Robert Wickens defends championship lead in the Czech Republic
After a hugely successful inaugural weekend in Valencia last month, the third and fourth rounds of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship take place in Brno, Czech Republic, this weekend (19/20/21 June).
All eyes will be on championship leader Robert Wickens after the Canadian scooped a dominant double victory in Spain. Amongst those chasing him down will be his two Red Bull Junior colleagues, Mirko Bortolotti and Mikhail Aleshin. Both drivers scored strong points finishes in each race at Valencia and currently lie second and fourth respectively in the overall standings.
Sandwiched between them in the championship is the only other driver to have scored points in each race so far, Brazilian racer Carlos Iaconelli. After spending the last two seasons with under-achieving teams in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2, the 21-year-old is relishing the prospect of showing his full potential in the level playing field of Formula Two.
Lithuanian Kazim Vasiliauskas and Austrian Philipp Eng will also hope to build on impressive debut weekends in F2 after demonstrating their talents with surprise podiums finishes. Andy Soucek and Julien Jousse will expect to challenge for podium positions this coming weekend after failing to reach that goal in Valencia. Jousses confidence is further buoyed having scored a stunning second position in the GT1 class on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut last weekend.
In the battle of the Britons, Henry Surtees currently leads the way from Alex Brundle, whilst Italian duo Nicola De Marco and Edoardo Piscopo also scored creditable points finishes in Valencia.
Drivers hoping to score their first points of the F2 season at Brno include both Jack Clarke and Natacha Gachnang. Swiss female driver Gachnang is hoping an impressive season in Formula Two will help her make history in reaching Formula One. The 21-year-old has been in talks with Adrian Campos about a test seat in the newly formed Campos Grand Prix team, who have signed up to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. Gachnang has previous links with Campos, having finished third in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship with the team last year.
The sweeping Brno circuit is set to provide some great racing this weekend with plenty of overtaking opportunities for the talented crop of 25 Formula Two drivers.
The venue was formerly the site of the pre-war Czechoslovakian Grand Prix and once measured 19 miles in length, but it has hosted the likes of MotoGP, A1GP and World Superbikes in its current layout. This weekend, F2 will partner with the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Rob Wickens said: "I have set the bar pretty high for myself after the results I had in Valencia. I couldn’t have dreamed of the first round going any better. But, that’s the past now and I know where I need to improve and how to do it. I can’t wait for Brno – I think it will be a very exciting race!"
Mirko Bortolotti said: This is my first time at Brno and I dont know the track, but Im really looking forward to it. My pace at Valencia was very good, and the fact that I was able to put pressure on Robert Wickens in Race Two is really encouraging. I will give my best as always, and if there is a chance to win I hope I can take it.
Natacha Gachnang said: For Brno we have a bit of experience, and we know how the car works, so points are definitely the target. For sure the prospect of a test seat with Campos adds a bit of motivation, but I have always been motivated to do my best and am always comparing myself to the fastest drivers. I am in a very positive mood heading into Brno.