F2: Champion Soucek dominates season finale

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarSunday, November 1st, 2009

 
 

Andy Soucek seemed to have missed the memo telling him that he’d already won the championship when Formula Two convened for its last meeting of the year at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

The Spaniard converted two front-row starts into race wins, saying the chance to lead the field home in front of his home crowd was a highlight of his year.

And Soucek has since said that he is confident of securing a drive on next year’s F1 grid. He told Autosport explicitly that he is negotiating for a 2010 seat – separate from the Williams test he gets as part of his prize, a test the team has said will be looked at very seriously.

Robert Wickens, in the running for the championship number two slot alongside Mikhail Aleshin, took charge of qualifying to land himself a double pole with Soucek alongside him on the front row for both races.

But in race one Wickens failed to capitalise on his position, handing Soucek the lead into the first corner. He was followed past the Canadian by Aleshin and Formula Two first-timer Tristan Vautier.

And before much longer the source of Wickens’ uncompetitive performance became clear as he slowed to a stop and retired with mechanical failure. Aleshin chased the champion all the way to the chequered flag but was unable to close the gap to the leader.

Natacha Gachnang finished in seventh, taking her only points of the season.

Jason Moore’s race was knocked off-course early on thanks to a collision with Jack Clarke that banished him to the rear of the field. Despite having an initially competitive car he finished in last place.

The highest-placed Brit in the field was Jolyon Palmer in 13th, followed by Tom Gladdis in 14th, Alex Brundle in 15th, Jack Clarke in 17th, Ollie Hancock in 18th and Tom Moore in 19th.

In race two Soucek secured a second home victory as once again Wickens had a messy start, losing ground to the series champion and to Nicola de Marco. He was never able to recover the lost places but did take the runner-up spot in the championship as a result of his podium finish.

After passing Wickens at the start Soucek led to the flag, at a rate of sometimes more than a second a lap over his rivals, and came home with an eight-second lead.

Jolyon Palmer and Alex Brundle were the highest-placed Brits, finishing in 11th and 12th. Tom Gladdis was 15th while Jack Clarke and Jason Moore rounded off their weekend with another accident each, causing them to finish the race in 14th and 16th places respectively. Ollie Hancock was 18th for the second time this weekend.

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