Dean Stoneman claimed his fifth victory of the season - and the overall points lead - with a masterful drive in wet conditions at Oschersleben. In what was F2's first wet race of the year, Stoneman made an astounding start from fifth on the grid...
Dean Stoneman claimed his fifth victory of the season - and the overall points lead - with a masterful drive in wet conditions at Oschersleben.
In what was F2's first wet race of the year, Stoneman made an astounding start from fifth on the grid to move into the lead by the first corner. Kazim Vasiliauskas followed him through in second, while polesitter Sergey Afanasiev suffered from wheelspin in the treacherous conditions and dropped two places to third.
With the spray from each car limiting visibility, Stoneman took full advantage of running at the front to open a three second lead by the end of lap two. From there he never looked back, gradually stretching his lead over the remainder of the race to eventually claim the chequered flag more than 15 seconds clear of Kazim Vasiliauskas in second.
"I don't know what I did at the start but it was a bit special," Stoneman said. "After that I just had to keep it smooth and stay consistent."
With Stoneman looking comfortable out front, title rival Jolyon Palmer provided much of the drama with a superb drive through the field to eventually claim third.
The Briton passed Mihai Marinescu, Jack Clarke and Benjamin Bailly in quick succession in the early stages of the race, before making up more than eight seconds to catch and pass Sergey Afanasiev for third. From there he set about hounding Vasiliauskas, but the Lithuanian driver defended superbly to take second, his best result so far this season.
"I wasn't in a great position after the start but I was confident in the wet," said Palmer. "I was happy to pull off a few moves and limit the damage to Dean."
Palmer's third-place finish means he loses the overall lead to Dean Stoneman - although his podium limited the damage and he trails by only six points going into tomorrow's race.
Behind the lead trio, Russia's Sergey Afanasiev eventually came home fourth, although the 22-year-old had been challenging Vasiliauskas for second until being picked off by Palmer.
Benjamin Bailly meanwhile enjoyed a quiet but assured drive to fifth, just over ten seconds down the road from Afanasiev and a further six seconds ahead of Will Bratt in sixth - the Briton clinching the position after Philipp Eng slid out with two laps to go following an engaging duel between the pair.
There was drama on the final lap as Eng and a charging Nicola De Marco contested seventh place. Starting from third, De Marco found himself falling down the order after failing to get away from the line, but mounted a comeback in the second half of the race as he set a series of fastest laps.
That allowed him to latch onto the back of Eng, and as he tried to pass the Austrian on the very final corner he ran wide and clipped the wall. Eng took the position, while De Marco was able to continue and finished ninth - Kelvin Snoeks taking advantage of the incident to jump the Italian and clinch eighth.
The battle for tenth, and the final championship point, was eventually claimed by Ricardo Teixeira, although several drivers held the spot at different times during the race.
Armaan Ebrahim and Jack Clarke finished 11th and 12th respectively, Clarke having competed further up the order at the start of the race before an off-track excursion at turn three cost him time and dropped him down the order.
Mihai Marinescu was the last of the runners to finish within one lap of Stoneman, although the Romanian's race was compromised by a drive-through penalty for jumping the start which dropped him from sixth to 13th.