Dream start for Comma’s driver as Bacheta seals Silverstone double in Formula Two season opener.
Less than two weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, Luciano Bacheta opened his challenge for the 2012 FIA Formula Two championship with a flawless brace of victories in the first two rounds of the series at Silverstone on the weekend of April 14th/15th.
Driving the Comma-sponsored 500 bhp Williams F1 designed JPH1B car No 4, Bacheta qualified second for the first race on Saturday and third for the second race on Sunday. In both races, he took a winning lead only on the penultimate lap after managing his tyres superbly and taking advantage of Formula Two's innovative new 'turbo boost zones' which mirror F1's 'within 1 second of the car in front' DRS regulations.
Saturday's events were initially dominated by the sensational pole position performance of the 15 year old Swiss, Mathéo Tuscher. With just over five minutes of the half hour qualifying session to go, the precocious teenager took full advantage of the latest F2 performance upgrades to bang in a lap over three seconds faster than last year's pole time and just over two tenths faster than Bacheta who joined him on the front row. Switzerland's Christopher Zanella – a winner at this event and championship
Tuscher's role in the spotlight was to prove all too brief once the race got underway. Two big errors at Becketts and Brooklands on the opening lap cost him dear, dropping him into the clutches of the mid-field where he had his work cut out to concentrate on his race craft and finally claim sixth place. Zanella meanwhile had rocketed into the lead ahead of Marinescu and Bacheta who had not made the best of starts, initially dropping to fourth before getting into the rhythm of his race. He soon got past the
Still smarting from having been denied a podium on Saturday, Marinescu made no mistake in claiming pole position over four tenths of a second ahead of Fontana for Sunday's encounter. Brits Bacheta and McKenzie made up row two, with Tuscher - unable to match his stellar first round effort -joining Mirocha on row three. Zanella was surprisingly off the pace, giving way
When the starter's red lights went out, Marinescu retained his advantage from pole, pursued by Bacheta who edged past Fontanabefore the first corner to set about chasing the leader. This evolved into an intriguing cat and mouse affair, with the Romanian enjoying a slight edge in the fast corners and Bacheta making it back in the slow bits. As the race progressed, Comma's man edged ever closer to the Romanian until, with a two laps to go, he was in a position to make his move for the lead. Once again, he chose Brooklands, right under the noses and much to the delight of Comma's VIP guests watching from the BRDC clubhouse and grandstand at that corner. Marinescu was unable to strike back in the final lap, leaving Bacheta to open a gap and take the chequered flag by over a second to round off a perfect weekend's work with maximum points.
The contest between the leaders had left the rest of the runners some seconds behind by half distance, with Fontana once again making the best impression and holding off McKenzie to claim a consecutive third place podium of the weekend. Tuscher was a further second back in fifth place behind McKenzie. Thereafter, the field was rather strung out, Zamparelli finishing over five seconds behind Tuscher, ahead of Pommer and a distinctly out-of-sorts Zanella. Zhu and Hurst claimed the final points in rather distant ninth and tenth places.
Not surprisingly, Bacheta was delighted with his start to the season. "There's a long way to go, sixteen races in all, but this weekend really couldn't have gone much better," he said. "I still need to do a bit of work on my qualifying because just like F1, it's really influential to the outcome of the racing in F2. I had to work hard in both races to maintain contact with the leader, but I was happy with my race pace and strategy of looking after my tyres and being in a position to strike when the time and opportunity was right."
In addition to sponsoring Luciano Bacheta's No 4 car in the series, Comma has been Technical Partner to FIA Formula Two, and the exclusive supplier of engine oils, coolants and maintenance chemicals to the championship since it was launched in 2009. All of the identical 500bhp Williams F1 designed Formula Two race cars are lubricated, cooled and serviced with maintenance products supplied by Comma.
You can read detailed race reports, view the complete championship standings and keep up with all the other latest FIA Formula Two news at the excellent official Formula Two website.
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