Racing Engineering: Paul Ricard Day 1 Report

Fat Burner Racing Engineering completed the first day of the GP2 group test a Paul Ricard with only minor hiccups.

In the first day of the scheduled three day test the Spanish ran F3 Euroseries runner up Christian Vietoris and International Formula Master champion Fabio Leimer, as the team looked to prepare themselves for the 2010 season, as well as assessing the drivers who they could be entering.

The morning session saw both drivers learning the team, track and (to a lesser extent, with both having made their GP2 debuts in Abu Dhabi) the car. However, both were immediately on the pace, with German Vietoris setting the third fastest time (1:13.099) and Leimer sixth (1.13.266) as the 23 drivers to set a time all chased DPR driver Michael Herck (1:12:976).

The afternoon session saw Leimer improve as the team continued their test program as the Swiss completed 31 laps and recorded the second fastest time (1:12.619), though was over three tenths adrift of Herck who again topped the timesheets.

Vietoris on the other hand was limited to only eight laps as the Renault engine in his car developed a problem, restricting running and seeing his fastest lap only good enough for the 16th.

“It was a very good day,” said Liemer. “In the afternoon we worked a bit on the car to make it even better, while in the morning I still had to get used to the track. I was not expecting to be in second position today as I didn’t feel such a big difference between new and used tyres, but I think this had to do with the track conditions.”

The team principal, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon, was clearly unhappy about the fault on Vietoris' car. “When evaluating drivers, it makes it quite difficult to judge them if they cannot run.” He said. “I am sure, based on his performance during the rest of the day, we would have seen him among the best of the day. As for Fabio, very good job; just what we expected from him. At the end of the day, I have to say that they are both very talented drivers, which doesn’t make the decision an easy one.”

The team will now work to find and hopefully cure the engine problem in time for the second day of testing when Roldan Rodriguez and Charles Pic will join the team.