Following the incident in Saturday’s Feature Race between Stefano Coletti and Julian Leal the Carlin driver was penalised and, as a result, the race positions were reversed so Stefano was classified 4th and would start the Sprint Race from 5th on the grid. Following his disappointing retirement on Sarturday Raffaele Marciello would start from 26th and last position on the grid.
The weather for the 21 lap race was cloudy and cool with air and track temperatures of 13° and 20° respectively and all the cars were starting on the hardest of the Pirelli tyre options, the P Zero Orange compound.
As the lights went off Stefano made a brilliant start passing a number of cars on the outside and slotting into 2nd place into the first corner and at the end of the lap he was 1.2 seconds behind the leader Nasr and 0.8 seconds ahead of Cecotto. Over the next few laps Stefano began to set a number of fastest laps as he closed the gap on Nasr and on lap 8 the gap was down to 0.8 seconds whilst the Racing Engineering driver had pulled out a 4.2 second gap over Cecotto.
As the race reached the half-way point Stefano had dropped away a little as he began to preserve his tyres and the gap opened up to 3.0 seconds. With five laps to go Stefano reported a loss of power to his team on the radio and he lost almost a second to the third place car of Cecotto and he now concentrated on holding on to 2nd place. Fortunately the problem did not worsen and Stefano was able to take the chequered flag in 2nd.
Lello made a great start from last on the grid passing six cars into the first corner but as the cars entered the first corner another car made contact with Lello breaking the rear suspension on the Racing Engineering car resulting in an immediate retirement.
For Coletti it has been a positive two days with a 4th placed finish on Saturday and 2nd and fastest lap on Sunday resulting in a good haul of points and once again showing how fast he is in race conditions. Other than his fastest time in free practice and pole position time on Friday it was a weekend to forget for Lello with two retirements, neither of which were the fault of the young Italian.
The next round of the 2014 GP2 Series will take place in two weeks’ time in Germany at the Hockenheim circuit.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:"Overall we had very mixed results this weekend. With Lello starting so well on Friday and taking his first GP2 pole, he was unlucky in the two races. While Saturday a mechanical failure outside our control kept him from finishing on the podium, another car crashed into him today taking him out of the race after a really good start. It’s a shame as he does brilliant starts now, definitely has the pace and we are simply a bit unlucky. But we are sure that in Germany things will fall into place for him and he will be back in the top spots. For Stefano, on the other hand, after our 1-2 in free practice, qualifying didn’t go too well, but he had two good races finishing in 4th and 2nd, allowing him to score important points. Today’s race, in particular, was quite exciting as after a really good start we once more set the fastest lap time in the race, but a misfiring engine meant that the strategy changed from attacking for the win to bring the car home in 2nd place. Overall the weekend wasn’t bad, but we definitely prefer seeing both our drivers taking big points."
Raffaele Marciello:"I had a good start and overtook quite a few cars when Canamasas and Markelov had contact in turn 1 and crashed into me. I went off track and my race finished there. All my recent starts were really good; we have the pace, so it’s all there. We will fight back in Germany.”
Stefano Coletti:"The car was really good today, we made a big step forward and it was perfect to drive. It was my goal today to set the fastest lap and I was close to Nasr, but as soon as my engine problems started, I slowed down. I went easy on it to finish the race. I am happy with the races given that we were only 11th in qualifying. Everyone in the team did a great job.”