Impressive display by both new and returning drivers in Barcelona
Christopher Zanella ended the second and final day of official Formula Two testing as the leading driver to conclude and impressive display by a host of talented international drivers.
The 22-year-old, who recorded two wins on his way to second in this year’s F2 championship, used the cooler morning temperatures to set a best time of 1:37.075s, which remained unbeaten by the narrowest of margins.
German Markus Pommer continued to impress to record the second fastest time of the day, this time in the final stint, with Romanian Mihai Marinescu going third fastest. European F3 Open champion Alex Fontana finished fourth overall with Italian Edoardo Liberati completing the top five.
Once again the second test day saw all the sessions closely contested along with some superb debut drives including that of teenager Matheo Tuscher.
The F2 paddock also welcomed several new faces with James Cole, who raced in F2 this year securing two top 10 finishes, in place of yesterday’s pace-setter Miki Monras, returnee Max Snegirev in for Maxime Jousse and French newcomer Tuscher replacing Aaron Steele.
As the first session got underway it was Italian Vittorio Ghirelli who set the early pace with Riccardo Brutschin, Fontana and Daniel McKenzie all looking quick too. Two red flags towards the end of the session though hampered many drivers who had opted to start a run on new tyres with Alex Craven and Sasha Radola the drivers finding the gravel trap.
Marinescu had also looked quick for the opening session but it was Zanella who secured the honours closely followed by the 22-year-old Romanian with Pommer, Fontana and Liberati completing the top five.
Zanella again led the way early in the second session with Marinescu, Brutschin and Hector Hurst all following closely. As the session continued 19-year-old Hurst, who raced in Formula Renault BARC this year, found his stride putting in consistent lap times to be running in the top three.
Ghirelli then moved into the top five followed by two-time McLaren Autosport Award finalist Scott Malvern with the 22-year-old continuing to improve after running an impressive eighth fastest yesterday.
Session three saw Liberati lead the way for much of the 55-minute stint with the 19-year-old putting in consistent lap times with Hurst and Marinescu also running well in the session. Proceedings were briefly interrupted following a red flag caused by Radola spinning at Turn 9 but quickly resumed at which point newcomer Tuscher went top on his F2 test debut. The Frenchman, who this year won the Formula Pilota China series, used new tyres to put in a superb 1:38.468s which remained unbeaten for the session. Liberati ended second with Hurst, also on new rubber, in third and Marinescu and Zanella completing the top five.
The day’s final stint saw the drivers able to use their overboost facility with some choosing to remain in the pits early on as they waited for a clear track. By the mid-way point it was Tuscher who was once again lighting up the timing screens and the first driver to dip into the 1:37s with Liberati, Zanella, Hurst and Marinescu all following closely.
A spin by Hurst exiting the last corner saw the session briefly halted before the green flags were waved with 10 remaining on the clock. With many drivers just about to start their final run though, the interruption meant the last few minutes saw a scramble to regain good track position and avoid traffic.
Zanella, Marinescu, Tuscher and Pommer all enjoyed their time at the top of the timesheets as each bettered the previous driver’s time but it was the German who took the honours – by a mere 0.033s – ahead of the Swiss and the Romanian with Tuscher impressing with fourth slot.
Meanwhile, Brutschin completed a successful debut test to go sixth overall for the day with Brit McKenzie seventh and Kelvin Snoeks eighth. Ghirelli and Tuscher completed the top 10.
Formula Two will be revealing further details on next year’s season shortly with all the information available at www.formulatwo.com
Barcelona winter testing, day two afternoon (combined) results:
1. Christopher Zanella, 1:37.075s2. Markus Pommer, +0.014s3. Mihai Marinescu, +0.108s4. Alex Fontana, +0.258s5. Edoardo Liberati, +0.304s6. Riccardo Brutschin, +0.351s7. Daniel McKenzie, +0.403s8. Kelvin Snoeks, +0.499s9. Vittorio Ghirelli, +0.500s10. Matheo Tuscher, +0.533s