Philipp Eng tops Zolder test day

Philipp Eng

Austrian heads Kazim Vasiliauskas in Belgium

Philipp Eng topped the timesheets in an encouraging pre-event test at Zolder, as the Austrian bids to get his F2 championship challenge back on track at the Belgian venue this weekend (18-20 June).

The Silverstone and Marrakech race winner suffered a disappointing round at Monza in May but he wiped the slate clean today by setting the overall pace in the last ten minutes of running. After a relatively low key start to proceedings, Eng gradually improved his pace throughout the afternoon before securing the benchmark time late on.

Only Kazim Vasiliauskas could get near Eng during the final overboost-enabled session as the Lithuanian’s 1:23.845s lap time was just over a tenth of a second off the ultimate pace.

Belgium’s Benjamin Bailly was third in the final session but his time was unable to match that of Nicola De Marco and Ricardo Teixeira from earlier in the day. Even Bailly himself went quicker during the morning running as the final half hour was interrupted by a number of red flag periods, and he ended the day fifth fastest overall.

Russian racer Sergey Afanasiev completed the top six ahead of the impressive Benjamin Lariche. The Frenchman was quick but also endured a number of moments during the day, including a spin that triggered one of the stoppages in the final session.

Dean Stoneman, Will Bratt and Armaan Ebrahim rounded out the top ten, ahead of Mihai Marinescu and championship leader Jolyon Palmer. The final session ended a few minutes prematurely when Parthiva Sureshwaren and Paul Rees suffered separate spins at the final turn and both cars were left stranded in dangerous positions.

Philipp Eng said: "I felt very comfortable straight away and it ended up being quite an easy day! I think we were a little bit lucky to be so far ahead of the others because of the red flags but I am feeling good – I like the circuit and I am really looking forward to the weekend."

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