Mihai Marinescu

Romanian ahead of Hurst and Tuscher

Mihai Marinescu got his Brands Hatch weekend off to the best possible start by topping the timesheets during this morning’s (Friday) opening Formula Two practice session.

In a stop/start 45-minute stint following two red flags, the 23-year-old posted a best time of 1:15.875s late in the session using slick tyres on the damp but dry track. He was closely followed by Hector Hurst, who went briefly top, with Swiss teenager Matheo Tuscher in third.

After this morning’s showers, the field was greeted with a damp but drying track with drivers choosing to go out on a mixture of slick and wet tyres. Romanian Marinescu was the early pace-setter on a new set of tyres with Luciano Bacheta, one of four Brits racing this weekend, in second.

2011 F2 runner-up Christopher Zanella, Hurst and Tuscher were all looking quick behind him with the times starting to creep down as the track dried out, before a brief stoppage due to Markus Pommer stopping on track.

It was 22-year-old Zanella who was quickest after the restart breaking into the 1:16s before Tuscher, currently lying third in the drivers’ standings, went even faster to go top. A spin by David Zhu at Paddock Hill Bend, the Chinese racer learning the circuit for the first time, then caused the second red flag, with Tuscher also having a moment on the exit to Westfields.

Just five minutes remained as the green flag was waved with Brit Hurst, who celebrates his 20th birthday this weekend, briefly went top before Marinescu just pipped him with a superb late lap, already close to Mirko Bortolotti’s pole time from last year.

Swiss racer Zanella finished fourth with Zimbabwean Axcil Jefferies impressing in fifth. Kevin Mirocha ended sixth ahead of Alex Fontana and Mauro Calamia. Current championship leader Luciano Bacheta could only manage eight with Plamen Kralev rounding out the top 10.

Today’s second practice session gets underway at 15:10 (local time) with full coverage on the F2 website.

F2 Results: Brands Hatch – Practice 1:

1. Mihai Marinescu, 1:15.875s
2. Hector Hurst, +0.340s
3. Mathéo Tuscher, +0.346s
4. Christopher Zanella, +0.486s
5. Axcil Jefferies, +0.819s
6. Kevin Mirocha, +0.892s
7. Alex Fontana, +1.043s
8. Mauro Calamia, +1.148s
9. Luciano Bacheta, +1.202s
10. Plamen Kralev, +1.345s