Eng edges out Palmer in race two
Philipp Eng resisted a spirited challenge by Jolyon Palmer to clinch his first victory of 2010, the Austrian taking the checkered flag by just 0.8 seconds.
Eng, who started from pole, enjoyed a solid start to carry his lead into the first corner and build a gap on the opening lap. He was soon pegged back, first by Dean Stoneman and later by Palmer, but he remained calm to seal victory.
It was almost a perfect weekend for Palmer, who instead had to settle for victory in the opening race and second in race two. The 19-year-old attacked Eng as they ran down to Copse for the first time, but the Austrian blocked his move and Dean Stoneman seized the opportunity to drive around the outside of his compatriot into second.
There was more action behind when Sergey Afanasiev dented his chances of replicating his podium form in race one, as the Russian ran wide at Copse and dropped back to eighth. His fellow countryman Ivan Samarin had a wild spin at Becketts and returned to the track at the back of the pack as the frenetic opening lap continued.
Things began to settle in the order after two laps although Stoneman set about closing Eng down. After eight laps the Englishman had reduced the gap to less than half a second, but he slowed on the Hangar Straight shortly after. He eventually retired in the pits with mechanical problems, which allowed Palmer back into second.
Palmer slowly chipped away at the gap ahead and he was just over 0.4s behind as the lead duo began their penultimate lap, some 15 seconds ahead of the fight for third. Comma-backed Palmer had a slight slide coming through the complex however, and he seemingly settled for second on the final lap.
"It was a very tough race," said Eng. "Jolyon was pushing very hard and for me it was like qualifying every single lap, because I was always trying to get the maximum out of the car. I would have liked to get a podium in the first race - anyway I won this race and fourth in the first race is a good effort."
Third place was equally tense when positions changed late on after Johan Jokinen charged down Jack Clarke. The Danish driver got a good run down the Hangar Straight in the latter stages, and he slid calmly down the inside of Clarke when his rival ran wide at Stowe. Although Clarke will have been slightly frustrated to have lost out on a maiden podium, he can be pleased with his best performance and result of his Formula Two career so far.
Will Bratt admitted he is still learning how to get the best out of the Williams JPH1B, but the Oxford-based racer drove another consistent race to take his second top six finish of the day. He took fifth ahead of Afanasiev and Kazim Vasiliauskas. Mihai Marinescu and Armaan Ebrahim were eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Nicola De Marco took the final point after eventually getting the better of Frenchman Benjamin Lariche.
With the championship next visiting Marrakech, Morocco, for its first ever street race and maiden event outside of Europe in two weeks time, Jolyon Palmer currently heads the standings ahead of Philipp Eng and Sergey Afanasiev.
"As soon as Dean had his problem I just went all out to attack Philipp, I caught him up quite quickly initially but I think he probably responded. We were both setting good times at the end of the race which made it quite hard for me to make inroads. I am still pleased with second and it's been a good weekend.
"Pre-season testing was really positive, I've been at the sharp end the whole time and it's reflected in this weekend. I am really happy with the weekend and it's above all my expectations."
Race 2 Classification:
1. Philipp Eng, 23 laps
2. Jolyon Palmer, +0.807s
3. Johan Jokinen, +16.230s
4. Jack Clarke, +20.571s
5. Will Bratt, +21.418s
6. Sergey Afanasiev, +28.067s
7. Kazim Vasiliauskas, +33.443s
8. Mihai Marinescu, +35.331s
9. Armaan Ebrahim, +45.026s
10. Nicola De Marco, +46.849s