Formula Two is back at Brands Hatch
25 years after Brands Hatch hosted the last ever European Formula Two Championship race, the F1 feeder series returns to the Kent circuit for rounds seven and eight of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship this weekend (17/18/19 July).
Philippe Streiff won that race back in 1984, and the Frenchman will be watching on this weekend as he continues his mentoring role with compatriot Julien Jousse, who currently lies third in this year’s championship.
Momentum has swung several times so far this season, and the championship has seen four different leaders and nine different visitors to the podium. Spaniard Andy Soucek will carry the points lead into Brands Hatch courtesy of a fourth and a second last time out in Belgium, but he is just two points clear of Robert Wickens in second – the Canadian scoring the majority of his points during a fairytale opening weekend at Valencia where he won both races from pole.
Reigning Italian F3 champion Mirko Bortolotti took his turn at the top of the standings in Brno, taking full advantage of a disappointing weekend for Wickens to claim his maiden series victory and the championship lead. Soucek forced himself into championship contention with victory in race two, whilst Mikhail Aleshin, Philipp Eng, Julien Jousse and Nicola De Marco all visited the podium.
Jousse had a brief spell at the top after finishing third in race one at Spa-Francorchamps, before being displaced by Soucek when the Spaniard claimed second position in the next race. Tobias Hegewald enjoyed an extraordinary weekend in Belgium – taking two pole positions, two race wins and two fastest laps - and he now lies fourth in the standings.
Six Britons will be hoping to benefit from home advantage at Brands this weekend as Alex Brundle, Henry Surtees, Jack Clarke, Tom Gladdis, Jolyon Palmer and Jason Moore race in front of the UK fans for the first time in Formula Two. Moore scored two victories on the iconic Grand Prix circuit on his way to winning the Formula Palmer Audi Championship in 2008 and the Bedfordshire racer will be looking for his first points in F2, whilst Jolyon Palmer has taken three podiums from his last four races on the GP layout.
Sebastian Hohenthal and Miloš Pavlović are two other drivers who have previously tasted victory at Brands Hatch, and both have high hopes for this weekend. Hohenthal took his win during his time in British F3, whilst Pavlović claimed his second ever racing victory at the circuit, so they’ll both be ones to watch. "Brands Hatch is my favorite circuit in the world," noted Pavlović. "I haven't been there for quite a long time, so I am really looking forward to going back."
Championship leader Andy Soucek has never raced at Brands Hatch, but the Spaniard was full of praise for the track after experiencing it in his road car last week. "The circuit is unbelievable, and going through Paddock Hill is amazing," he enthused - "the feeling through your body is even better than going through Eau Rouge!
"To be honest I'm just happy to be arriving with the points lead - given the start I made in Valencia, it feels unbelievable to be at the top. I'm expecting Brands Hatch to be packed so it's going to a spectacular weekend of racing, and I'm looking forward to trying to extend my points lead."
With the championship race still wide open, get set for an enthralling F2 double header at Brands Hatch, which also plays host to rounds 15 and 16 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.