Alex Brundle fastest after opening day at Barcelona

Briton edges out compatriot Jack Clarke to finish on top after day one


Alex Brundle finished fastest on the opening day of Formula Two winter testing at Barcelona today, rising to the top of the timesheets in the closing stages of the final overboost-enabled session.

Brundle, fourth and second in the day’s earlier sessions, set his overall best with 12 minutes of the session remaining, meaning he faced an anxious wait as several drivers took turns trying to better his time.

Afternoon pacesetter Jack Clarke ensured a dramatic finish as he set his fastest time in the final 30 seconds of the session, going purple in sector two but ultimately falling just over a tenth of a second shy of Brundle’s benchmark. Brundle therefore ended the session – and the day – fastest, marking an impressive return to F2 following a season competing in British Formula 3.

“I really enjoyed the day, and obviously it’s a great result to take away for us,” Brundle said. “We steadily improved through the day, and I had the car just where I wanted it for the last session which was great. I’m very happy to be where we are, but we have to carry on working as I’m sure everyone else will be doing tonight and stay on top tomorrow.”

Behind Brundle and Clarke, Formula Three Euroseries competitor Christopher Zanella ended the day third fastest ahead of fellow newcomer and Italian F3 Champion César Ramos. Benjamin Lariche wasn’t able to improve in the final 45 minute session, but his best time of the day was good enough for fifth fastest at the close.

France’s Maxime Jousse, who tested as part of his prize for finishing runner-up in the 2010 Formula Palmer Audi Championship, finished sixth fastest ahead of 2010 F2 competitor Mihai Marinescu, who set the pace in tricky morning conditions.

Fellow returnee Kelvin Snoeks was eighth fastest, ahead of Spain’s Ramón Piñeiro – who was unlucky to see his best lap in the final session discounted after red flags came out moments before he crossed the line.

2010 Formula Palmer Audi Champion Nigel Moore was the next best newcomer in tenth position, finishing ahead of Germany’s Thiemo Storz, who crashed heavily into the barriers at the start of the afternoon. Daniel Cammish was the only driver other than Lariche to not improve in the final 45 minutes and he ended the day 12th fastest as a result, having run inside the top ten for much of the day. Dominik Kraihamer, Max Snegirev and Plamen Kralev rounded out the day’s runners.

The test concludes tomorrow, with Finland’s Jukka Honkavuori and China’s Martin Qing Hua will gain their first experience of the Williams JPH1B F2 car. Qing Hua, who competed in Superleague this year, will become the first Chinese driver to sample the new era of Formula Two.

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