Championship leader produces last gasp lap to top Brands Hatch test
Jolyon Palmer left it until the final few minutes to set the fastest lap of the entire day during the official F2 test at Brands Hatch.
The championship leader produced the kind of lap in keeping with his magnificent performances so far this season, with his lap time of 1:16.111s enough to edge out compatriot Will Bratt, who had led the running for much of the day.
It seems there is every chance that British fans could witness a home win in Formula Two this weekend as Dean Stoneman rounded out an all British 1-2-3, having topped the order briefly in the final 15 minutes.
Sergey Afanasiev ended up fourth and the Russian racer is clearly enjoying taking on the legendary Grand Prix circuit in an F2 car. The Lukoil-backed driver scored two podium finishes here in International Formula Master in 2009 and he ended each and every session during today’s test inside the top four.
Tom Gladdis impressively made it four Britons in the top five after the 19-year-old made a staggering return to Formula Two. Gladdis remains the youngest driver in the F2 field and it is easy to forget that he has driven just one full season in international motorsport. Today marked his first time in the car since the opening round at Silverstone when issues with a previous sponsor curtailed his campaign. It was clear today however, that Tom has lost none of his talent and his lap time of 1:16.532s was good enough for fifth.
Championship contender Philipp Eng has fond memories of Brands Hatch having taken his maiden victory in the series here last season. After running in the lower order of the top ten earlier in the afternoon, Eng continued to make steady progress to take sixth ahead of Ivan Samarin at the finish.
Ramon Pineiro produced an eye catching performance to end the day eighth overall. The Spaniard was a solid top ten runner throughout, showing good speed in both the wet and dry conditions. The Formula Palmer Audi-racer completed today’s test as he is likely to contest the final round of the 2010 F2 season in Valencia, prior to making a full assault on the series in 2011.
Jack Clarke claimed ninth with his last lap, jumping Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira in the process. Plamen Kralev failed to make it out for the final session following an accident at Clearways earlier in the afternoon, whilst Kazim Vasiliauskas‘ car was repaired in time after his sizeable shunt at Stirling’s corner. The Lithuanian could only manage 15th on the timesheets however, and he joined Benjamin Bailly as the notable drivers to finish outside of the top ten – the Belgian racer was 11th overall.
Julian and Johannes Theobald enjoyed a solid debut as they continued to acclimatise themselves to the Williams JPH1B F2 car. Julian ended the afternoon session 17th overall ahead of his maiden F2 event at Brands Hatch this coming weekend.
The F2 drivers will be back on track for the opening free practice session on Friday morning as part of another double-header race weekend – the official Formula Two website will keep you posted on the build up throughout the week and provide immediate reports and results during the weekend itself.