Racing Engineering’s drivers Gustav Malja and Nyck De Vries finish 6th and 7th today at Spa

Racing Engineering’s drivers Gustav Malja and Nyck De Vries finish 6th and 7th today at Spa

26.08.2017: Yesterday’s Qualifying at the Spa Francorchamps circuit took place in the wet but, despite the difficult conditions, both of

Yesterday’s Qualifying at the Spa Francorchamps circuit took place in the wet but, despite the difficult conditions, both of the Racing Engineering drivers were very competitive with Gustav Malja finishing fourth and Nyck De Vries in sixth.



Fortunately, the weather for today’s 25 lap Feature Race was dry with air and track temperatures of 25° and 35° respectively. Both of the Racing Engineering cars were starting on the compound tyres and changing to the P Zero White medium compound version at the mandatory pitstop.



As the cars lined up on the grid second placed man Latifi was unable to leave the pits promoting Gustav and Nyck to 3rd and 5th respectively and as the lights went off both men made clean starts holding onto their positions but as the first lap developed both men lost several places in the opening lap traffic jam, Gustav falling to 6th with Nyck right behind him in 8th



A brief Virtual Safety Car period saw the cars close up and on the restart Nyck passed Albon to move up to 7th and the two teammates were running together as they closed in on Markelov in 5th. By lap four Gustav was 0.7 seconds behind Markelov with Nyck 1.4 seconds further back, 1.5 seconds ahead of Merhi.



On lap seven Gustav pitted to switch to the medium compound tyres. resuming in 12th position and two laps later Nyck followed him from 5th dropping to 10th, as once again he was right behind his teammate Gustav. All the drivers who started on the soft tyres were now pitting and on lap thirteen, just past the half-way point of the race, Gustav and Nyck were in 8th and 9th with five cars ahead of them still to pit.



On lap fifteen, as all the cars had completed their pitstops, Gustav was in 4th with Nyck in 5th but they were being chased by Markelov and Fuoco and on lap seventeen the Russian used the combination of fresh tyres and DRS to move ahead of Nyck and further round the lap he also passed Gustav.



 Almost immediately Fuoco, also with the advantage of new tyres and DRS, got ahead of Nyck and then Gustav leaving the two Racing Engineering drivers in 6th and 7th. Lap twenty saw both men with a lead of six seconds over Sette Camara with five laps remaining and in the last three laps Nyck began to close in on Gustav but Gustav was able to hold onto his position.



This has been a very good day for Racing Engineering in what has been a generally disappointing season so far with both their drivers in the top seven. Tomorrow’s Sprint Race will see Nyck starting second and Gustav third on the reversed grid and both men will have an excellent chance of standing on the podium.

  


Sebastien Viger - Technical Director:



"A bit of a strange feeling after today’s race. With the starting positions we had, we expected a bit more, but it’s still good to be back fighting at the front. The opening lap was not fantastic and we lost some positions there with both cars.




 From there on our pace was reasonable, but we missed a bit of the ultimate lap time to be better and were most probably a bit too conservative in regards to strategy as the opposite one seems to have worked better. All in all, we scored a good amount of points, which was much needed, but we were definitely aiming for more and will work hard tonight to finish on the podium tomorrow.”
 



Nyck De Vries:


"I didn't have a very good start, which lost me a bit of momentum on lap 1. At Les Combes I came together with Gustav in the heat of the opening lap and we both lost out a little bit there. Then we had a decent pace, but not enough to attack and come back.



 We made the most out of our package today. I start in 2nd tomorrow, so we will work hard on improving to fight for the win.”
 



Gustav Malja:


"Overall finishing in 6th is good and I am happy with this, even though I am not fully satisfied with the results. I think we maximised our pace today and finished in 6th position.



This is obviously a decent performance, but it leaves space to improve for tomorrow. I would like to thank the team for the hard work and their good job.”

 

- Ines Koschutnig -  photos FIA F2

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26.08.2017 / MaP

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