Dean Stoneman took his first victory in the FIA Formula Two series today, running in front from flag to flag after qualifying on the pole position yesterday. The race was the first of two to be run this weekend in Marrakech,...
Dean Stoneman took his first victory in the FIA Formula Two series today, running in front from flag to flag after qualifying on the pole position yesterday. The race was the first of two to be run this weekend in Marrakech, Morocco.
Stoneman, a 19-year-old Briton, had qualified comfortably in front of Jolyon Palmer, with a gap of 0.277 seconds, and was consistently faster than his challengers in the race itself as well. However, three safety car periods combined to repeatedly take away the gaps he built up, and the race actually finished behind a safety car after Palmer's car failed less than three laps before the finish.
At the start, though, while Stoneman had held off second-place starter Palmer with ease, mayhem erupted furter back on the grid. Jack Clarke and Nicola de Marco, starting third and fifth, made it through the first corner, but at the chicane after turn four they were side by side. With Clarke carrying two much speed, both cars ended up in the runoff, and then touched as they were getting back onto the track, sliding into the barriers.
Behind them, Benjamin Bailly went too deep into turn four, and took out the car of Will Bratt, making four cars scattered on the track. The stewards had no choice but to call out the first safety car of the day.
Five laps later, as the green flag was showm, Philipp Eng made the most of it, and squirted past Johan Jokinen into third place, behind Stoneman and Palmer.
The green only lasted for four laps, though. This time it was triggered by a passing move Kazim Vasiliauskas made on Natalia Kowalska: the Lithuanian had been making his way through from the back of the field, and Kowalska was his next target.
However, while Vasiliauskas made it past, Kowalska did not want to let him run away. She pushed hard to try and stay close to Vasiliauskas, but went too deep into -- wait for it -- turn four, and rammed the back of the Lithuanian's car, taking out both of them and brining the safety car back out.
That took away Stoneman's five-second lead, but three laps later there was another opportunity for the Briton to build his lead. Palmer tried to take the lead at the restart, but couldn't quite do it.
Behind them, Eng was defendinf his third place against a determined Jokinen, the pair driving side by side through corners as they battled for the last podium position. As they started the fourteenth lap, Eng got the inside line on Jokinen into the first corner. The Dane tried to brake late to make his way around the outside, but it was way too late, and he spun off into the barriers, brining out the final safety car of the day.
As the field was circulating behind the safety car again, Palmer's car seized up on the back straight, dropping him out of the race and elevating Eng into second. Kelvin Snoeks, who had started ninth but avoided all the incidents through the race, finished third.
Qualifying for tomorrow's race will be run this afternoon.
See also: Eng hangs on to take race 2 pole