Jolyon Palmer got the jump on Dean Stoneman at the start of today's FIA Formula Two championship race at Brno, Czech Republic, and converted that jump into a victory on the undulating 5.4-km Masaryk Circuit. Jolyon Palmer. Photo by FIA...
Jolyon Palmer got the jump on Dean Stoneman at the start of today's FIA Formula Two championship race at Brno, Czech Republic, and converted that jump into a victory on the undulating 5.4-km Masaryk Circuit.
"That race was all about the start," Palmer recounted. "It was a perfect getaway, I don't think I've had one like that in Formula Two. It was a great start and I nearly lost it at the first corner and then had to change the wing balance pretty quickly afterwards but I couldn't pull away from Dean (Stoneman)."
Stoneman, the polesitter, was again unable to convert his prime grid position into a first-lap lead, having previously lost it to Nicola de Marco in the weekend's first race yesterday. Unlike the first race, though, Stoneman was able to attack and apply pressure on Palmer, but it was to no avail. While Palmer was never able to open a large gap, neither could Stoneman find a chink in his armour that he could exploit.
"I was out there following and I lost a lot of downforce and it's hard to get close to the car in front and get past when you're within a tenth or two of each other," he explained.
Kazim Vasiliauskas took third place from Philipp Eng into the third corner, but the Austrian fought back, hard, and made his move on the third lap, passing his rival on the outside of the high-speed Turn 3. Eng then looked set for a comfortable third place and 15 valuable championship points, but once again his hopes were dashed as his car coasted to a halt with mechanical problems just a lap from the finish.
That gave third back to Vasiliauskas, who is keeping up his steady climb in the points table. 11.258 seconds behind Palmer may not be very close, but the championship points are the same regardless of the gap.
"I needed a really good start and fight maybe with Jolyon and with Eng but it looks like Palmer and Stoneman were much faster," Vasiliauskas said. "For all the race Eng was in front of me by one or one and a half seconds, and the gap was quite big but if you get closer you just lose grip and you cannot improve."
Benjamin Bailly followed close on the heels of Vasiliauskas, and yesterday's race winner, Nicola de Marco, was another five seconds behind Bailly.
With just two race weekends -- Oschersleben and Valencia -- remaining in the season, the maximum available points total is now 100, and that mathematically eliminates everyone but Palmer, Stoneman and Eng. And with Eng 99 points off the lead, his hopes are effectively dashed, too.
So it's down to Palmer and Stoneman now, with only four points separating the two rivals, 221 to 217 in the former's favour.
"(Dean and I) have been pretty evenly matched the whole year so I'm sure it will go down to the wire, said Palmer. "It's nice to have an advantage now and making sure I keep it after the last two rounds."
The series now takes a late-summer break and returns to action in five weeks' time, on September 3rd, at Oschersleben.