British driver capitalises on storming start to claim emotional win
British driver Jack Clarke drove a superb race in today’s (Saturday) round nine to break his FIA Formula Two Championship duck and win on home soil at the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
The young Briton started third but made the perfect start and squeezed between pole-sitter Tobias Hegewald and Ramon Pineiro on the run down to Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead and remain ahead until the chequered flag.
Spaniard Pineiro was also able to get past the German pole man to secure second place for the thrilling race with Hegewald in third – just ahead of Miki Monras and Mirko Bortolotti.
With Clarke leading on the first lap, further back there was contact at Graham Hill Bend as Jordan King made a move up the inside only to make contact with Kelvin Snoeks which also pitched Mihai Marinescu and Frenchman Benjamin Lariche out of the race.
The incident brought out the safety car, but at the restart Clarke was unfazed and quickly established a gap between himself and Pineiro with Hegewald dropping away into third. Clarke controlled the rest of the race, generally staying around a second ahead of his 19-year-old Spanish rival.
At the restart Alex Brundle made slight contact with Christopher Zanella to damage his car and pulling off at Graham Hill Bend but without the need for another safety car. Thiemo Storz was also running strong in eighth, including passing Zanella at Paddock Hill Bend, before spinning off on lap eight at Druids Bend.
Meanwhile Comma oil-backed driver James Cole enjoyed his best F2 result to date with eighth place, securing his maiden points finish, as did Jose Luis Abadin who claimed the final point in 10th place following a great battle with Mikkel Mac. Russian Max Snegirev also picked up his best ever finish with seventh, showing great pace throughout the 28-lap race.
Miki Monras finished fourth with Mirko Bortolotti improving on his grid penalty to claim fifth and maintain his championship leader while Zanella finished just behind the Italian in sixth.
Indian racer Armann Ebrahim was the final points finisher, his first since Silverstone, with ninth place but the race belonged to Brit Clarke who never looked under pressure and maintained a comfortable gap all the way to the finish.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Clarke said: “It’s perfect. I couldn’t have written that. I’ve not looked like knocking on the door of a win this year so to come here and to smash it so to speak is a big deal for me.”
The F2 cars are next in action for qualifying at 10am (local) tomorrow (Sunday). Be sure to follow all the action with live text commentary and live streaming of the race on the F2 homepage.
Brands Hatch, race one results:
1. Jack Clarke, 28 Laps
2. Ramon Pineiro, +3.137s
3. Tobias Hegewald, +10.729s
4. Miki Monras, +11.154s
5. Mirko Bortolotti, +11.930s
6. Christopher Zanella, +24.912s
7. Max Snegirev, +25.078s
8. James Cole, +40.075s
9. Armaan Ebrahim, +40.580s
10. Jose Luis Abadin, +1m10.258s