Eng takes hard fought race two win
Philipp Eng recorded an extremely hard fought win in the second race at Marrakech, the Austrian withstanding heavy pressure from a charging Dean Stoneman to clinch his second victory of the year and extend his lead in the championship standings.
Stoneman, who has been a frontrunner all weekend, got a bad start from second and had to work his way back past Johan Jokinen before he was able to mount a race-long pursuit of Eng. He closed several times but was unable to find a way through, despite some dramatic moments in the final few corners of the race.
Will Bratt inherited third after Jokinen suffered a collision with the barriers at the first chicane along the back straight, although the Briton made a great move on Kazim Vasiliauskas earlier in the race.
The race got off to a dramatic start when Ricardo Teixeira rode up the back of Russian racer Ivan Samarin's car at high speed on the back straight. As the pack approached the chicane for the first time, Teixeira's car became airborne following the impact and flipped over. Fortunately for the Angolan driver his car landed on all four wheels and he was able to walk away from a frightening accident. Ivan Samarin, Benjamin Bailly, Parthiva Sureshwaren and Nicola De Marco were all taken out in the incident and a lengthy safety car period followed. Jack Clarke was another driver who failed to complete the opening lap, after the Briton – who had impressed during the weekend – was struck by a technical problem.
The race restarted with just 14 minutes on the clock remaining, so the field were eager to get straight back into the action. Eng led away from Jokinen and Stoneman while Bratt and Vasiliauskas battled behind. Armaan Ebrahim held an impressive sixth position, under pressure from Jolyon Palmer.
Lithuanian Vasiliauskas moved into fourth after Will Bratt ran wide, but the Briton responded by putting his overboost button to good use and he blasted back past his rival a few laps later. Palmer had dropped back to ninth after the restart but he set about charging back through the field with good moves on Paul Rees and Sergey Afanasiev.
Jokinen threw away a comfortable podium position late on when he hit the barrier on the back straight chicane, leaving the Dane with a feeling of 'what could have been' this weekend after crashing out from third place on two occasions in Marrakech.
Stoneman relentlessly reeled in Eng up front - the two drivers again proving to be the class of the field, but the Englishman made several failed attempts to get by. The duo touched twice in a frenetic fight to the finish, as Stoneman made one last attempt on the final lap. He couldn't quite manage the pass however, and Eng hung on to take his third victory in Formula Two.
Bratt took a well deserved third ahead of Vasiliauskas, and Palmer clinched an impressive fifth after eventually taking the place from Ebrahim. Afanasiev and Rees finished seventh and eighth respectively after running together for the majority of the race, whilst Kelvin Snoeks and Benjamin Lariche completed the points paying positions.
Philipp Eng said: “I’m always saying the race was tough, but this time it was really tough! After the safety car Dean got past Johan, then he made up some ground and from there on it was really close racing - I was just watching my mirrors on every straight to see if he used his boost. We touched one or two times but it was fair, and I was very happy at the end when the checkered flag came out. I’m always trying my best, and I’m always trying to get the best out of myself in every race, so I just want to continue the season like this.”