Wickens tops official F2 test
The first official FIA Formula Two Championship test has concluded at Snetterton, with Canadian Rob Wickens finishing the day at the top of the timesheets with a time of 59.433s.
Wickens’ flying lap, which was set deep into the afternoon session, was nearly bettered immediately afterwards by fellow Red Bull junior driver Mirko Bortolotti, but the Italian missed out by just 0.168s. Six other drivers dipped below the one minute mark, with Formula Palmer Audi graduate Alex Brundle ending up third quickest.
Experienced Spaniard Andy Soucek was the only driver to set a sub-one minute time in both the morning and afternoon – his afternoon lap of 59.763s was good enough for fourth place. Philipp Eng and Milos Pavlovic were fifth and sixth respectively, but were unable to improve on their early morning pace. Julien Jousse, Sebastian Hohenthal, Mikhail Aleshin and Tobias Hegewald rounded out the top ten.
The 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship looks set to be remarkably close, with a little over one second covering the top 20 drivers at the end of the day. All cars ran today (Wednesday) with brand new bespoke F2 tires from Avon and the Williams JPH1 enjoyed good reliability with every driver completing more than 50 laps during the day. Natacha Gachnang had the most track time, completing 94 laps in her new F2 car.
Rob Wickens said: “It was a good reward and a good way to end the first test day of testing, but ultimately it’s only the first day of a long season. I really enjoyed it and I felt very comfortable in the car. The competition is very tight. I was surprised at one point when I was only three tenths off the best time, but I was way down in the overall positions. It’s definitely what you can expect from the whole season and I think it should be good.”
Mirko Bortolotti said: “To be honest I just wanted to learn the car and track today so I wasn’t focused on times, but when I saw that I was second I was really pleased. I am happy with the work we have done and I am enjoying it a lot. All the guys from Williams F1 and MotorSport Vision have done a great job. The car is great and I am really proud to be a part of this championship.”
Alex Brundle said: "I knew the lap was pretty quick. I feel really comfortable in the car and it is good to know that I am there or thereabouts. I really love driving this car - it is mega."
Official test times – Snetterton, 6 May:
1. Robert WICKENS CAN Red Bull, Lukoil 59.433s
2. Mirko BORTOLOTTI ITA Red Bull 59.601s +0.168
3. Alex BRUNDLE GBR SEN, GAC, Nasstar 59.655s + 0.222
4. Andy SOUCEK ESP FK-Automotive 59.763s +0.330
5. Philipp ENG Aut 59.963s +0.530
6. Milos PAVLOVIC SRB 59.970s +0.537
7. Julien JOUSSE FRA E.Leclerc 59.974s +0.541
8. Sebastian HOHENTHAL SWE Mafi, Sweden Team 1:00.070s +0.637
9. Mikhail ALESHIN RUS Red Bull, Lukoil 1:00.147s +0.714
10. Tobias HEGEWALD GER Hegewald 1:00.164s +0.731
The next official F2 test will take place at Silverstone on 18 May.