Jolyon Palmer waster no time in making an impression in his sophomore year in Formula Two, scoring a pole and a second-place grid position in the series' 2010 opener at Silverstone. Palmer, who finished a distant 21st in the series' return year...
Jolyon Palmer waster no time in making an impression in his sophomore year in Formula Two, scoring a pole and a second-place grid position in the series' 2010 opener at Silverstone.
Palmer, who finished a distant 21st in the series' return year in 2009, set the tone in the first qualifying session with a dramatic chequered-flag lap time of 1:36.380, 0.151 seconds faster than the second-placed Johan Jokinen.
Jokinen thought he had a chance at a pole for his first-ever Formula Two race, but Palmer's lap, after the chequered flag had already come out, clearly bettered the time set by the young Dane.
"It feels fantastic," said Jolyon. "This year I feel a lot more confident, I've found more pace in the car and I'm really happy with that pole. I think the winter testing really helped me. From there I really haven't looked back."
Palmer, the son of former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer, was not quite able to match his performance in the second session, though: a driving error on his hot lap spoiled his time, and he was then left without any overboost remaining for his final lap. Given that. a gap of two hundredths of a second to pole-winner Philipp Eng was more than creditable.
Eng, another F2 returnee, had a strong day himself. Not only did he take the second-race pole position, he also has a second-row starting position for the first race, having set the fourth-fastest time, 0.676 seconds behind Palmer.
"I think I used the boost quite cleverly and that helped me do the best time of the session," Eng recalled. "At times in Q1 the time difference was quite big so I wasn't happy, but I obviously improved from first to second qualifying. Now I am in a good position, and with two good starts I have a good chance in both races."
Indeed, Eng won at Brands Hatch in 2009 after starting from the pole position.
Jokinen, a newcomer to the series, surely welcomes the strong start to the season after his struggles last year in the Euro F3 series with the Kolles & Heinz team. After the second-place finish in first qualifying, Jokinen was 0.250 seconds off Eng's pace in the second session, finishing fourth.
And in the end, the front two rows were shared by the same four people for both races, as Dean Stoneman claimed third grid position for each of the two races. 0.327 seconds off the pace int the first session, the Briton was much closer to Palmer's pole time in the second effort, missing pole position by barely more than a tenth of a second.
The first two races of the 2010 Formula Two season will run tomorrow afternoon.