A new GP2 series season has started this weekend in which Racing Engineering debuts with two new drivers: Jordan King from the United Kindom (who debuts in GP2) and the American Alexander Rossi.

They’ve raced the first Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain with very satisfactory results for the team.

After a qualifying session in which King and Rossi get the sixth and eighth starting position respectively, on Saturday both riders enjoyed a good start. Alexander made his pitstop earlier than planned because of the appearance of the safety car on lap four, but he managed to maintain his good position when the race resumed on lap 9. From there, Rossi quickly passed his goals and become 1st by lap nineteen. Meanwhile Jordan lost two positions when he take his mandatory pitstop at the same time that his teammate. However, he got placed in second position on lap twenty. Unfortunately, in the last laps their tyres were beginning to degrade, and they had to yield the lead to Vandoorne and Haryanto, who raced with fresh soft tyres. Finally they ended in third and fourth place.

On Sunday, Jordan started from 5th place and Alexander on the 6th on the reversed grid, but soon they lost positions because of the French Berthon, who started slowly in front of them. During most of the race Rossi was involved in an intense battle for 4th position, reaching into the 3th with four laps to go. On the last lap Berthon used his DRS to pass Alexander, who ended 4th. Jordan, however, finished in 9th position. He was unable to avoid contact with the car of Canamasas and he didn’t gain any further places on the final laps despite he had closed right up on Negrao and Visoiu.

“Overall the weekend is quite positive. We leave Bahrain as second in the teams’ championship even though this was just the first round of the season. There are still several point we can work on and improve, which will be our target for Barcelona” – said Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering.

The next round will be on home ground at Barcelona the days 8,9 and 10 of May.

Photo: GP2©

The race at Yas Marina Circuit took place at 2:20 pm (local hour), with rather high temperatures (29ºC in the environment and 46ºC on the road), being the warmest of the entire weekend.

Therefore no artificial lighting was needed. Thus, most of the teams would be starting on the Pirelli P Zero White Medium compound tyres. After the race of the day before, Stefano Coletti would be starting from second on the reversed grid and Raffaelle Marciello from 11th.

Stefano started in the best way possible by beating Pic abroad to, thereby placed the lead at the first corner. This provided a time of 1.4 seconds ahead of Nasr, who followed him closely. This difference was able to maintain at least the third lap, in which Stefano also set the fastest lap with a time of 1:53.594s. Already in the seventh lap, the Racing Engineering driver managed to extend the gap to 2.4 seconds, leaving behind the Brazilian pilot.

On lap 10 Stefano scored another quick lap of 1:52.565s, leading the race with a difference of 2.9 seconds over Nasr. Finally, with four laps remaining, Stefano struggled to maintain his position to increasing distance, earning him to clinch the race in first place, crossing the finish line 3.7 seconds ahead to Nasr, who was second.

Meanwhile, Lello succeeded in making a clean start, advancing several positions until he was in eighth place, just ahead of Canamasas. Unfortunately he touched with another car and broke his front wing in the first corner, thus affecting the balance of his car throughout the race. Therefore Lello began to lose speed, so he distanced from the driver from Trident, who left him behind as he approached Vanddorne – winner of the race – 1.8 seconds away. The Spanish rider was closing in on the battle for 4th being that the difference between Lello (in 8th place) and Cecotto (in 4th place) was just four seconds.

During the first half of the race, Lello and this close battle for 4th was still ahead, getting all the drivers very similar times while going with caution not to put too much strain on their Pirellis. Lello finally began to close differences between him and Vandoorne, reducing the distance just 0.7 seconds in the lap 15. However, Lello eventually crossing the line in 8th place as Vandoorne increased its pace considerably, although the Spanish team rider set his fastest time on lap 17.

The Racing Engineering finished the season in the best possible way, with a big win by Stefano leading from start to finish. But there is almost time for celebration, as the Spanish team should begin preparing the post-season tests also take place at the Yas Marina from November the 27th to the 29th.

After achieving the third place in Saturday’s race, Lello started on Sunday from the sixth place to race a total of 21 laps, while Stefano started from the 20th place, due to an electrical problem that forced him to leave Saturday’s race, and had a lot of work ahead to reach score.

In the first turns, Lello lost several places, dropping to the ninth position, but the young Italian soon began to regain positions, beating Negrão and other pilots, reaching at the end of the first lap the sixth place. Lello began to pressure Evans and immersed himself in an intense battle for the second place, fighting with a set of cars driving separated by just two seconds.

After a penalty to Leal, Lello became fifth on lap 7, but a spin on the last corner made him drop to 10th place, and then losing two more positions ending 12th on lap 11, just half the race. The driver of Racing Engineering climbed back some places in the following laps, but on lap 14, a touch with Markelov produced a flat tire, and Lello spun into the barriers of protection that forced him to leave the race. Fortunately, without injury for Lello.

On the other hand, Stefano made a clean start, but he was forced to run wide into the first corner as several cars went off track and he finished in the 23rd place at the end of the first lap. In the fourth lap, the pilot of the Spanish team managed to achieve the twentieth place and lap by lap, he was beating several cars to get placed eighteenth in the seventh lap. Later, the young Monegasque was increasingly gaining places to Hilmer, Lancaster, Cecotto, Gasly and Markelov, ending the race in eighth place, and adding the final point after a brilliant comeback drive from the back of the field.

The final round of the 2014 GP2 Series will be in Abu Dhabi on the Yas Marina circuit in six weeks’ time.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:“This was a very eventful race for us. Stefano had a good recovery from the last row to 8th and showed a strong pace during his fight through the field. A pity Lello’s race didn’t bring the points we expected and it finished in an accident due to the puncture caused by a contact with Markelov.”

Rafaele Marciello: “This was a quite bad race for us. I started like yesterday, so not so well, losing some positions. I recovered well during the opening laps and was back in P6. Our pace was not bad, but when I spun in the last corner, I dropped back to 11th place. And when I had contact with another car, I was out of the race.”

Stefano Coletti:“It was a fun race. I had a quite good start and good first corners. Unfortunately, I was hit by another car in turn 4 and lost several places; I think some 11 or 12, when I was already up to P11. I then started to push and my car was quite quick so I went from P25 to P8. I am very happy about this race.”

Photo: Glenn

The weather was good in the Sprint Race this weekend in Monza (Italy).

Following Saturday’s Feature Race, Stefano Coletti, of the spanish Racing Engineering team, started on Sunday in 9th place, while Raffaele Marciello, who had to retire after being victim of a contact between two other cars, would have to start from 25th with a lot of work to do to get into the points.

On the first lap Stefano made a clean start and was able to pass Vandoorne, Nasr and Pic. On the following laps he was gaining more positions, mading a fantastic pass on both Evans and Negrão at the Rettifilo, and after Sorensen for the third position. He began to close in on Richelmi, who was second, and on the lap eleven managed to occupy this place. He was now 2.1 seconds behind race leader Palmer. This difference between them has been reduced. As the race entered the final laps Stefano found his tyres going off after all the hard driving he had to do in the early laps and he settled for an excellent 2nd place and fastest race lap at the finish.

Furthermore, Lello, made a fantastic first opening lap, won twelve positions. But in the 7th lap he had to go back to number 21, due to damage sustained in his car and finished the race in eighteenth place.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Great race and results from Stefano today. Starting from P9 taking the fastest lap and finishing in P2 is a good achievement. The start was good, the pace was great throughout the entire race and the overtaking manoeuvres of Stefano were clean and impressive. Pity about Lello, who had a good recovery up to P13 from 25th on the grid, but the contact with Canamasas, put an early end to his chances of finishing in the points. Overall not the weekend we were hoping for, but at least we were able to show what our cars are capable of.”

Rafaele Marciello: “I had an OK start, but a good opening lap passing 12 cars as I was up to 13th. After the restart I put too much heat in my tyres, so slowed down a bit the following laps, but then I was quickly back on pace closing the gap on the cars in front of me battling for the points. When I was on the inside of Lesmo 1 Canamasas crashed into me all of the sudden, as a consequence I had a punctured tyre and but when back on track after a tyre change I felt that something more on my car must have been broken.”

Stefano Coletti: “I pushed really, really hard all race long to catch up, but when I saw towards the end that I wasn’t catching up enough per lap, I settled for second. It was an amazing race, my car was very, very quick, especially under braking and that’s why I out-braked everyone into the first turn. The team did a really good job, they gave me a really good car today, so thank to them, and I hope this won’t be my last podium this season.”

Photo: Zak Mauger

The changing weather has been the protagonist of this weekend full of contrasts for Racing Engineering in the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, in Belgium.

After the brilliant victory on Saturday Raffaele Marciello, and Stefano Coletti forced to retire after a spin, last Sunday’s race began with Lello starting at the eighth place and Stefano from the bottom of the group, in the position 24.

At the start of the race on Sunday, Lello lost one position and half of the first lap, a spin forced him to retreat to the back of the grid, but ended up in the 14th place. Meanwhile, Stefano made a sensational career in the first round, he jumped from 24 to 14 and was immediately gaining more positions on the next lap, an incredible comeback that allowed him to finish the race in seventh place, 3.3 seconds from Vandoorne.

The next round of the 2014 GP2 Series will take plece in two weeks in Monza and both Lello and Stefano will be back in the hunt for more race wins.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Great recovery today from Stefano from 24th on the grid to 7th. The racing line was dry, but some parts of the circuit were still damp, which made it more complicated to overtake. But Stefano did a good job and showed the strong pace of our car throughout the race. Lello was fighting hard on the opening lap to be in a top spot, but after overtaking several cars right on Kemmel straight he arrived at corner 5 on the inside of Markelov, who didn’t leave him enough space to get by. Lello touched the wet curb and spun, which made him drop to the end of the field. He fought hard to make his way up to P14 again setting very fast lap times. Overall it is still disappointing to not have both cars scoring at the same time due to incidents on track. Pace in qualifying and races was good this weekend and we will again work hard to prepare the next event and hope to have a good points haul from both drivers.”

Rafaele Marciello: “Today’s race was a bit disappointing. I didn’t have a very good start, but was very fast through Eau Rouge passing two or three cars on the straight after that. But when I arrived at Les Combes, I was on the inside of Markelov, who closed the door on my bit too much and I spun. After that I had a good recovery from last position to P14. We were able to do better today, but it’s difficult to control it when others are slower.”

Stefano Coletti: “I didn’t have a really good start, but a very good first lap. I was immediately on the pace and the car was good so I was able to brake later than the others and pass them immediately and then I got into a nice rhythm. As I said my car was perfect to drive today and the team did a great job. I was really fast and able to make up positions and finish the race in 7th.”

Photo: Sam Bloxham

Complicated weekend for the Racing Engineering team due to the penalties applied to both drivers that had to start the race at positions 18 and 19 respectively for Stefano and Lello.

Lello didn’t disappoint and, as always, did a great start placing himself thirteenth in the first round. The young Italian came forward seeking positions and didn’t hesitate on lap eleven to catch the car of Russian Time to stand eleventh. When only two laps to go remained to finish the race, Lello managed to overtake Sorensen and achieve the tenth place, and on the last lap he passed Dilman to finish the race in ninth place.

As Stefano, he had a good start that helped him beat De Jong and Izawa in the first round, and in the second lap he managed to overtake Cecotte despite the difficulties this pilot put to Stefano for pass him. But the problem was coming for the Monegasquean after overtaking Negrâo when his move was sanctioned as a “drive through”, what it sent directly to the place twenty and let him with no option to add points.

Despite his problems, Stefano didn’t give up and on lap 19 he set his fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:33.149s, while he was quickly closing the gap to Sato and Trummer who were about four seconds ahead of him. However, on lap 24 Stefano headed to the pits to retire from the race, worried that the damage to the car due to the initial touch with Cecotto, had just done dangerous to continue in competition.

All in all, it was a disappointing weekend for the whole team Racing Engineering and leave Hungary without getting any points.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:

“A strong race today from Raffaele today finishing in P9 after starting from P19, it was a very good recovery. Fighting through the field didn’t show our real potential today, but Lello has done some nice overtaking manoeuvres, but this weekend he paid the price of yesterday’s mistakes. Stefano had a tough race in the field. ”

Rafaele Marciello:

“I had an OK start today, but was able to overtake some 5 cars. My opening laps were also good as I was able to overtake some more and I was in P12. It was difficult to overtake today, but I managed to get by Evans and Sorensen to finish the race in P9. Overall it was a bad weekend but we will be back in Spa.”

Stefano Coletti:

“It was clear that starting from P18 wouldn’t be an easy job today, especially here in Hungary where it is so difficult to overtake. I tried my best, but I had damage on the car from early contact with Cecotto and could not make it to the finish line.”

Photo: Alastair Staley

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

Racing Engineering has undergone some ups and downs this weekend at Silverstone.

Stefano Coletti and Julian Leal suffered an accident which ended up penalizing the Carlin driver reversing positions and finally making Stefano out from fifth on the grid. As for Raffaele Marcielo after withdrawal the day before, had to start the race from the 26 position.

At the start of the race, Stefano made a spectacular start overtaking several cars and placing second at the first curve and went to 1.2 seconds behind the leader, Nasr in the first round. After some power loss problems mid-race, and concentrating his best to maintain the second position, Stefano managed to cross the finish line in second place.

Lello, despite all its drawbacks, and departing from the last position on the grid to overtake 6 cars at the start of the race, he had a very bad luck in the first curve and the touch of another car broke his back suspension forcing him to leave.

This weekend we saw the two sides of the coin for both pilots, the sum of points from Stefano and the Lello’s misfortune that he had two retirements none of them his fault.

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: “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.”

Rafaele 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.”

Photo: Alastair Staley

After a good race last Saturday, when the drivers achieved 3rd and 4th positions, Coletti and Marciello started Sunday’s race in 5th and 6th places.

Both drivers gave the best of themselves in the first part of the race and they achieved 2nd and 3rd place, battling each other for the best position.

Afterwards, they both loosened the pace to preserve their tyres for later in the race.

The last few laps were very intense with Mitch Evans closing right in on Lello and twice the Russian Time driver got ahead but each time Marciello kept his head and immediately repassed the New Zealander to take his second podium of the weekend.

The next round of the 2014 GP2 Series will be in Silverstone in two weeks.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “A very strong result from both cars today. Lello had a very good start and pushed hard during the entire race. As he didn’t start on new tyres, he suffered a bit during the closing laps, and had to give up his second place in favour of his team mate. He defended very well from Evans during this stage of the race and celebrated an excellent second podium this weekend. Stefano had a more reasonable pace during the first part of the race, but came back very strongly on the leader during the second half. He finished second, stuck to the car of Cecotto in front of him. Overall this has been a very positive weekend and we were finally able to translate our performance into results. A big thank you to our boys, who have done a great job by putting two fast and reliable cars on this new track. We will work hard to keep the momentum and get very strong results during the next events.”

Rafaele Marciello: “Overall this was a good weekend. I had a really, really good start. I was on used tyres and pushed hard at the beginning of the race, so I think I should have saved them a bit more, but I pushed for the win. When I was in third, I defended my position to Evans well as my tyres were pretty much gone during the closing laps. But overall finishing both races of the weekend on the podium is very good for me and the team.”

Stefano Coletti: “I had a good start moving from 5th to 4th. I then passed Lello, but he was much quicker than me at the beginning of the race. My tyres took a longer time to get up to working temperature, but when they were ready, I started to push and passed Rossi on the outside of turn 3. I also passed Lello, who struggled with his tyres, so he let me go through. I then tried to catch Cecotto, but the gap was too big and I would have needed one or two laps more. But I am very happy with P2 and the fastest lap time in the race.”

Photo: Alastair Staley

After a beginning of race from the 16th and 25th position (Coletti and Marciello respectively), the Racing Engineering drivers did their best to get points in the second race of GP disputed in Barcelona.

As the lights went off, Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello began to gain positions, but a compact group of cars and tire wear forced a more conservative strategy. The aim, therefore, was focused on maintaining the pneumatic and taking points, a fact that got Coletti to finish in eighth place. Raffaele Marciello finished in 16th place.

The next round of the 2014 GP2 Series will be at Monaco in two weeks’ time and the Racing Engineering Team will be looking to translate their race and qualifying pace into some positive results.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “Finishing in the points when starting from 16th was our target today with Stefano. But overall this race could have been better as we suffered from the front left tyre like most of the field. Starting from last row was a difficult exercise for Lello and he went up to 16th position, which adds to his experience. Overall the weekend was disappointing in terms of results, but positive regarding qualifying performance and race pace in yesterday’s feature race.”

Rafaele Marciello: “The start was good today, so I am happy about that and this means we have a good base for Monaco. The first 5-6 laps were good and then I started to save my tyres. Later on I started to get problems with my tyres, so I lost two positions. It’s bad I couldn’t take any points this weekend, but I am happy the start went well.”

Stefano Coletti: “I had a good opening lap when I was able to finish in 9th. Everyone knows that it’s difficult to overtake in Barcelona, so my intention was to save the tyres and create a bit of a gap to the car in front, at the same time I had Ellinas very close behind me. In the end I was able to overtake one more car to go on to finish in 8th and take a point.”

Photo: Racing Engineering