F2: Winter testing kicks off in Valencia

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarThursday, December 3rd, 2009

 
 

Denmark’s Johan Jokinen topped the timesheets on the first day of Formula Two’s winter test in Valencia as the only driver able to get under the 1:27 mark.

He recorded a faster time than last season’s champion Andy Soucek, attending the event to provide a benchmark and help develop next year’s car, as well as 2009 competitors Jack Clarke and Jolyon Palmer, and British Champ Car and A1GP racer Dan Clarke.

Jokinen, 19, who drove for the Kolles and Heinz team in F3 Euroseries this year, finished fastest in the afternoon session and ended the day just under three tenths of a second ahead of the rest of the field.

Palmer recorded the second-fastest time with Soucek third, Jack Clarke fourth and Dan Clarke fifth.

Dan Clarke, whose highest position on the timesheets was fourth, said on his Twitter feed: “Not so bad for a rusty old hammer.”

When the list of drivers testing was announced, he said: ” I’ve been watching F2 closely this year and the cars look exciting and challenging to drive. My long-term sponsors Ticketmaster are also keen to investigate F2, so hopefully we may be able to put a deal together.”

All five drivers went faster than Robert Wickens’ pole time of 1:27.488 seconds set when Formula Two visited Valencia in May for the opening two rounds of the 2009 season.

Jokinen said: “It is always great to finish first – that’s what I came here for. Learning the new car was the greatest feeling, and using the boost was an enormous kick.

“The car demands a different style of driving to the F3 Euroseries, but it is really fun. I think the whole Formula Two concept is a really good idea, and since I like the car it’s a real bonus.”

Elsewhere in the field, Benjamin Lariche improved steadily throughout the day to end sixth fastest ahead of GP2 pilot Ricardo Teixeira.

Steven Kane, working with Soucek to develop the car for 2010, finished eighth fastest, with Adam Foster and Richard Plant, both testing as part of their prize for their performances in the 2009 Formula Palmer Audi Championship, rounding out the top ten.

The final session was red-flagged twice after first 15-year-old Jordan King and then Ramón Piñeiro spun. King was 11th-fastest overall, while Piñeiro finished 13th, having topped the morning session.

MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer said: “Johan did a great job today, and I think he surprised everybody with just how quick he was.

“He’s certainly showed a great deal of ability after just one day in the car, and I’m sure he could be a real title challenger in 2010 with the target of being Denmark’s first Formula One driver since Nicolas Kiesa in 2003.”

Formula Two Test, Valencia, day one:

  1. Johan Jokinen (DEN): 1:26. 736
  2. Jolyon Palmer (GBR): 1:27.019
  3. Andy Soucek (ESP): 1:27.317
  4. Jack Clarke (GBR): 1:27.329
  5. Dan Clarke (GBR): 1:27.360
  6. Benjamin Lariche (FRA): 1:27.709
  7. Ricardo Teixeira (ANG): 1:28.107
  8. Steven Kane (GBR): 1:28.208
  9. Adam Foster (GBR): 1:28.522
  10. Richard Plant (GBR): 1:28.543
  11. Jordan King (GBR): 1:28.721
  12. Benjamin Bailly (BEL): 1:29.030
  13. Ramón Piñeiro (ESP): 1:29.074
  14. David Rotar (SLO): 1:29.094
  15. Parthiva Sureshwaren (IND): 1:29.400
  16. Natalia Kowalski (POL): 1:29.641

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