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Miki Monras tops F2 pre-season test at Snetterton

Wednesday, March 30 2011

Miki Monras topped the final FIA Formula Two Championship test of the season as the series took to the stunning new Snetterton 300 circuit for the first time today.

The Spanish GP3 graduate set the fastest time of 1:37.211s in the opening morning session, whilst Will Bratt impressed with the second fastest time despite not having driven an F2 car since the 2010 season finale in Valencia last September. German Tobias Hegewald, also switching to F2 from GP3, was third fastest.

Local Kings Lynn-based driver Alex Brundle repeated his excellent form from Silverstone last week to set the fourth fastest overall time, with Jack Clarke and Mirko Bortolotti completing the top six. Brundle was the fastest driver in the second session, while James Cole timed his run in the third section of testing to perfection to set the fastest time just as the rain began to fall. Will Bratt continued to show good pace in the afternoon and was the fastest man in the wet final session.

The fastest times were set in the dry morning sessions with rain falling steadily throughout the afternoon. The third session was overboost-enabled, but rain fell less than 15 minutes into the hour, meaning many drivers were unable to set a representative time. The final session of the day was also wet, but all drivers took advantage of the conditions to refamiliarise themselves with wet weather set-up and tyres.

Alexey Karachev drove a Williams JPH1B F2 car for the first time in the test, while Christopher Zanella, who joined winter testing in December, also returned to F2 after missing the Silverstone test last week. Briton Tom Gladdis continues to recover from a serious foot injury and did not attend today but is expected to be fit in time for the Silverstone opener on 16/17 April.

Monras was delighted to emerge fastest as he continues to adapt to the 425bhp F2 car: "We have done two days of testing and they have been very positive - second in Silverstone, first here and also in the wet we had a good feeling. I hope we can still keep this pace at the first race; that's the goal and what we fight for."

Bratt was equally positive after setting the fastest time in the wet session: "That went well, obviously! We're still looking to secure the budget for the main season, so hopefully this will be a step in the right direction and give us something that we can take to the sponsors.

"Despite the lack of track time - this is the first time I've driven any race car in about 6 or 7 months, I think we showed we're quick."

A capacity 24 cars (23 drivers plus the F2 test car) joined the test today on the new 2.99 mile Snetterton 300 circuit.

Overall F2 Snetterton Testing times:

1. Miki Monras, 1:37.211s
2. Will Bratt, 1:37.612s, +0.401s
3. Tobias Hegewald, 1:37.655s, +0.444s
4. Alex Brundle, 1:37.752s, +0.541s
5. Jack Clarke, 1:38.225s, +1.014s
6. Mirko Bortolotti, 1:38.285s, +1.074s
7. Ramon Pineiro, 1:38.310s, +1.099s
8. Mihai Marinescu, 1:38.352s, +1.141s
9. Benjamin Lariche, 1:38.654s, +1.443s
10. Kelvin Snoeks, 1:38.655s, +1.444s
11. Maxim Snegirev, 1:38.753s, +1.542s
12. Mikkel Mac, 1:39.086s, +1.875s
13. Christopher Zanella, 1:39.244s, +2.033s
14. Thiemo Storz, 1:39.384s, +2.173s
15. Armaan Ebrahim, 1:39.401s, +2.190s
16. Sunghak Mun, 1:39.489s, +2.278s
17. Daniel Cammish, 1:39.729s, +2.518s
18. James Cole, 1:39.767s, +2.556s
19. Parthiva Sureshwaren, 1:39.990s, +2.779s
20. Natalia Kowalska, 1:40.264s, +3.053s
21. Jose Luis Abadin, 1:40.737s, +3.526s
22. Plamen Kralev, 1:41.382s, +4.171s
23. Alexey Karachev, 1:42.268s, +5.057s