Lithuanian bounces back from race one roll to score second pole of season
Kazim Vasiliauskas bounced back from a dramatic barrel roll crash in race one to claim his second pole position in the final qualifying F2 session of the year in Valencia today (Sunday).
The Lithuanian driver set his quickest time in the second half of the session on fresh rubber, beating Briton Jack Clarke and India’s Armaan Ebrahim – who set identical times around the 4km Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
The possibility of rain in the second half of the session meant there were divided strategies during the 30 minutes, with newly-crowned champion Dean Stoneman and vice-champion Jolyon Palmer opting to complete their qualifying effort on new tyres earlier than the rest of the field.
The approach looked to have worked as they held first and second respectively with seven minutes remaining. However the dry weather held after the pair had parked their cars, and the times began to tumble as the rest of the field’s tyres got up to temperature. Stoneman will start the season finale from sixth on the grid and Palmer from 14th.
With Stoneman and Palmer in the pit lane, Clarke posted provisional pole before being ousted by Vasiliauskas in the final moments, the Lithuanian snatching his second pole position of 2010.
Clarke will share the front row with Vasiliauskas after equalling his best ever qualifying performance, whilst race one podium finisher Ebrahim continued his impressive form in Valencia to clinch third – setting the exact same time as Clarke in second.
Behind the leading trio, Sergey Afanasiev emerged as hot favourite for third in the overall championship as the Russian cruised to a strong fourth place qualifying position. Five drivers are all in contention for third heading into the final race of the year, but with Afanasiev’s nearest rivals Will Bratt and Philipp Eng both qualifying outside the top ten, the Russian only needs to finish sixth to ensure third overall.
Ivan Samarin meanwhile had an impressive run to fifth, whilst Mihai Marinescu will start behind Stoneman in seventh.
Kelvin Snoeks, who was involved in the clash with Kazim yesterday that resulted in the Lithuanian’s barrel roll, secured eighth place ahead of race one victor Nicola De Marco in ninth position. Benjamin Bailly, part of the quintet competing for third, rounded out the top ten.
FIA Formula Two Championship – Valencia – Qualifying Two Provisional Classification:
1. Kazim Vasiliauskas, 1:25.923s
2. Jack Clarke, +0.235s
3. Armaan Ebrahim, +0.235s
4. Sergey Afanasiev, +0.321s
5. Ivan Samarin, +0.387s
6. Dean Stoneman, +0.442s
7. Mihai Marinescu, +0.529s
8. Kelvin Snoeks, +0.636s
9. Nicola De Marco, +0.664s
10. Benjamin Bailly, +0.733s