Stoneman captures f2 pole
Dean Stoneman secured his maiden F2 pole in the first qualifying session in Marrakech, the Briton running well throughout to eventually finish just over two tenths clear of the rest of the field.
Behind him Jolyon Palmer and Jack Clarke made it a British top three - the first qualifying clean sweep for any country in the new era of Formula Two.
Stoneman had proved to be a consistent frontrunner throughout the day, and also led the opening qualifying session during the early stages. A flurry of quicker laps were set shortly before the midway stage however, as Will Bratt, Nicola De Marco, Sergey Afanasiev and Johan Jokinen all enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the timesheets.
The majority of runners switched to fresh rubber for the final 15 minutes and it was Bratt who initially lowered the times. Afanasiev took over before Armaan Ebrahim produced one his best qualifying performances - moving into provisional pole with nine minutes remaining.
Stoneman made his move shortly after and blitzed the field with a 1:32.559s lap time that would not be beaten: "I went out on old tires, took it nice and steady, then changed onto fresh rubber and managed to set a good time, although I had a few more tenths in the bank if I needed it!" said Silver Lining-backed Stoneman. "I've coped with the circuit really well - it's been down to who can be the most consistent, and I've proved that over the three sessions."
After failing to string together all three sectors during the early part of the session, it was Palmer who proved to be Stoneman's closest rival as the championship leader fired in a flying lap in the final minutes. The Comma-backed racer continues his form of qualifying on the front row for every race so far this season.
Jack Clarke was another driver who endured mixed fortunes in the early stages, but the Englishman recovered from a spin to set the third fastest time - his best qualifying result in Formula Two:.
Will Bratt and Johan Jokinen were relegated to fourth and fifth at the finish, whilst Nicola De Marco finished sixth. The Italian looked to be in good form and was fighting for pole himself, but after setting his fastest first and second sectors he then made a mistake in the final section of the track.
Silverstone race winner Philipp Eng had to settle for seventh, ahead of the impressive Armaan Ebrahim and Kelvin Snoeks. Despite leading the times with less than ten minutes to go, Sergey Afanasiev could only manage tenth at the checkered flag.
Jolyon Palmer said: "I was really happy with that - in fact I was a little surprised to pull that out of the bag as it has not been a great day for me. I knew Silverstone quite well, so it's nice to be on the front row again at Marrakech and prove to people I can be very consistent."
Jack Clarke said: "I'm slowly stringing things together and I thought I deserved to be up here in third - I thought I actually deserved pole, so I'll see what I can do about that in the race!”
FIA Formula Two Championship - Rounds 3 & 4 - Marrakech, Morocco - Qualifying One Provisional Classification:
1. Dean Stoneman, 1:32.559s
2. Jolyon Palmer, +0.277s
3. Jack Clarke, +0.294s
4. Will Bratt, +0.295s
5. Johan Jokinen, +0.380s
6. Nicola De Marco, +0.398s
7. Philipp Eng, +0.436s
8. Armaan Ebrahim, +0.741s
9. Kelvin Snoeks, +0.902s
10. Sergey Afanasiev, +0.907s