step of the podium.
Such has been the closeness of the racing this year the top positions in the Series Championship are only separated by a few points and a good result this weekend could see both of the Racing Engineering drivers making substantial gains in the rankings.
Below Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering talks about Spa:
The Budapest round was looking so good for the Racing Engineering crew until both drivers spun off under tricky weather conditions in Sunday's race.
Mistakes can happen. But the real problem is not only that many points were lost, which meant we dropped in the team standings, but Chris also lost a race win. A pity as Dani should have finished in points as well. But this is behind us now and we need to prepare for Spa.
There are two rounds of the 2011 GP2 championship left, Spa and Monza. Racing Engineering has always taken home a good bunch of points from these two rounds. Do you think this will be the case as well this season?
Yes, we have always been good at both tracks. Although last year Dani was involved in an accident at the start, which cost him points in the championship and he ended up in the hospital. If we manage to keep out of trouble, there is no reason why we won't do well.
Spa is a very special race track with lots of history. What does it mean to you personally and what would you regard as the specialties of this circuit?
Well, it's probably the most interesting circuit of the season, along with Istanbul. Not only is the track a pleasure to drive, but it also has many overtaking areas and is in a beautiful area. It's a real driver circuit. The best drivers always stand out here.
Pirelli will supply all GP2 teams with the medium compound slick tyres during the Spa race weekend, the same compound used during the Silverstone event. Racing Engineering finished both races in second place in Silverstone; can something similar be expected for this weekend?
Tyre management will be crucial, just like all the events this season. It's about finding the right balance between fighting for positions and keeping your tyres working at their optimum for as long as possible. Tyres at Spa will surely be the main factor, but at the end of the day, it will come down to the weather and in Spa there can always be surprises. But we have a good rain set up, so it doesn't matter rain or dry. The important thing is to give the drivers a good car to finish the races and bring home some decent points for the championship.