Christopher Zanella powered to victory during today’s (Sunday) sun-soaked final Formula Two race at Monza, leading home Kevin Mirocha while Luciano Bacheta finished third to wrap up the championship title and secure the Williams F1 test.
In one of the closest finishes in the championship’s history, Bacheta and Tuscher went head-to-head in the 16th and final race of the thrilling 2012 F2 season, with Tuscher needing to win to have any chance of clinching victory.
As the lights went out, it was Zanella who got the jump on pole-sitter Pommer to lead into the first chicane with Mirocha tucked up in third and Alex Fontana lying fourth. Bacheta, starting from P7, had made a great start to gain a place and, more importantly, lie ahead of his championship rival.
A lap later Mirocha was able to get the run on Pommer into the first chicane for second with Bacheta also dispatching Fontana. Just behind, Mihai Marinescu was on a charge lying sixth after starting P10 and hot on the heels of Alex.
Tuscher was also coming through the field with a brave move around the outside of Harald Schlegelmilch at the chicane before taking Fontana shortly after, while ahead disaster struck for Pommer with a puncture promoting Bacheta into third.
By the halfway stage Zanella was looking comfortable out in front while 22-year-old Bacheta was starting to close in on Mirocha. The two were nose-to-tail through Curva Grande with the Brit just unable to find a way past allowing Zanella to extend his lead to over three seconds.
In the end, no one could stop Zanella with the Swiss celebrating the win with some impromptu doughnuts with Mirocha taking second. Bacheta had to work hard to hold onto his podium finish with some strong challenges from Marinescu in the final corners with Tuscher completing the top five. Fontana finished ahead of Dino Zamparelli, Axcil Jefferies and newcomer Harald Schlegelmilch with Daniel McKenzie rounding out the top 10.
Bacheta, backed by Comma Oil, now becomes the second Briton to win the title after Dean Stoneman in 2010, finishing 21.5 points ahead of Tuscher in the drivers‘ standings with Christopher Zanella, who was runner-up last year, in third. All three become eligible for an FIA Super Licence, needed to compete in Grands Prix, with Bacheta enjoying a full test with the Williams F1 team and Tuscher and Zanella receiving GP2 tests. As the highest placed rookie, Mathéo also receives two days of F2 winter testing.
Speaking afterwards a jubilant Bacheta said: "It’s still sinking in! The first feeling was just relief and then happiness and then every emotion! I’m still kind of dazed by it all. In the race, as soon as I was past Matheo I felt in control from that point on and I just thought, ‚let’s have a good race‘! It felt really good and a great way to secure the title.
"Throughout the season we’ve always been up there and challenging for the win but certainly everyone else caught us up as the season went on. Of course there’s a few things I would d have done differently but overall it’s been a very solid season and my rival Matheo has been more like a team-mate as we get on so well."
He added: "We’ve got a few ideas for 2013 but I don’t want to say too much just yet. As for the Williams F1 test, this is just insane! I can’t believe it and probably won’t until I’m actually sat in the car. It’s just incredible and I have to say a big thank you to Comma and the rest of my sponsors, and everyone who has helped me this season."
F2 Results: Monza – Race 2:
1. Christopher Zanella, 21 laps
2. Kevin Mirocha, +4.780s
3. Luciano Bacheta, +6.366s
4. Mihai Marinescu, +6.957s
5. Mathéo Tuscher, +7.030s
6. Alex Fontana, +12.867s
7. Dino Zamparelli, +16.007s
8. Axcil Jefferies, +18.338s
9. Harald Schlegelmilch, +21.106s
10. Daniel McKenzie, +24.803s
11. David Zhu, +28.260s
12. Max Snegirev, +29.732s
13. Plamen Kralev, +39.624s
14. Markus Pommer, +1lap
15. Hector Hurst, DNF
F2 Driver Standings: Final:
1. Luciano Bacheta, 231.5pts
2. Matheo Tuscher, 210pts
3. Christopher Zanella, 196pts
4. Markus Pommer, 169pts
5. Mihai Marinescu, 161pts
6. Kevin Mirocha, 159.5pts
7. Alex Fontana, 115pts
8. Dino Zamparelli, 106.5pts
9. Daniel McKenzie, 95pts
10. Hector Hurst, 27pts