Alex Brundle stormed to the top of the timesheets to finish as overall fastest on the opening day of winter testing at Barcelona. 

The Briton, fourth and second in the day’s earlier sessions, set his overall best with 12 minutes of the session remaining, meaning he faced an anxious wait as several drivers took turns trying to better his time.

Jack Clarke ensured a dramatic finish as he set his fastest time in the final 30 seconds of the session, going purple in sector two but ultimately falling just over a tenth of a second shy of Brundle. It was an impressive rally from the Briton, who had to be towed to the pits earlier in the session after stopping on the inside of turn ten.

Brundle however held on to end the session – and the day – fastest, marking an impressive return to F2 following a season competing in British Formula 3.

Clarke’s stoppage brought about the second red flag period of the session, after Plamen Kralev beached his car in the gravel at the exit of turn five. Both incidents came in quick succession, slightly disrupting the momentum of the session as several drivers were forced to abandon flying laps on fresh rubber.

Ramón Piñeiro was one of those caught out as the Spaniard set his best time, which would have been enough for third, moments after the red flags came out for the first time.

With Piñeiro’s time discounted, third place was claimed by the impressive Christopher Zanella on his first ever appearance in Formula Two. Zanella had actually been top of the timesheets with 18 minutes of the session remaining, and his third place finish comes after steady improvements throughout the day.

Behind Zanella, Italian Formula 3 Champion César Ramos also impressed on his F2 debut by sealing fourth spot. The Brazilian finishes the opening day of testing at Barcelona having finished inside the top six in all three sessions.

Behind Ramos, France’s Maxime Jousse continued his own good form by ending the day fifth fastest, having set the pace in the early part of the final session. 2010 pilots Mihai Marinescu – fastest in the morning session – Kelvin Snoeks and Benjamin Lariche were next, claiming sixth to eighth respectively.

Despite having his best time discounted Ramón Piñeiro finished within one second of Brundle’s benchmark in ninth, while 2010 Formula Palmer Audi Champion Nigel Moore completed the top ten, little more than one tenth of a second down the road.

FIA Formula Two Championship – Barcelona – Day One, Evening Session:

1. Alex Brundle, 1:37.722s
2 Jack Clarke, +0.180s
3 Christopher Zanella, +0.397s
4 César Ramos, +0.567s
5 Maxime Jousse, +0.658s
6 Mihai Marinescu, +0.791s
7 Kelvin Snoeks, +0.923s
8 Benjamin Lariche, +0.926s
9 Ramón Piñeiro, +0.945s
10 Nigel Moore, +1.048s
11 Thiemo Storz, +1.071s
12 Dominik Kraihamer, +1.807s
13 Max Snegirev, +1.902s
14 Daniel Cammish, +2.007s
15 Plamen Kralev, +2.874s