Marinescu Tops Pre-Portimao Test By 0.001s

Mihai Marinescu - Photo Credit: Formula Two
Mihai Marinescu - Photo Credit: Formula Two

Mihai Marinescu recorded the fastest time at Thursday's pre-event test for the second round of the FIA Formula Two Championship in Portimao, edging out Kevin Mirocha by just one thousandth of a second in the day's fourth and final session.

German driver Markus Pommer, who had previously been the man to beat in pre-season testing at Silverstone but only lies eighth in the points after the opening race weekend, topped the day's first three sessions.

In the first session of the day on a wet but drying circuit, Pommer finished up 0.178 seconds ahead of 15-year-old Matheo Tuscher, who had set a sensational debut pole position at Silverstone two weeks' ago. Brit Dino Zamparelli was third quickest, more than half a second adrift, with Marinescu and Mirocha completing the top five.

Session two saw Pommer more than four tenths ahead of nearest rival Marinescu, with the session again taking place in wet conditions. Tuscher and Zamparelli maintained their promise with the third and fourth quickest times respectively, with Silverstone double-winner Luciano Bacheta fifth as he celebrated his 22nd birthday.

The track had dried come the afternoon for the third session of the day, but that didn't stop Pommer from remaining at the head of the timesheets. It was close this time, with Chinese driver David Zhu surprisingly emerging as his nearest challenger and just 0.048s slower. Mirocha was third, with Bacheta and Alex Fontana in fourth and fifth.

The fourth session saw drivers allowed to use their overboost function, allowing Marinescu to post the fastest time of the day. Former GP2 racer Mirocha, who only joined the F2 grid on the eve of the Silverstone weekend with no pre-season testing, fell just 0.001s shy of the Romanian driver's time. Bacheta and Pommer were third and fourth, within a tenth of Marinescu's time in an extremely close session.

Indian Parthiva Sureshwaren was an unexpected fifth ahead of Tuscher and Plamen Kralev, who are separated by 24 years in age but were only a place apart in the day's final ranking. Fontana was eighth, ahead of David Zhu and Hector Hurst.

Max Snegirev and Victor Guerin made their series return and debut respectively, and finished up 15th and 16th of the 17 runners.