Maiden F2 podium for Julien Jousse Julien Jousse is the only French driver racing in the revolutionary new FIA Formula 2 championship. Julien eased into joint 3rd in the standings after bagging more points in the Czech Republic than any of his...
Maiden F2 podium for Julien Jousse
Julien Jousse is the only French driver racing in the revolutionary new FIA Formula 2 championship. Julien eased into joint 3rd in the standings after bagging more points in the Czech Republic than any of his rivals. At the Brno event, the man from the Var region of France came 5th in Race 1 before climbing onto the second rung of the Race 2 podium.
One weekend is much like the next - well almost. Driving an endurance Corvette C6.R in the Le Mans 24-hour race is not quite the same as a Formula 2 sprint in a Williams-Audi but in each case a podium place awaited Julien at the finish. The tight teamwork at Luc Alphand Aventures contrasts sharply with the philosophy of the F2 championship. There are no teams as such in this category. The drivers are all allocated identical cars prepared and entered exclusively by MotorSport Vision.
Le Mans and Brno had at least one other feature in common - both events were preceded by open practice sessions run under wet conditions, with calamitous results for the French driver. In the first session, the track dried out a lot quicker than expected, much to the detriment of Julien's rain tyres, meaning that they were next to useless in the second session, which took place in a downpour. The first full qualifying session hardly went any better. "I got into a good rhythm in the rain but unfortunately I started the session on tyres in which the pressure was too high, so I lost several places in the final minutes."
Starting 11th on the grid for race 1, Julien soon clicked into his stride on a drying track. He even clocked a superb 2nd fastest lap in the race, as he eased himself into 5th place. "I did most of the hard work by getting off to a good start. After that I just tried to make sure I stayed on the track!" Which is more than can be said for a number of others. Julien could look ahead with confidence because he achieved this creditable result on worn tyres. This meant he had two sets of new ones available for the second day of competition.
The weather was dry at last when the field took to the track for Sunday's qualifying session. There was hardly anything to choose between the leaders. Julien was very quick through certain segments, and fastest of the field through sector 3, but was only able to snatch 5th fastest full lap in his final lap. The front-line pair of drivers made life easier for him in Race 2 as they both burnt out their clutches. "I had to make sure not to hit them, though. I fought hard with Soucek during lap 1 and spent the rest of the race just a few lengths behind him in 3rd position. Then when De Marco spun off I moved up into 2nd."
This was Julien's first podium and it brought his tally for the weekend up to 12 points. No-one was able to better this. He now lies 3rd in the championship standings, equal with Aleshin, the tough Russian he managed to beat last year in Barcelona on his way to his runner-up medal in the Formula Renault 3.5 class. "I played it safe and steady, a bit like I did in Le Mans! That endurance experience was a good source of inspiration because I didn't put a foot wrong in this race, whereas others showed they are not infallible. F2 is pretty cut-throat and the car is tough to drive but I don't give up easily. I'm doing all I can to progress. Philippe Streiff, my mentor and former F2 and F1 driver, watched me on Eurosport, which broadcast some great coverage of the race from grid to podium. But Philippe told me he would be coming to support me personally in my next race in Spa-Francorchamps!" Rendezvous then next June 27-28 in the Belgian Ardennes.