Clarke, who finished his 2010 F2 campaign in style by sealing second in the final race of the season at Valencia, was fast from the outset in Portugal, opting for slicks far earlier than any other driver in tricky morning conditions – a nove which paid dividends as he finished more than three seconds clear of nay other driver.
He followed that up by finishing third fastest in the afternoon session, before returning to the top in the day’s final overboost-enabled session.
“Fastest in the morning, fastest in the afternoon, fastest overall – I can’t ask for more really!,” Clarke explained. “I’ve been right up there all day, and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow as well!
“It’s a good feeling, and its the result of hard work all winter – I’ve been working on simulators and trying to test as much as possible and preparing quite a lot for these four days so its nice to see the result of my hard work.”
Although Clarke’s pace was impressive in last year’s championship, he insists he wants to start anew if he returns to the championship in 2011.
“My pace was good last year, but I want to put that behind me really. I’m not here to finish eighth, I want to be a lot higher than that. I felt like I sussed it and was really comfortable in the car at the end, and I’ve taken that momentum and carried it into testing – the proof of which was today I think.
“F2 is definitely a strong option for me – as per usual I haven’t got a huge budget but I’ve got a lot of people helping me and I’d certainly like to do this!”