Spaniard takes lead from Zanella as Bortolotti strengthens championship charge
Ramon Pineiro stormed to a third successive victory after winning today’s (Sunday) second FIA Formula Two race at the Red Bull Ring.
The young Spaniard took the lead from pole-sitter Christopher Zanella at Turn 2 on the first lap, and in similar style to yesterday, went on to build a comfortable lead to take the chequered flag. Mirko Bortolotti further strengthened his championship charge with a second place while Romanian Mihai Marinescu claimed his second successive podium finish.
Zanella, starting on pole after Mirko Bortolotti’s post-qualifying penalty, made a good start, but Pineiro attacked the Swiss driver into Turn 2, with Zanella subsequently going wide. 19-year-old Pineiro then took the lead while Bortolotti also found his way past into second.
Throughout the 26-lap race, Pineiro regularly had a lead of around two seconds, although Bortolotti showed threatening pace at the end of the race, setting the fastest lap to close within 1.2 seconds of the Spaniard.
Mihai Marinescu also capitalised on Zanella running wide at Turn 1 to move into third place where he stayed untroubled for the rest of the race while 21-year-old Zanella was forced to settle for fourth, just ahead of Kelvin Snoeks who made up three palces to round out the top five.
After being caught up in the first corner incident involving Armaan Ebrahim, Tobias Hegewald brought his JPH1B car home in sixth place ahead of Russian Max Snegirev who equalled his best ever result of seventh.
Frenchman Benjamin Lariche rounded off a strong weekend to secure yet another points finish at the 4.3km Austrian track with eighth place with Mikkel Mac came home in ninth. British F2 newcomer Luciano Bacheta enjoyed yet another points finish on his debut to round out the top 10 and made even more impressive given he started the race in 15th position.
Meanwhile, there was less luck for the rest of the British drivers with Jack Clarke and Alex Brundle being forced to retire after being caught up in separate incidents at the first corner, with James Cole also dropping down the order due to brake issues.
Despite starting from the back of the field Theimo Storz drove a superb race to claim 14th position while Spaniard Miki Monras endured yet more bad luck to drop to 11th after spinning early on.
A post-race investigation by the stewards also saw Plamen Kralev handed a five place grid penalty at the next F2 rounds for overtaking under a yellow flag.
Speaking afterwards race winner Pineiro said: "I think this was the hardest race I’ve won because I just built up a two second gap and then Mirko and Mihai were just doing qualifying laps every single lap and I knew just one mistake would bring them even closer. So it was very hard to stay consistent and stay on the limit, which is the hardest thing to do but I could manage it and take the win back home."
The next rounds (13 and 14) of the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship take place at Monza on 30 September to 2 October.
Results, Red Bull Ring, Race two:
1. Ramon Pineiro, 26 laps
2. Mirko Bortolotti, +1.204s
3. Mihai Marinescu, +9.920s
4. Christopher Zanella, +12.709s
5. Kelvin Snoeks, +20.818s
6. Tobias Hegewald, +24.689s
7. Max Snegirev, +30.592s
8. Benjamin Lariche, +33.186s
9. Mikkel Mac, +33.537s
10. Luciano Bacheta, +35.887s
For more information on the series click onto www.formulatwo.com