Frenchman targets podiums after impressive winter testing
France's Benjamin Lariche has today (20 January) been confirmed as the second driver to return to Formula Two for the 2011 season, following the announcement that Britain's Jack Clarke will also rejoin the series.
Lariche enjoyed an encouraging first season in F2, which was underpinned by striking consistency which saw him collect points in 12 out of 18 races -- a record only matched by the championship's top five drivers.
His best result came in the final round of the year at Valencia, where he qualified second for the opening race before eventually finishing sixth at the chequered flag. He also qualified well at Portimгo, Portugal, lining up from fifth for race two, and scored top eight finishes at Monza and Brno. Benjamin then set the outright pace on the second day of winter testing at Portimгo in December.
Lariche admitted he was thrilled to return to F2 for a second season, especially given that the championship will visit his home circuit of Magny-Cours in May. "I'm very excited to return to F2," he enthused. "I improved throughout last season, and finished the year by qualifying on the front row at Valencia, which was a fantastic end. I was also quick in winter testing, so I'm feeling very confident.
"I'm also delighted to be racing at Magny-Cours, which will be a very special event for me with my family and friends coming across. It's one of several Grand Prix tracks on the calendar for 2011 and that makes F2 even more attractive than last year for me and my partners I think.
"I'm not setting any immediate goals for 2011, because I prefer to concentrate on myself rather than others, but I know if I perform well then I will be fast. My first goal is the top five in the championship, but a top three would be fantastic and I'm confident podiums and even victories will be possible."
Jonathan Palmer, Formula Two Chief Executive, said: "I'm delighted Benjamin is back in F2 this year. He had some strong performances last season, in particular a superb front row qualifying effort at the final event at Valencia, and I am quite sure he will build on his experience in 2011 -- he certainly is capable of scoring frequent podiums and race wins."