Soucek takes dominant second win
Spaniard takes seventh victory of the year ahead of De Marco and Wickens
Formula Two champion Andy Soucek took a dominant second victory in Barcelona, leading almost from lights to flag after jumping Robert Wickens at the start.
Nicola De Marco also passed Wickens on the inside going down to turn one, and held second for the duration of the race. Wickens completed the podium despite heavy pressure from Kazim Vasiliauskas, and in doing so secured second in the overall championship standings. Mikhail Aleshin clinched third overall, and the Red Bull-backed duo both qualify for an FIA Superlicence.
De Marco and Vasiliauskas both made fantastic starts, whilst Philipp Eng dropped down the order after a slow getaway from third on the grid. The recovering Austrian immediately set about attacking Julien Jousse for eighth as the pair tussled throughout the opening laps.
Alex Brundle made a good move by Gachnang to sneak into 12th, as Soucek was building a sizeable gap at the front. De Marco was under pressure from Wickens and the fighting duo had slipped back by more than four seconds after just three laps. Vasiliauskas, Hegewald and Vautier comfortably held fourth, fifth and sixth, as the battle raged on behind for the final points paying positions.
Aleshin held off Jousse while the Frenchman had his mirrors full of Eng and Armaan Ebrahim. Britons Tom Gladdis and Jason Moore were making their way through from the back and the duo both moved by Henri Karjalainen, as Ollie Hancock endured a wild spin at turn eight behind.
There was contact between Jack Clarke and Sebastian Hohenthal on the start/finish straight during lap seven as Clarke closed the door on the attacking Swede. Mirko Bortolotti’s chances of finishing in the championship’s top three ended when the Italian pulled off the circuit late on. Bortolotti experienced a difficult season finale weekend and never looked capable of scoring the points required to challenge his Red Bull colleagues. Hohenthal spun into the gravel and out of the race at turn three and Höing also retired late on.
Back at the front and Soucek had extended his lead to more than seven seconds as the crossed the line for the final time, ending a dominant race and a dominant season for the outstanding Spaniard.
De Marco held off Wickens to take second, as Wickens settled for third in the race and the runner-up spot overall. Vasiliauskas, Hegewald and the impressive Vautier rounded out the top six, ahead of Aleshin who clinched third in the championship race – becoming the first Russian to earn qualification for an FIA Superlicense.
Jousse scored the final championship point of the season ahead of Eng and Ebrahim. Jolyon Palmer and Alex Brundle completed a decent finish to their first season of international racing by finishing 11th and 12th respectively.
The race was a fitting end to a wonderful first season of the FIA Formula Two Championship. Preparations are well underway for the 2010 campaign with winter testing starting in Valencia in just over one month’s time, but for now it is Andy Soucek’s moment – seven time race winner and Formula Two champion.
"I don’t have many words honestly," said Soucek. "It has been amazing. I’m sure this victory is not only the work I did on the championship, I think it is also thanks to a couple of people that have really helped me throughout my career. I had everything I needed to win it, that’s true; nothing was missing. I think I did a good job but everybody surrounding me really pushed hard as well. I have to thank everybody.
"I’ve said already that Formula Two for me is the best championship I’ve ever been in in terms of organisation, and it’s only in the first year. I’m absolutely going to back the championship and be behind it because I really liked it and enjoyed the whole year. I have to congratulate Robert as well to be second because I think he deserved to challenge me for the championship.
"Now I can only say thank you to everybody – seven wins is huge, I think 11 podiums, I don’t know I lost count, and it’s the best result of my career and my life. Hopefully this gives me the chance to be in Formula One next year."
FIA Formula Two Championship – Race Two – Barcelona:
1. Andy Soucek, 20 laps
2. Nicola De Marco, +7.538s
3. Robert Wickens, +9.645s
4. Kazim Vasiliauskas, +10.197s
5. Tobias Hegewald, +14.652s
6. Tristan Vautier, +19.626s
7. Mikhail Aleshin, +21.529s
8. Julien Jousse, +21.892s
9. Philipp Eng, +24.201s
10. Armaan Ebrahim, +25.618s www.formulatwo.com