Aug 25

Calado hangs on for GP2 sprint win (updated)

Briton holds off Leal for first win of 2013

GP2 - James Calado (ART Grand Prix)James Calado claimed his first win of the season from pole position in this morning’s sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps, but he didn’t have it all his own way: the Englishman built up an early lead before Julian Leal came back at his rival, pushing him all the way to the flag with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs right behind the pair.

Calado made a decent start when the lights went out, taking advantage as his fellow front row starter Stéphane Richelmi bogging down on a damp patch of track to lead the field into La Source, with Leal also squeezing by the Monegasque driver. Quaife-Hobbs made a great start from P8 to blast by Fabio Leimer on the Kemmel straight, while Series leader Stefano Coletti made an even better start from P13 on the option tyres to steal fifth place from Leimer at the Bus Stop.

Calado was soon setting a string of fastest laps as he built a big lead over the Colombian, while everyone was looking to see what their tyres could do. If Coletti was gambling on rain to make his strategy come off, it was a losing hand: Leimer pushed inside and through at La Source on lap 9, with the rest of the train soon blowing by as the Monegasque driver was left rueing another weekend of bad luck.

He wasn’t alone as Leal, who had clearly been protecting his tyres, soon started taking chunks out of Calado’s lead each time through, with Quaife-Hobbs also closing in. The leader was doing everything he could to take his first victory at the famous circuit, but the Colombian was all over his rear wing and looking for more.

Calado was forced to watch his mirrors for the final few tours, but was inch perfect in his lines: Leal just couldn’t find a way by and had to make do with second for his first ever GP2 podium, just 0.4 off Calado as the flag dropped, while Quaife-Hobbs followed them through in third. Richelmi spent most of the race on his own for fourth, with Leimer losing too much time behind Coletti to close up. Jolyon Palmer endured another torrid race after being hit by Dani Clos but held on for P6 ahead of Johnny Cecotto, while Tom Dillmann had huge pressure from Felipe Nasr on the last lap and was forced into an error at the Bus Stop before cutting across for the final point.

Despite another bitter weekend, Coletti holds onto his lead in the drivers’ championship from Nasr by 135 points to 129, with Leimer closing in to 128 ahead of Bird on 121, Calado on 111 and Ericsson on 82 points, while Carlin leads the teams’ championship on 197 points from RUSSIAN TIME on 185, Racing Engineering on 170, with Rapax and DAMS both on 153 points ahead of the next round at Monza in two week’s time.


Spa-Francorchamps – Sprint Race
James Calado
ART Grand Prix
Julian Leal
Racing Engineering
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Hilmer Motorsport
Stéphane Richelmi
Fabio Leimer
Racing Engineering
Jolyon Palmer
Johnny Cecotto
Arden International
Tom Dillmann
Felipe Nasr
Mitch Evans
Arden International
Simon Trummer
Sergio Canamasas
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Nathanaël Berthon
Trident Racing
Sam Bird
Marcus Ericsson
Daniel Abt
ART Grand Prix
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Vittorio Ghirelli
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Dani Clos
MP Motorsport
Rene Binder
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Jake Rosenzweig
Barwa Addax Team
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Stefano Coletti
Ricardo Teixeira
Trident Racing
Rio Haryanto
Barwa Addax Team
Not Classified
Robin Frijns
Hilmer Motorsport
Fastest Lap: Alexander Rossi (EQ8 Caterham Racing) – 1:59.880 on lap 15

source: GP2 Series


DAMS keeps up the momentum!

The 2013 season got off to a sluggish start for DAMS. After the weekend in the Belgian Ardennes thanks to Marcus Ericsson’s second place on Saturday and Stéphane Richelmi’s fourth on Sunday, the French squad has fought its way up to fourth place in the teams’ classification on level pegging with Rapax. In the last four rounds it has scored the most points (134) of all the teams in the championship and with three rounds still to run it has its sights on a finish in the top 3!

After encouraging free practice sessions – Stéphane and Marcus seventh and eighth-quickest times – DAMS continued the good work in qualifying with the Swedish driver clinching fourth place on the grid and his team-mate from Monaco the eighth. In the feature race on Saturday Bird was uncatchable. Ericsson made the best of a great start and a good tyre change to get up into second place where he stayed till the finish. Richelmi gained a position and after a solid race saw the flag in seventh spot.

The driver from Monaco was second on the grid for the second heat, but he was unable to fend off the first three as they had new tyres, which he didn’t, thus his fourth place is all the more praiseworthy. Ericsson fought the same battle as he too started on used rubber and fell back to fifteenth. Despite this the Belgian weekend was very positive overall before the Monza round in two weeks.

François Sicard, Managing Director: “We’re continuing our fight back in the teams’ championship and the two drivers are also moving up the classifications in theirs. Overall it was a very satisfying weekend once again, and I’d like to congratulate the whole team. Marcus drove a superb race on Saturday and Stéphane never put a foot wrong throughout the weekend. We’re on a roll and we can upset the applecart between now and the end of the championship by making it into the top three and giving the leaders something to worry about. That’s the aim!”

Marcus Ericsson: “I’m very happy with another top three finish which is a reward for the all team’s efforts. On Saturday, there was no way I could catch Bird, but again we scored a big haul of points. It’s great for the team and for myself as I’m aiming to break into the top five between now and the end of the season. We’re going to fight to achieve this.”

Stéphane Richelmi: “I’ve come away from this weekend with a lot of positives even if I wasn’t able to finish in the top three on Sunday when starting from second. We’ve still got the pace – in passing my thanks to the team who did a great job – and little by little I’m scoring points and helping the team back to the top. We’ll have to continue in the same vein in the final rounds.”

Next race: Monza, Italy, 7-8 September

source: dams.fr

ART Grand Prix

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source: art-grandprix.com


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source: arden-motorsport.com

Racing Eng.

Brilliant second place for Julián Leal and Racing Engineering in the Sprint Race today at Spa Francorchamps.

The weather was cool for the 18 lap Sprint Race with a track and air temperatures of 19° and 16° respectively, the circuit was damp in several places and there were heavy grey clouds overhead but all the cars were starting on slicks with most cars opting for using a worn set of the hard compound Pirelli tyres as the softer option would be unlikely to last for the entire race.

Fabio Leimer made a good start from 5th to gain a place into La Source but during the course of the opening lap he lost places to Quaife-Hobbs and Coletti, who was on the soft compound Pirellis, to cross the line 0.2 seconds behind Coletti and 1.0 seconds ahead of Dillmann. Although Fabio was losing ground to Coletti by lap 3 he was able to keep the gap to Dillmann at just over one second and three laps later saw the Racing Engineering car still in 6th position, 1.4 seconds behind Coletti and lapping faster than the Rapax car and 1.8 seconds ahead of Dillmann.

By lap 9 Fabio had closed right in on Coletti and he out-braked the Monegasque driver on the inside into Eau Rouge to take 5th place and he quickly opened out a gap. On lap 11 Fabio set his fastest lap of the race so far to show how well he had conserved his tyres and he was now 7.4 seconds behind Richelmi and 4.0 seconds ahead of Dillmann. With just a few laps remaining Fabio concentrated on holding onto his position and with none of his rivals in a points scoring position it was important for the young Swiss to finish the race without incident.

Julián Leal made an excellent start from 3rd on the grid to pass Richelmi into Eau Rouge and by the end of the opening lap the Racing Engineering car was 2.6 seconds behind Calado and 1.1 seconds ahead of Richelmi. Over the next five laps Julián kept the gap to Calado at about 2.5 seconds and he was pulling away from Quaife-Hobbs who was now 3rd. The young Colombian now began to close the gap to Calado and on lap 8 he had moved to within two seconds of the ART car but Quaife Hobbs was now just 1.7 seconds behind.

Julián continued to close on the leader and by lap 10 the gap was now down to 1.3 seconds and he had opened out the gap to Quaife-Hobbs to 2.6 seconds. He continued to lap faster than Calado and with six laps to go the Racing Engineering car was now just 0.9 seconds behind. Julián continued to apply pressure and with four laps to go he was right on the gearbox of the British driver but Quaife-Hobbs was catching the battling leaders.

With just two laps to go Julián was still pushing hard and looking for a place to pass Calado while Quaife-Hobbs had dropped away a little as his rear tyres were starting to wear but although the Racing Engineering driver was able to close within 0.4 seconds he had to settle for a superb second position at the flag.

An excellent race weekend for Racing Engineering with both drivers scoring points in both races and Julián Leal finishing on the podium for the first time in his GP2 career. In the Drivers’ Championship Fabio is still 3rd but now just one point behind Nasr and seven points behind the leader, Coletti and Racing Engineering are up to 3rd in the Team Championship. The Spanish team now return to their Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for the next round of the 2013 GP2 series at Monza in two weeks’ time. 


Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:

“A very good result today for Julian Leal today with a well-deserved second place. He drove well from start to finish showing a strong and stable pace finishing only 4 tenths of a second behind Calado. Fabio scored again, which was the target, even if we were hoping for better results. Considering the potential of his tyres, it was hard for him to do more today. Fabio was able to close in on Nasr and Coletti in the championship battle, but it’s all really tight now. Overall the team and car performance was strong in qualifying and both races and we will work hard to continue like this in the next events.”

Fabio Leimer:

“The start was not great, but OK. I already started yesterday’s race with this set of tyres, so they were already under quite some stress yesterday, but they were fine. I took P4, but on the straight Quaife-Hobbs was much faster and passed me. When I was in 5th, I saw that the cars in front on new tyres were too quick for me, so I took off some speed in order to make it to the end with this set of tyres. In the end, I am satisfied with P5 and also as I made up points again in the championship. Now it’s a really close battle for the title and I think the last three events will be very interesting.”

Julián Leal:

“Before anything I would like to thank my team for the good work this weekend. I started from 3rd position in race 2 and a good start was crucial. I managed to have a good one and was in second place after the first corner. After that I had a really good pace during the entire race and towards the end I was closing in on Calado. But when I pushed to reduce the gap, my tyres were suffering more and I was therefore controlling the pace during the closing laps to not risk second position. I am very happy with the result achieved. We worked hard to get here and the objective is to become better in qualifying to achieve even better results.”

source: racing-engineering.com


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source: carlin.co.uk

Russian Time logo

Russian Time

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Caterham Racing logo

Caterham Racing

Car #14 Sergio Canamasas – P12
Car #15 Alexander Rossi – P22 (Fastest Lap)

Race distance: 125.948km
Race length: 18 laps / 45 mins
Circuit Length: 7.004 km

Tyre use:
Alexander: P Zero Hard (used) – pit to – P Zero Soft
Sergio: P Zero Hard

Weather: Air temp 16˚C / track temp 17˚C – Dry

The rain stayed away for the GP2 Sprint Race in Spa, making life difficult for Alexander and the other front runners who had gambled on Saturday, using both sets of prime tyres.

From the outset it was clear that Alexander could not defend his starting position against the cars on new primes, he dropped down the order to 22nd and with six laps to go pitted for the option tyre.

With the car performing well after the pit stop Alexander recorded the fastest lap, some consolation for a tough sprint race.

After his non-finish yesterday Sergio was able to use a new set of prime tyres and progress cleanly from 23rd on the grid to take the chequered flag in a very respectable 12th.

Alexander Rossi “We adopted a strategy yesterday which matched that of the leaders, using both prime tyres which meant that if we didn’t have rain today it was going to be very difficult – which it certainly was.

“I was expecting it to be tough but the fact that I was losing rear grip from lap one in an 18 lap race meant I couldn’t defend and fight. After switching to the soft tyre the car was good and I managed to get fastest lap but by then there was nothing I could do about my position.

“We need to appreciate that we maximised our opportunity yesterday with our podium finish and we knew that it was going to be a bit of a sacrifice today without new prime tyres if it didn’t rain.

“I am now looking forward to Monza and more good results.”

Sergio Canamasas “I am happy that I can end the weekend with a clean race, having made many overtaking manoeuvres and go home on a positive note.

“The car felt really good all the way through the race and it has not been speed that we have lacked this weekend, we’ve just had bad luck.

“The only shame is that I did not score points today as I had good pace but I am looking forward to Monza as it is a quick track that I love and I will take this positive energy with me.”

source: caterham-racing.com


Alexander Rossi back on GP2 Podium in Spa

A solid weekend at the Belgium round of the GP2 Series, as Alexander Rossi returns to the podium after the summer break.

Qualifying in 5th position ahead of the Feature Race, Alexander drove superbly to bring home the team’s second trophy of the year. Alexander fought his way through the field to bring home the car in 3rd place, equalling his best result of the season so far.

Despite the good result on Saturday, Sunday’s Sprint Race proved more difficult starting race 2 on used tyres that degraded very quickly. Alexander pitted for tires with 6 laps remaining, thus managing the fastest race lap at 1:59.880.

Alexander Rossi: “It’s good to be back on the podium and to score fifteen points for the team. I’m confident we can build on this for final three rounds of championship.

“It was a little hectic at the start of the race as the first corner was wet but I made up one place and settled into a rhythm.

“When the safety car came out it gave me a chance to reflect on the first couple of laps and understand the reference points of drying conditions.

“I was being held up behind Calado in the opening stint, the team did a great job with helping me manage the pace and tyre strategy. Equally the pit stop was really good, allowing me to jump Leimer for 3rd.

“It is great that we have carried over the speed from qualifying to the race and I feel that we have turned a corner and gained some valuable momentum.

“We adopted a strategy for the Feature Race which matched that of the leaders, using both prime tyres which meant that if we didn’t have rain for the Sprint Race it was going to be very difficult – which it certainly was.

“I was expecting it to be tough but the fact that I was losing rear grip from lap one in an 18 lap race meant I couldn’t defend and fight. After switching to the soft tyre the car was good and I managed to get fastest lap but by then there was nothing I could do about my position.

“We need to appreciate that we maximised our opportunity on Saturday with our podium finish and we knew that it was going to be a bit of a sacrifice today without new prime tyres if it didn’t rain.

“I am now looking forward to Monza and more good results.”

source: teamrossimotorsports.com


Barwa Addax

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source: addaxteam.com

Rapax Team


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source: rapaxteam.com

Trident Racing
Trident Racing

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source: tridentracing.it

Hilmer Motorsport logo
Hilmer Motorsport

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Venezuela GP Lazarus
Venezuela GP Lazarus


A weekend of hard work and learning for the two young driver of Venezuela GP Lazarus in SPA. As usual, the weekend format of the GP2 Series has only a free practice session of half an hour: in the very short time available Binder and Ghirelli did their best to understand the new tyres that Pirelli has led to SPA.

As a result of the lack of experience, the team expected a difficult qualifying session and so it was, with Binder and Ghirelli very close to each other: the Austrian stops the clock on 1’58’’803, while the Italian on 1’58’’831 (respectively P22 and P23 on the grid).

In race 1 unfortunately Binder stalled on the grid and was forced to retire, while Ghirelli finished the race in P18, improving particularly in the final laps, demonstrating that the experience on this track is very important.

Binder, who did not participate in race 1, pay the lack of experience with the new tyre in race 2: nevertheless, the young Austrian talent showcases an interesting progression that leads him from last position to P20. Ghirelli, after very a start in slow, showed a good race pace and at the chequered flag was once again in P18.

Rene Binder, #24

“Spa is my favourite track, where I have won my most important race in Formula 3 but this time it was just a disaster. I am not searching for excuses but, of course, it didn’t help us that we had to deal with new tyres as a result of a last minute decision. We have to accept that as it was the same for everybody but considering a very short free practice session it was definitely an advantage for those teams, who got their feedback from two experienced drivers. We just have to find out what went wrong and focus on our preparations for the upcoming rounds in Monza.”

Vittorio Ghirelli, #25

“In the first of the two races we have adopted a conservative strategy at the beginning, improving lap after lap and gaining experience in such difficult circuit. Unfortunately, I compromised race 2 with a very slow start, but the race pace was quite good and I was able to make a good comeback. This shows the great potential we have and now I’m sure that I can be at the top next time I’ll be back on this track with this car.”

Race 1

  • 18° – Vittorio Ghirelli – 57″982
  • Ret. – Rene Binder

Race 2

  • 18° – Vittorio Ghirelli – 53″466
  • 20° – Rene Binder – 59″796

source: teamlazarus.it

MP Motorsport logo
MP Motorsport

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GP2 and GP3 review: Spa-Francorchamps 23-25 August 2013

The battle for the GP2 and GP3 crowns heated up in Spa over the weekend as once again the Pirelli-supported feeder series’ provided spectacular race action from start to finish. In GP2, it was a double victory for British drivers, with Sam Bird (Russian Time) and James Calado (ART) taking one race victory apiece.

For one of the most demanding races of the year, the GP2 crews used the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero Yellow soft compounds while the GP3 crews used the hard compound only. Tyre blistering can be a problem on ultra quick circuits such as Spa, where drivers are on the throttle for approximately 80% of the lap, but the P Zero rubber coped extremely well with the high demands of the notorious Belgian circuit, despite varied conditions over the course of the weekend.

A slightly modified version of Pirelli P Zero tyre was introduced for Spa, to best suit the particular characteristics of the track without changing the balance or performance, and help teams set up their cars in just 30 minutes. The new tyre coped perfectly with the high-energy demands of the seven-kilometre circuit all weekend.

Saturday’s GP2 feature race was dominated by Bird. Starting from pole, Bird had an early advantage and despite Calado making a faster getaway, Bird was able to snatch the lead at La Source. A brief spell behind the safety car shortly followed when Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) crashed at Eau Rouge but it was soon all eyes on an enthralling battle for second place. Marcus Ericsson (DAMS) eventually went on to take the runner-up spot, seven seconds behind race winner Bird. Caterham’s Alexander Rossi came home in third.

Next to take on the formidable Belgian circuit were the GP3 crews, which similar to the previous GP2 race was held in dry conditions. This time it was MW Arden’s Daniil Kyvat’s turn to shine as the Russian claimed his first ever GP3 victory after leading the grid from the off. Taking full advantage of the grip from Pirelli’s hard compound tyres, Kyvat held off mounting pressure from American Conor Daly throughout the 13 race lap and his debut victory has put him into winning contention of this year’s title. Daly finishing the race second, while Facu Regalia secured the third podium spot.

Calado won his first race of the season in Sunday’s GP2 sprint race. Starting from pole, Calado netted a string of fastest lap times and showed perfect tyre management from start to finish. It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as the Briton was chased by Julian Leal (Racing Engineering) later in the race who had initially protected his tyres in a strategy that could have paid off had the rain started to fall. Leal went on to finish second and third place was awarded to Hilmer Motorsport’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. Rapax driver Stefano Coletti used the soft tyre, which enabled him to make progress at the start of the race and move up to fifth from 13th before he slipped back.

Calado summed his race victory afterwards: “The start was a bit iffy because there was water where the pole position was. So I let go off the clutch and didn’t go anywhere. I then backed up the throttle and it eventually gripped but I think I had the advantage of the new tyres. The first two laps were phenomenal. We made the advantage of the new tyres and that’s what made the race.”

As is the case for GP2, the grid for Sunday’s sprint race in GP3 consisted of the top eight feature race finishers reversed. Starting in fourth place, Carlin’s Alexander Sims made a perfect start on a damp track and blasted through Turn 1 to take the race lead. Second and third place in the GP3 sprint race mirrored Saturday’s results with Daly and Regalia finishing on the podium once again.

Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola commented: “Spa never fails to provide memorable race action and I’m thrilled that we had Alexander Sims and Daniil Kyvat taking their first wins of the year on such a difficult circuit. There’s no denying that Spa is one of the most physically demanding circuits in the world and it also puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the tyres. In GP2, we saw a number of race strategies and Calado said that he used the tyres to his advantage of Sunday’s sprint race – which I have no doubt helped him win the race. With only two rounds remaining this season now, both championships are shaping up for a thrilling season-finale as it’s still all to play for in GP2 and GP3.”

The fight for the GP2 and GP3 crowns will continue in Italy in two weeks time as the crews travel to Monza (6-8 September).

source: pirelli.com