Johan Jokinen tops timesheets after day one of testing
19-year-old sets searing pace to finish ahead of Jolyon Palmer and Jack Clarke
Denmark’s Johan Jokinen topped the timesheets after the first official Formula Two test day in Valencia, setting a searing pace in the final session of the day to finish as the only driver to dip under the 1m27s bracket.
19-year-old Jokinen, who drove for the Kolles and Heinz team in F3 Euro Series this year, rarely featured outside the top four all day and backed up an impressive early showing in the morning session by finishing fastest in the afternoon, ending the day just under three tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field.
Jolyon Palmer continued his own impressive form to record the second fastest time, having finished inside the top three in every previous session. 2009 FIA Formula Two Champion Andy Soucek – who was helping to develop the car in readiness for the 2010 season – set the third fastest time, with Jack Clarke and ex-A1GP driver Dan Clarke only fractions behind.
Impressively all five drivers went faster than Robert Wickens‘ pole time of 1:27.488 seconds, which he set when Formula Two visited Valencia for the opening two rounds of the 2009 season.
"It is always great to finish first – that’s what I came here for," enthused Jokinen. "Learning the new car was the greatest feeling, and using the boost was an enormous kick. The car demands a different style of driving to the F3 Euro Series, but it is really fun. I think the whole Formula Two concept is a really good idea, and since I like the car it’s a real bonus!"
Behind the lead quintet Benjamin Lariche steadily improved throughout the day to end sixth fastest ahead of GP2 pilot Ricardo Teixeira. Steven Kane, who like Soucek continues to develop the car for 2010, finished eighth fastest, with Adam Foster and Richard Plant – both of whom tested on the day as part of their prize for their performances in the 2009 Formula Palmer Audi Championship – rounding out the top ten.
The final session was red flagged twice after Jordan King and later Ramón Piñeiro endured spins on the intricate Circuit Ricardo Tormo. King, the youngest driver in the test at only 15-years-old, impressed by finishing 11th fastest overall, whilst Piñeiro finished 13th having topped the morning session.
Speaking after the close of the first day, MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer admitted he had been impressed with Jokinen’s early showing. "Johan did a great job today, and I think he surprised everybody with just how quick he was," he said. "He’s certainly showed a great deal of ability after just one day in the car, and I’m sure he could be a real title challenger in 2010 with the target of being Denmark’s first Formula One driver since Nicolas Kiesa in 2003!"
Official Formula Two Test, Valencia, Day One (3 December):
1. Johan Jokinen, 1:26.736s
2. Jolyon Palmer, 1:27.019
3. Andy Soucek, 1:27.317
4. Jack Clarke, 1:27.329
5. Dan Clarke, 1:27.360
6. Benjamin Lariche, 1:27.709
7. Ricardo Teixeira, 1:28.107
8. Steven Kane, 1:28.208
9. Adam Foster, 1:28.522
10. Richard Plant, 1:28.543
11. Jordan King, 1:28.721
12. Benjamin Bailly, 1:29.030
13. Ramón Piñeiro, 1:29.074
14. David Rotar, 1:29.094
15. Parthiva Sureshwaren, 1:29.400
16. Natalia Kowalski, 1:29.641 www.formulatwo.com