F2

Bailly takes first win in front of home crowd

Bailly takes first win in front of home crowd

Benjamin Bailly took his first career FIA Formula Two victory today in front of his home-town fans. The maiden victory was all the sweeter for Bailly, who lives in Liege, Belgium, as he did it at Circuit Zolder, only an hour from his ...

Benjamin Bailly took his first career FIA Formula Two victory today in front of his home-town fans. The maiden victory was all the sweeter for Bailly, who lives in Liege, Belgium, as he did it at Circuit Zolder, only an hour from his hometown.

Podium: race winner Benjamin Bailly.
Photo by FIA Formula Two Championship.

"This is a really good feeling, fantastic in front of all my family and everybody who did a really good job," Bailly smiled. "This makes me really happy and gives me more confidence for the rest of the season. I hope it's not the last one - I will do everything I can to remain at the front and why not more victories."

Bailly made a swift getaway from the pole position, and was never seriously threatened. As the chequered flag was shown after 22 laps of racing, the young Belgian was 3.819 seconds clear of the field.

"I just tried to keep the gap and finish first - that's what I did," Bailly explained. "I pushed as hard as I could in the first laps and kept my boosts until the end of the race in case there was a safety car."

There was no safety car this time, though, and the challengers were kept too busy squabbling amongst themselves to be able to threaten Bailly. Behind Bailly, it was Jack Clarke on the first row, and then Jolyon Palmer and Will Bratt on the second row.

Palmer, the championship leader, got the jump on Clarke at the start, and was in second place going into the first corner. Clarke and Bratt followed, but were soon to be chased by Dean Stoneman, the winner of the weekend's first race, who had quickly worked his way up from seventh on the grid to fifth. On lap six, Stoneman made it fourth, as he slipped past Bratt.

Clarke was not such an easy target for Stoneman, though, and Clarke pursued Palmer while Stoneman tried to make up the gap to the other two. Eventually it was Stoneman that made up the ground more effectively, and attacked Clarke with ferocity, eventually made a pass stick in Turn Three with just two laps remaining.

Benjamin Bailly leads at the start.
Photo by FIA Formula Two Championship.

It was not enough time for Stoneman to make up the gap to Palmer, who finished a second clear of his fellow Briton. Clarke and Bratt claimed fourth and fifth, 6.6 and 7.2 seconds behind Bailly, respectively.

Mihai Marinescu inherited a lonely sixth place when Nicola de Marco's car suffered a mechanical problem on lap 14. Kazim Vasiliauskas finished seventh, and Ivan Samarin held off Sergei Afanasiev attack on the final lap. Afanasiev's attack was of the all-or-nothing variety, and the "nothing" part turned out to be a spin, which dropped the Russian down to 15th place.

With Palmer and Stoneman finishing second and third, there were no major changes to the championship chase. Palmer still leads, now with 139 points, ahead of Stoneman's 131. Philipp Eng, who wrapped up another disastrous weekend with a 12th place, is still third but far back with 80 points. Bratt (70 points) and Vasiliauskas (65) complete the top six in the point standings.

The next race will be in two weeks' time in Algarve, Portugal.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series F2

Latest f2 photos

Silverstone
F2

Silverstone

270 photos
Brands Hatch
F2

Brands Hatch

237 photos
Silverstone
F2

Silverstone

225 photos
Valencia
F2

Valencia

889 photos
Oschersleben
F2

Oschersleben

650 photos
Brno
F2

Brno

791 photos
Brands Hatch
F2

Brands Hatch

959 photos
Portimao
F2

Portimao

740 photos
View more f2 photos