Luciano Bacheta continued his unbeaten run in this season's FIA Formula Two Championship in the fourth race of the year at Portimao, again retaining the lead under heavy pressure from teenage sensation Matheo Tuscher just as he had in Saturday's Race 1.
As well as extending his championship lead over second-placed Tuscher, the result meant that Bacheta became the first man to win four consecutive races since the series was launched in 2009.
Bacheta started the race from third on the grid, but made a wonderful move around the outside of polesitter Tuscher at Turn 3. Tuscher remained close to the British driver for most of the race, and looked as though he was going to pounce in the closing stages. He made an error on the penultimate lap however, which released Bacheta to take the checkered flag.
“From lap two I started to make the adjustments that I was making to the car in lap 18 yesterday so that puts that race into perspective,” said Bacheta. “I was struggling throughout the whole race and just had masses of oversteer. It was my fault as I made a bad call on tyre pressures and I should have stuck with what we planned. But nevertheless I’m happy to have won again. It’s been quite mentally draining this weekend having Matheo in my mirrors all the time and I was glad to see the checkered flag again.”
Tuscher held on for second place ahead of German Markus Pommer, and the Swiss ace put his mistake down to a lock-up from Bacheta.
“I was preparing to make a move on the last lap but Luciano surprised me with his mistake when he locked the tyres,” he explained. “I had smoke in my helmet and I got a bit of oversteer which caused my mistake but I’m still really happy with the result. I’m really happy for the weekend overall too as this is my first year in Formula Two.”
After setting the pace in pre-season testing, Pommer finally scored his maiden F2 podium finish after getting by last-year's runner-up Christopher Zanella on lap seven.
“It was really important to get past Zanella early on because my pace was really good at the beginning,” said Pommer. “I think I had the same pace at Luciano and Matheo but was two seconds behind them and you need one second for the overboost. At the end I was about seven tenths behind them but it was too late by then. I had one chance but it wasn’t enough. I learnt a lot from my battle with David Zhu yesterday and that I had to use the overboost early on the pit straight. This weekend has also been a lot better than Silverstone where I was pushing too hard.”
Zanella had a quiet run to fourth after being passed, crossing the line well ahead of a frantic battle for fifth. Dino Zamparelli won out after going side-by-side with fellow Formula Renault BARC graduate Hector Hurst, who then lost a place to another Brit Daniel McKenzie. Race 1 podium finisher Kevin Mirocha and series debutant Victor Guerin came home just behind in eighth and ninth. Alex Fontana finished tenth to complete a difficult weekend where he failed to scale the heights of his double podium finish he claimed on his debut in Silverstone.
The next rounds of the season take place at the Nurburgring in Germany on 25-27 May, where Pommer will hope to go well on home soil and start making up lost ground to Bacheta.