Following their problems in yesterday’s Feature Race both of the Racing Engineering drivers were starting from down the grid for the 26 lap Sprint Race with Julián Leal in 13th and Fabio Leimer in 18th.
Once again the weather was good at the Circuit de Catalunya with the morning start meaning a lower track temperature of 25°.
Fabio made a fantastic start as the lights went off and as the cars exited the first corner the Racing Engineering car was already up to 13th, and he gained another place at Turn 4 when he passed Evans for 12th. Fabio was now on the gearbox of Canamasas and looking for a place to pass and move closer to a points scoring finish. By lap 5 Fabio was just 0.7s behind the Caterham car and he was pulling away from Evans as both men were involved in an intense battle with the cars from 8th to 12th separated by just two seconds.
By the halfway point of the race, lap 13, Fabio was still trailing Canamasas with the two cars very evenly matched on lap times and, with overtaking being very difficult on the Barcelona track, all Fabio could do was to continue to apply pressure and try and force the Caterham driver into a mistake.
As the race entered the closing laps Fabio found that constantly running just behind another car was affecting his tyres and he slowly fell away from Canamasas. With just 4 laps remaining the battle for the minor places became very fraught as the cars got in each other’s way and the gap from 5th to Fabio in 12th was just over three seconds and with one lap to go contact between Haryanto and Canamasas caused several cars to leave the track promoting Fabio to 9th, just one place away from the points.
Julián made a reasonable start and at the end of lap 1 he was lying 15th and battling hard with Ericsson and for the next few laps Julián drove very well to keep the Swedish driver behind him. The Racing Engineering driver now began to close on Richelmi and on lap 9 he passed the DAMS car to move up to 14th, the next target for the young Columbian was the Arden car of Evans and over the next few laps he quickly narrowed the gap.
By lap 18 the gap was down to 0.5s and Julián was only just over three seconds behind his teammate in 12th position. As the cars ahead closed up Julián was looking to gain some more positions but with one lap contact with another car forced him off the track and into retirement.
In terms of results it was a very disappointing weekend for Racing Engineering although both Fabio and Julián once again found themselves the innocent victims of other driver’s incidents which badly affected their results in the Feature Race. Racing Engineering will now return to their Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for Monaco in two weeks’ time.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:
"A disappointing weekend as we didn't score any points though we expected to continue to fight for the top spot after qualifying. Race 2 has been a big "show" and challenge with a different type of tyre degradation from usual. Starting from the back and fighting through the field has not been an easy task for either of our drivers. They worked hard but finished just outside the points. There is a lot of data to analyse from this weekend and we will now focus on the upcoming event in Monaco."
"I had a very, very good start today. I gained several positions during the first two laps as I was able to avoid contact with others. In the beginning things looked quite good. But today the tyre degradation was a big challenge for everyone and I additionally had the impression that something was not working well on my car. It's a pity I finished just outside the points."
"I had regular start and actually lost two positions through the dirty corners. During the entire race I was controlling my pace to manage the tyres, which worked out quite well. I was pushing to overtake Richelmi and after that I was stuck behind Evans trying to catch the group in front. During the last 3 laps it was quite chaotic and I was able to win some positions. But on the last lap in corner 10 I was squashed between two cars and crashed into the wall."