- Formula Two Championship - Portugal Race 2
Stoneman hits back to renew title challenge
Dean Stoneman bounced back from a disappointing performance on Saturday to take victory in the second of the weekend's races in Portugal, overtaking Jolyon Palmer at the start and powering to his third win of the year.
Palmer, who had won the first race, finished second to maintain his lead at the top of the drivers' championship, but he had to fight off tough challenges from Nicola De Marco and Benjamin Bailly. He eventually finished less than half a second ahead of De Marco with Bailly a second behind in fourth.
"I was very consistent, I think every lap was within a tenth," Stoneman said. "On the first few laps I know it was only two or three tenths I was edging away, but towards the end it was more like four tenths due to how I managed the tyres. You never give up until the chequered flag in the last round of the season, so hopefully I can gain the points back and win the championship."
Palmer was delighted to take second, revealing he suffered throughout from mechanical problems. "It was such a hard race, I had a wheel nut undone on my front left so my steering was out and it just made it terrible through the fast corners. Even the slow corners I didn't have enough lock to get round the hairpin because of the steering so it was really tough to keep second; I was lucky that Nicola and Benjamin were fighting behind me, I just couldn't wait to see the chequered flag."
There was the almost customary first-lap chaos as Kazim Vasiliauskas and Armaan Ebrahim were eliminated from the race after a collision near the start, and then Jack Clarke took Kelvin Snoeks into the gravel with him forcing both cars to retire.
The best drive in the circumstances came from Will Bratt who took sixth despite suffering damage to his front wing which left him struggling for downforce. He successfully held off a determined challenge from Philipp Eng.
Polish driver Natalia Kowalska, 20, took ninth place on what was an impressive debut weekend.