Palmer and Stoneman trade blow for blow in their battle for F2 supremacy
With fourteen rounds of the eighteen race series behind them, Jolyon Palmer and Dean Stoneman remain locked in a tense mano a mano struggle for the 2010 FIA Formula Two championship. Following an almost completely barren weekend at Brands Hatch in mid July, Comma-sponsored Palmer bounced back with another win and fifth place at the demanding Brno circuit, while Stoneman registered a brace of second places to slice another point from Jolyon's wafer-thin championship lead going into the weekend. It's now just four points the difference: 221 to 217!
Apart from these two, Austria's Philipp Eng is now the only other driver with a theoretical chance of displacing the battling Brits to claim the Formula Two title and a coveted Williams F1 test drive. But for him to do so, both the leaders would have to fail to add to their points tally in any of the four remaining races. As if!
Including Eng, half a dozen drivers remain in realistic contention for the third championship spot which - like the top two - will earn an upgrade to the ‘A' licence qualification required for drivers to compete in Formula 1.
Qualifying for Race 1 saw Stoneman holding his impressive Brands Hatch form. On a track which was new to him, he whittled his times down to edge Nicola Demarco out of pole position by just 0.045sec. A yellow flag late in the session jeopardised Jolyon's big effort, stranding him fifth alongside Philipp Eng on the third row, with Sergey Afanasiev and Benjamin Bailly forming the meat between them and the front row pair.
Now, Stoneman's short-lived overnight championship lead has reverted once more to Jolyon. Could the meagre four points separating them just prove to be the tipping point come the final chequered flag in Valencia on September 19th?
"Me and Dean have been pretty evenly matched the whole year, so I'm sure it will go down to the wire.......it's nice to have an advantage now and making sure I keep it after the last two rounds," said Jolyon. Dean's take on things was typically combative. "It's not going to be a problem overtaking him and take the championship. Before I was quite a few points behind, but I've gained quite a lot of points in the last few races...... hopefully I can pull away in the championship", he said.
Mind games? A battle of wits as well as driving talents? Who will have the last word? Don't bet against it going to the final race before we find out.
Meantime, there's a one month gap for everyone to catch their breath and re-group before the German rounds of the championship at Oschersleben on September 3/4/5th.
Visit www.formulatwo.com for total coverage and live streaming of every Formula Two event, plus a wealth of background stories on the drivers and other essential features to keep you fully informed on the championship. It's the best, most comprehensive motorsport site on the internet. There is also complete HD TV screening of every race on Eurosport and Eurosport 2. Don't miss a minute of the action.
In addition to sponsorship of Jolyon Palmer's car, Comma is also the official Technical Partner to the FIA Formula Two Championship. All 24 of the identical 480bhp Williams F1 designed JPH1B cars competing in the series use engine oils, coolants and maintenance products supplied by Comma.