• 2021 MSV Season Passes
  • MSV Driving Experiences
  • MSV Trackdays
  • YoungDrive with MSV
Monras leads the way on day one of winter testing

Tuesday, December 13 2011

Miki Monras ended the opening day of official Formula Two testing at Barcelona as the quickest man against an impressive field of new and returning drivers.

The Spaniard, who took a podium here during the season finale, made use of fresh tyres and cooler temperatures during the first 55-minute session to set a 1:35.950s which was not bettered throughout the day.

Romanian Mihai Marinescu, who finished fifth in this year's F2, finished second for the day with 2011 F2 runner-up Christopher Zanella third overall.

The test, which was split into four sessions, also saw more than half the field making their F2 debut with newcomers including GP3 driver Vittorio Ghirelli, two-time McLaren Autosport Award finalist Scott Malvern and German Markus Pommer among those to impress.

After Monras set the pace in the morning, the first afternoon session saw Marinescu lead the way lapping in the mid 1:37s, although running a mere 0.076s ahead of his nearest challenger.

Italy's Vittorio Ghirelli once again looked quick after topping the timesheets in session two by running third quickest just ahead of 22-year-old Malvern who recently sampled the JPH1B F2 car during this year's driver assessment for the McLaren Autosport Award.

Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks and Pommer continued to set strong times together with Zanella, who is still recovering from a snowmobile accident, and fellow Swiss racer Alex Fontana. British driver Aaron Steele, enjoying his test as part of his prize for his performance in the British F3 Cup, continued to make significant improvements running just outside the top 10.

For the fourth and final session of the day, drivers were able to use their overboost facility, increasing the car's power output to 500bhp. Newcomer Hector Hurst ran well early on before Pommer replaced him at the top of the timesheets with Fontana, Ghirelli and Brutschin all amongst the front-runners.

With 15 minutes remaining, Frenchman Maxime Jousse, younger brother of 2009 F2 racer Julien, moved into the top five just ahead of Malvern. In the final few minutes though, Monras, Marinescu and Zanella all posted quick laps with the Spaniard once again taking the honours to round off an impressive performance by the 19-year-old.

Speaking afterwards Monras said: "I really enjoyed the test day. I expected to be quick as it's my home circuit which I know well and managed to put in some good lap times using new tyres early on. I'm happy with my pace and we're looking at F2 as an option for next year but we'll have to see if we can get the budget together."

Ghirelli ended the day fourth overall, with Pommer fifth, Jousse sixth and Malvern seventh. Fontana, Liberati and Snoeks rounded out the top 10.

Testing continues tomorrow from 9am (local time) with full coverage available on www.formulatwo.com.  

Barcelona winter testing, day one results (combined):

1. Miki Monras, 1:35.950s
2. Mihai Marinescu, +0142s
3. Christopher Zanella, +0.583s
4. Vittorio Ghirelli, +0.773s
5. Markus Pommer, +0.924s
6. Maxime Jousse, +1.342s
7. Alex Fontana, +1.489s
8. Scott Malvern, +1.691s
9. Edoardi Liberati, +1.706s
10. Kelvin Snoeks, +1.735s