Scorching Stoneman Takes Portimão Victory

by Scott Wilkes

Dean Stoneman took a convincing win Race 2 of the FIA Formula Two Championship in heat of Portimão, Portugal. At the start of the race he managed to get the jump on Jolyon Palmer and continued to race away from the pack, finishing the race a full four seconds ahead of Palmer.

Palmer would manage to cling onto second after coming under pressure from Nicola De Marco and Benjamin Bailly as the race drew to a close. De Marco almost lost his podium position to Bailly after running wide on Turn 13 on the final lap. The fact that the gap between second and fourth was less than a second was even more impressive when, after the race, it was discovered that Palmer had been driving with a loose wheel nut on his front left.

Kazim Marinescu improved from ninth to fifth following a first lap collision involving Kazim Vasiliauskas, Armaan Ebrahim and Benjamin Lariche. Vasiliauskas and Ebrahim were forced to retire and Lariche rejoined at the back of the field. There was added drama on Lap 1 when Jack Clarke tapped Kevin Snoeks into the gravel with bot cars retiring.

On Lap 2, the race began to calm down, with Will Bratt battling with a visibly damaged front wing. The lack of downforce resulted in a train of cars behind him. Bratt came under attack from Phillip Eng but he failed to get past as Bratt continued to find his grip.

Sergey Afanasiev put in a great drive to make his way up to eighth from fourteenth on the grid, but he had Ricardo Teixeira on his gearbox as the pair gained on Bratt and Eng. Their fight ended on lap 17 however, when both cars spun into the gravel on the final corner, narrowly avoiding the stranded machine of Plamen Kralev who had crashed out a few laps earlier.

Bratt and Eng crossed the line in sixth and seventh respectively ahead of another scrap for eighth. Ivan Samarin recovered well from a spin midway through the race to put in a pass on the impressive Natalia Kowalska to finish eighth. Kowalska went on to score her second points finish of the weekend to cap a memorable event for the Polish 20 year old. The top ten was rounded out by Lariche who recovered well after his first lap collision to confirm his seventh points finish from ten races this season.

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