At the start of the race, all those cars on slicks had serious difficulties while those wearing water tires managed to advance easily.
For this reason, Lello did a spectacular career start going from 17th place to 7th place. However, an accident on the track prevented the Italian rider to move forward after an incredible race start.
When the race resumed on lap four, Lello continued his progress on reaching an incredible third place when Solensen passed a curve forcing Lello to get off track. And with the bad luck that the gearbox of his car remained locked in the 6-speed, so finally Lello had to retire.
Stefano began his career successfully but, as expected, he was passed by cars carrying rain tires, losing up to 8 positions. But still knowing that he was the only rider wearing slicks, so if the track dried, it will give him a great advantage.
The safety car came out again to track when several riders had entered to replace their wet tires, so the Racing Engineering car was going fast to achieve positions. Once in second position, the entrance of the lider Negrão to the pits, made the monegasque driver be at the head of the race.
Stefano was pushing hard, setting a fastest lap with a time of 1:30.317, but without relax as Nasr followed him closely and he was not going to give up. Five laps from the end, the difference between first and second place was only one second. Still, Coletti scored another fastest lap so he was proclaimed leader of the race.
Finally, the strategy for the Racing Engineering to ride with slicks tires for Stefano, had its profit and allowed the monegasque driver to take a great advantage when performing a flawless race with very difficult conditions. On the other hand, Lello suffered a disastrous weekend due two mechanical problems of which he was not responsible, but which prevented him from scoring after a great demonstration pilot.
The next round of the GP2 series will take place in one week in Hungary where they will try to continue the good run
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “It’s great to finally win a race today with Stefano Coletti under these challenging conditions. Rain just before the race complicated the strategy and the choices to make. Stefano did a brilliant job keeping the car on track with slicks when the track was very wet during the opening laps. But we knew before that this would be the key point, to be able to take advantage of the conditions changing to dry. He fought from start to finish and he also achieved the fastest lap time on the last lap of the race keeping Nasr and Vandoorne under control. ”
Rafaele Marciello: “I had a good start and opening laps in the race. I was up in P3 already in what was my first time in the rain with a GP2 car. It’s quite incredible; I was that quick from the very beginning. I was able to win today, but I was stuck in 6th gear, went off and came into the pits, where I had to retire.”
Stefano Coletti: “It was at the last moment on the grid that we decided to start on slicks, we knew it was a risky decision, but I’ve done it in the past, so I was quite confident with this choice. But when the race started, I was a bit worried it might have still been too wet. Then the conditions changed in my favour, the track dried up and I was able to overtake all the drivers, who put on slicks and won the race also scoring the points for fastest lap. I am very happy with the results achieved this weekend, the team did a great job and I am sure we will continue like this next weekend in Hungary.”
Photo: Alastair Staley