Andy Soucek claims victory in race two at Brands Hatch
Andy Soucek has taken victory in this afternoon's heavily-interrupted race two at Brands Hatch, extending his lead in the FIA Formula Two Championship.
The Spaniard made an excellent getaway from pole position, but Mikhail Aleshin made the most ground, moving up from fifth to third at the first corner. Robert Wickens maintained second in the early stages.
Behind them, a number of incidents on track and a brief rain shower on the opening lap led to a number of retirements and three separate red flag stoppages.
On lap two Kazim Vasiliauskas and Miloš Pavlović clashed heavily at Paddock Hill Bend, putting the Serbian out on the spot. Carlos Iaconelli also spun on the exit of Westfield, having risen from sixth to fourth after a good start.
The same lap Tobias Hegewald sneaked inside Henry Surtees at Druids for sixth, and the young Briton spun after getting two wheels on the grass as he tried to respond. Nicola De Marco also suffered damage as rain began to fall, and the race directors called a halt to proceedings as it threatened to turn into a wet race.
The circuit dried quickly though, and at the restart Soucek held off the initial advances of Wickens before the pair began to pull away from Aleshin in third. Jason Moore was enjoying his best run of the season in ninth, but behind him another incident occurred when Sebastian Hohenthal tried to repass Jack Clarke for ninth - the Swede's efforts causing him to run wide into the gravel at the exit of Sheene Curve. As he returned to the circuit his car was clipped by Germán Sánchez, and the latter became airborne briefly before coming to a rest in the barriers.
A safety car period followed, but the top eight all maintained position from the restart. On lap ten Jack Clarke went off at Westfield and made heavy contact with the barriers. A wheel from Clarke's car bounced across the circuit and appeared to make contact with the car of Henry Surtees, who then went off at the following corner. The race was immediately red flagged, whilst Surtees was extricated from the car and taken to the circuit's medical centre where he was stabilized before being transferred to hospital. No further news on his condition is currently available.
The race was briefly restarted with no change to the points paying positions, and Andy Soucek went on to take his second win of the season. "There was everything in this race," he said - "rain, incidents, yellow flags, red flags and safety car periods. I knew I had a good pace and it was all about keeping first position. It is obviously nice to take the victory and extend my championship lead, but my thoughts are also with Henry."
Robert Wickens claimed second ahead of fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Mikhail Aleshin. "Andy drove a great race, but you cannot take these kind of races into factor," Wickens reflected. " I just want to thank my mechanic for a great job all weekend."
Yesterday's winner Philipp Eng brought his car home in fourth, whilst Mirko Bortolotti held off Tobias Hegewald to finish fifth. Behind the trio Edoardo Piscopo finished seventh, with Jason Moore taking his first point of the season with eighth place. Julien Jousse made up seven places from his starting position to finish ninth, and Armaan Ebrahim rounded out the top ten having started from 22nd on the grid.
FIA Formula Two Championship Race Two - Brands Hatch, UK:
1. Andy Soucek, 15 laps
2. Robert Wickens, +1.251s
3. Mikhail Aleshin, +4.763s
4. Philipp Eng, +6.858s
5. Mirko Bortolotti, +7.287s
6. Tobias Hegewald, +7.676s
7. Edoardo Piscopo, +8.443s
8. Jason Moore, +9.821s
9. Julien Jousse, +10.393s
10. Armaan Ebrahim, +10.922s