Wickens heads free practice one in Barcelona
Canadian sets the pace ahead of Soucek and De Marco
Robert Wickens set the fastest lap in the opening free practice session in Barcelona today (Thursday) after seeing off the threat from F2 champion Andy Soucek.
Wickens and Soucek were the class of the field throughout the 30-minute session as the front running duo were the only drivers to dip under the 1:40s mark. Wickens led the way in the early stages before Soucek set a 1:39.568s lap time. His Canadian rival responded with nine minutes of the session remaining, bettering Soucek by just 0.056s.
Having won both races at the season opener in Valencia, Wickens is absolutely focussed on what he calls the ‚Spanish sweep‘, as he looks for a repeat performance at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.
Nicola De Marco made an impressive return to form as the Italian completed the top three positions. After a difficult weekend at his home round in Imola, De Marco will be hoping to end his season on a high as he looks to secure a top ten finish in the overall standings.
Frenchman Julien Jousse was less than a tenth of a second behind De Marco in fourth while Philipp Eng was just 0.062s further back in fifth. Kazim Vasiliauskas, Mikhail Aleshin and Milo Pavlović held sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. All three drivers are still in the fight for second and third in the championship, and the trio will be reasonably satisfied with their steady showing this afternoon.
Jason Moore and Tristan Vautier both ran well in the official F2 test on Monday and the pair continue to impress in Barcelona – Moore taking ninth in today’s session, with Tristan Vautier rounding out the top ten.
There was an early red flag in the session when Natacha Gachnang stopped out on track. Ollie Hancock, Vasiliauskas and Vautier all recovered from brief spins after the session had restarted.
Carlos Iaconelli is unfortunately unable to race this weekend as the young Brazilian is suffering with flu. The remaining 24 drivers will be back on track at 09:40 for the final free practice session, before the first qualifying session takes place at 14:05.
Robert Wickens said: "The week started pretty well during the test on Monday and I have continued with that today. I am still not completely comfortable with the car and I am sure there is more pace to find. It would be nice to win again in Spain and if I could score a pole position then I would more than any other driver. It is nice to show everyone my pace and I am really looking forward to the weekend."
Nicola De Marco said: "The test day did not go so well but I am pleased to be back in the top three. I have been here before with Spanish F3, but it is very fast and lots of fun in an F2 car. I just hope I can go well in qualifying tomorrow."
FIA Formula Two Championship – Free Practice one – Barcelona:
1. Robert Wickens, 1:39.568s
2. Andy Soucek, +0.056s
3. Nicola De Marco, +0.676s
4. Julien Jousse, +0749s
5. Philipp Eng, +0.811s
6. Kazim Vasiliauskas, +0.956s
7. Mikhail Aleshin, +1.168s
8. Milos Pavlovic, +1.203s
9. Jason Moore, +1.211s
10. Tristan Vautier, +1.236s
The final round of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix, this weekend (29 October – 1 November). Both races will be screened live on Eurosport and at the official website www.formulatwo.com, with live timing and text commentary available for all practice sessions, qualifying sessions and races.