Championship leaders share the front row as Jolyon Palmer sets second fastest time
Championship leaders Dean Stoneman and Jolyon Palmer will share the front row for today’s second race at Brno, setting up what could be a pivotal moment in the fight for the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship.
Stoneman, who wrested the championship lead from Palmer after yesterday’s opening race, took his second pole of the weekend with an imperious display in second qualifying – the Briton going out early on fresh rubber and setting a dominant 1m45.683s with ten minutes of the boost-enabled session still remaining.
Having used his boosts, Stoneman returned to the pits and the rest of the field took up the challenge of responding to his benchmark. Philipp Eng initially looked to have come closest, the Austrian moving to within half a second of Stoneman’s benchmark, before Jolyon Palmer pipped the Austrian with five minutes to go to take second.
Neither driver was able to really challenge Stoneman, however, leaving him to take his fifth pole position of the season. "I wasn’t going to do the strategy that I did," Stoneman said, "but I had nothing to lose and I just went out there and went for it early."
Palmer’s late effort demoted Eng to third, meaning the championship’s top three will start from first to third respectively – setting up a potentially thrilling run down to the first corner between the three main title protagonists.
Kazim Vasiliauskas showed hugely improved form in today’s qualifying session to take fourth, having set the fastest first sector time of anyone during the session.
Yesterday’s race winner Nicola De Marco will share the third row with Russia’s Sergey Afanasiev, after the pair both set their best times with four minutes of the session remaining. De Marco finished just shy of six tenths of a second off Stoneman, while Afanasiev – third in yesterday’s qualifying – was just over four tenths of a second further back, underlining just how impressive Stoneman’s benchmark was.
Benjamin Lariche had been running an impressive fourth with just five minutes to go, but the Frenchman was forced to settle for seventh at the chequered flag as several drivers improved late on.
Lariche will line up alongside Benjamin Bailly, who finished fourth in race one, while Will Bratt edged Mihai Marinescu by the closest margin of the session to clinch ninth, less than two hundredths of a second ahead of the Romanian.
With the track bathed in sunshine it proved to be a remarkably incident-free session, minor moments for Jack Clarke and Ricardo Teixeira the only incidents of note