Former champions Racing Engineering have confirmed that Dani Clos and Christian Vietoris will pair up to compete for the team in the 2010 GP2 Series, as the squad bids to return to glory after missing out on the silverware last year.
Having clinched the drivers' trophy with ex-F1 ace Giorgio Pantano in 2008, Racing Engineering headed into 2009 with high hopes of a repetition, but eternal bridesmaid Lucas Di Grassi – now a grand prix graduate himself with 2010 newcomer Virgin Racing – wound up third, and with team-mate Clos on a learning year and troubling the scorers only in the final race with third place at Portimão in Portugal, the Spanish operation ultimately concluded the campaign a distant fourth in the teams' standings.
Nonetheless, Clos has remained on-board for a sophomore season with the Sanlúcar de Barrameda-based outfit in the F1 feeder category, and the 21-year-old Barcelona native is hopeful of building upon the front row qualifying form he displayed in the Algarve in September to become a consistent podium contender over the coming months.
“Honestly, I feel very proud to be able to do a second year in GP2 with Racing Engineering,” he enthused. “I'm very happy with the work done here during last season. I am approaching this season differently to last year, and we are all working very hard to achieve our target, which is the title. I know the level of competition is very high in GP2, but I am very confident since I have been working really hard during the winter and I have a lot of confidence in the team.”
Vietoris, for his part, is presently competing for DAMS in the 2009/10 GP2 Asia Series, and has already tasted victory champagne by triumphing in the Abu Dhabi sprint outing in November. The reigning F3 Euroseries runner-up impressed Racing Engineering during a test late last year, and will make his official debut for his new employer at the Paul Ricard group test in southern France later this month.
“I am very happy to be part of the team,” affirmed the 20-year-old German. “I enjoyed working with them last year at Paul Ricard, and I am looking forward to getting the season started! Currently I am racing in the GP2 Asia Series to prepare myself as much as possible. There are a few new things for me to learn like pit-stops and starting with a hand clutch, but the goal is to fight for poles and podiums and score as many points as possible – and I think we can have a good year!”
“We are very happy with our 2010 line-up,” concluded Racing Engineering president Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón. “Dani's ascending learning curve during 2009, and the fact that he continues working in a known environment, put him in a position where he can go for the title. Christian, on the other hand, has tremendous talent and is extremely professional given his age. Although a rookie, I am sure he will fight for a win quickly.
“Our ultimate goal, obviously, has to be to win the drivers' championship, like in 2008, and I think both could go for it. Winning a championship title is never easy and definitely not in GP2, but given their speed and professional approach, I wouldn't want to bet against them. We will know at the last race of the season, since both have the ability to pull it off. Once again, we have a great technical team to back up our drivers and we hope to continue to provide them with the most reliable cars on the grid like in previous seasons.”