Belgian tops both free practice sessions in Portimão
Zolder race winner Benjamin Bailly continued his run of excellent form by topping both free practice sessions on the opening day of Formula Twos fifth event of the season at Portimão.
The Belgian dominated the first session to finish more than eight tenths clear of the field, and continued his good run to top session two in the early stages before improving his time even further in the latter stages.
A flurry of late flying laps in the second session saw Jack Clarke come closest to matching Bailly. Like Bailly, Clarke has also been in good form after equalling his best ever result with fourth place in Belgium last time out. The 22-year-old put in a number of consistent laps during the second session – eventually finishing just 0.034s short of Bailly’s benchmark.
Behind them Kazim Vasiliauskas and Jolyon Palmer claimed third and fourth, ahead of Briton Will Bratt. Such was the closeness of the session that the top five drivers were separated by less than two tenths of a second.
Ricardo Teixeira enjoyed another eye catching run as the Angolan driver completed the top six, while Italy’s Nicola De Marco was less than three hundredths of a second behind in seventh.
Ivan Samarin was more than half a second off the ultimate pace, but his performance remained good enough for eighth place, ahead of two-time race winner Dean Stoneman – who also went off track late on.
Kelvin Snoeks rounded out the top ten and the Dutchman had further cause to celebrate after finding out that his fellow countrymen had beaten Brazil in the FIFA World Cup!
Sergey Afanasiev has endured a challenging day and the Russian racer had to recover from going off at turn four in the early stages to eventually finish in 11th. Plamen Kralev was another driver to make a mistake on the technical Portimão circuit – the Bulgarian spinning at the tight turn five hairpin.