Lariche Sets Early Pace In Valencia

Frenchman Benjamin Lariche was quickest in the first Formula Two practice session at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Jack Clarke set the initial pace during the session, before Philipp Eng went fastest. The Austrian looked set the end the session in first place, but Lariche topped the timesheets with a late flying lap.

It was the first time Lariche has gone quickest in a session in F2. The Frenchman has good memories of the circuit at Valencia as he took his first victory in cars there in 2008, when competing in the Formula Renault West European Cup.

Eng and Clarke finished the session in second and third, with Kazim Vasiliauskas beating Sergey Afanasiev to fourth by just one thousandth of a second. Nicola De Marco was sixth quickest, ahead of Kelvin Snoeks in seventh and Will Bratt in eighth. Mihai Marinescu was ninth fastest, with Benjamin Bailly rounding out the top ten.

Championship rivals Dean Stoneman and Jolyon Palmer both had a poor session by their high standings. Stoneman ended up 11th, with Palmer in 14th.

Formula Two debutant Ramon Pineiro ended the session 17th out of the 19 runners.

After the session, Lariche said he was hoping to convert his early form into strong race results to finish the season. I think we can still get quicker as we were on old tyres, so we’ll go through the data and work towards changes we can make. It was a good performance, but the most important thing is to carry it on for the weekend. I hope to finish in the top five, maybe even the podium – it would be fantastic to finish the season that way.”