Dean Stoneman took a second FIA Formula Two victory at Oschersleben today, adding to his first race victory yesterday. Stoneman's first double makes it six wins for the Briton this season, and, more importantly, gives him a commanding lead in the championship battle.
"Obviously I've moved a lot closer to the title," Stoneman smiled. "I've got a 31-point lead, so that's good for us because I've got a race in hand. All I've got to do now is keep it consistent, finish the next two races in Valencia and hopefully I can win the championship!"
Stoneman controlled the race from the start, converting his pole position into a lead into the first corner ahead of fellow front-race started Nicola de Marco. Stoneman was fast enough to easily keep his Italian rival behind him, but not fast enough to pull out a gap of more than a second or two.
By the closing laps, though, Kazim Vasiliauskas had closed up on the rear wing of de Marco, and was threatening the established order. As the Lithuanian pressed de Marco, Stoneman was able to take advantage and pull away slightly.
The de Marco-Vasiliauskas skirmish had an unexpected end as the Italian pulled off just after Turn One with just two laps remaining, a mechanical problem apparently having ended his day. Vasiliauskas made a final effort to catch Stoneman, but there was no time left, and the Briton took the chequered flag by a margin of 1.966 seconds.
Behind them, Sergey Afanasiev made it to the podium having narrowly missed out on it yesterday, but nearly five seconds adrift of Vasiliauskas.
Kelvin Snoeks, Benjamin Bailly and Mihai Marinescu completed the top six, with Will Bratt hounding Marinescu to the line but unable to make a move on the Romanian.
For erstwhile championship leader Jolyon Palmer, the weekend went from bad to worse. After finishing third yesterday, he had qualified only 14th for today's race and would always have an uphill battle.
However, Palmer made up four positions on the first lap, moving into tenth and laying claim to at least one championship point. But a passing move on Ivan Samarin for ninth place ended Palmer's hopes: he braked too late in his effort to make it past, and ran into the gravel.
While he was able to get back onto the track, Palmer lost some five seconds in his off-road expedition, and eventually finished 12th and out of the points.
With just the season finale at Valencia remaining, Stoneman is now very much in command of the championship, with 267 points to Palmer's 236. Even if Palmer were to win both of the Valencia races for the maximum 50-point haul, all Stoneman would need to clinch the title would be a pair of fifth places -- or one second place.
It'll be a tense two weeks waiting for the track to open in Valencia, and we should expect to see a cracking fight on the final championship weekend.