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Lariche Tops F2 Winter Test At Portimao

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Benjamin Lariche set the fastest time in the two-day Formula Two winter test at Portimao. The Frenchman was third fastest on the opening day before going quickest towards the end of the second day at the Portuguese circuit.

Fellow series regular Jack Clarke was quickest at the end of Thursday's running, just ahead of fellow Brit Alex Brundle. Brundle was returning to the F2 car after racing in the series in 2009, having spent 2010 in British F3. The pair were amongst the pacesetters again on the Friday, with Brundle setting the second quickest time, just ahead of Clarke.

Spaniard Ramon Pineiro, who made his F2 race debut at the final round of the season at Valencia set the fourth quickest time, just ahead of 2010 champion Jolyon Palmer. Russian driver Max Snegirev was the quickest rookie in the test in sixth, ahead of Formula Renault graduate Mikkel Mac and Formula Renault 3.5 driver Bruno Mendez. Kevin Mirocha and Antonio Felix Da Costa drove on Thursday only, setting the ninth and tenth fastest times from the test.

Other drivers taking part in the test were Formula Palmer Audi graduate Jose Alonso Liste, Eurocup Formula Renault driver Andre Negrao and German driver Thiemo Storz. 2010 season drivers Plamen Kralev and Natalia Kowalska rounded out the times.

Speaking on the Formula Two website, Lariche said: It’s good for the confidence to feel fastest. After one year I feel comfortable in the F2 car, but the test helps because it gives you more time to analyse the data and try things on the car.

“The overall time wasn’t that important from today, because it was quite cold by the end and it was the first time some drivers had been in the car. To be fastest is the most important thing though and after two days I set the fastest time against guys like da Costa and Palmer, so I feel good.

“Hopefully now I can do the same at Barcelona – I know the track because I raced there in Formula Renault Eurocup, so I hope to get another good result there!”

At the end of Thursday's running, Clarke said: “My pace was good last year, but I want to put that behind me really. I’m not here to finish eighth, I want to be a lot higher than that. I felt like I sussed it and was really comfortable in the car at the end, and I’ve taken that momentum and carried it into testing – the proof of which was today I think.

“F2 is definitely a strong option for me – as per usual I haven’t got a huge budget but I’ve got a lot of people helping me and I’d certainly like to do this.”

There will be a second winter test at Barcelona on December 9/10.

Combined Test Times

1. Benjamin Lariche 1m34.619s

2. Alex Brundle +0.103s

3. Jack Clarke +0.166s

4. Ramon Pineiro +0.395s

5. Jolyon Palmer +0.497s

6. Max Snegirev +1.023s

7. Mikkel Mac +1.080s

8. Bruno Mendez +1.146s

9. Kevin Mirocha +1.391s

10. Antonio Felix Da Costa +1.413s

11. Jose Alonso Liste +1.483s

12. Andre Negrao +1.611s

13. Thiemo Storz +1.636s

14. Plamen Kralev +1.819s

15. Natalia Kowalska +1.886s

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