Last weekend saw Formula Two's maiden visit to the Paul Ricard circuit in France where 15-year-old Mathéo Tuscher secured his maiden victory to become the championship's youngest ever winner. He followed that up with second in race two where German Markus Pommer came home to take the honours for his second win of the season. The weekend also saw podiums for championship leader Luciano Bacheta, Daniel McKenzie and Christopher Zanella with just two rounds (four races) left to play out. Formulatwo.com recaps on how the weekend went for each driver at the sun-soaked circuit…
#4 Luciano Bacheta R1: 2nd R2: 5th
The Brit may well have scored heavily at the French circuit but he knows only too well that his lead in the drivers' standings is quickly being eroded. Mathéo Tuscher is now just 32.5 points adrift, even less when you apply dropped scores, putting the pressure back on Luciano to keep his cool. At Paul Ricard he struggled a little through Turn 11 to lose time but even so began race two from P4 and jumped into P2 off the line. Despite a slight moment at the chicane, he finished on the podium followed by a fifth place in race two.
#7 David Zhu R1: 13th R2:
After showing great pace at Portugal earlier in the season, the Chinese racer has struggled somewhat and once again endured a frustrating weekend at Paul Ricard. A slight tap from Plamen Kralev going into the chicane in race one cost him time and he was again involved in racing incidents in race two, this time with Mauro Calamia. David will now look to regroup during the summer break and come out fighting at the Hungaroring.
#8 Plamen Kralev R1: 12th R2: 9th
Paul Ricard proved to be a positive weekend for the Bulgarian and the venue for his first points of the 2012 season. After a slightly scrappy race one which saw him make contact with both Alex Fontana and David Zhu, he qualified eighth for race two and certainly made the most of the opportunity. He showed good pace, as he had done all weekend, to lose just one place and should look to continue this momentum into Budapest.
#9 Mihai Marinescu R1: 7th R2: 7th
Although a points finisher in both races last weekend, Mihai will be disappointed not to have done better at Paul Ricard. He struggled with a lack of grip in Q1, eventually finishing seventh after a fierce battle with Christopher Zanella. It was a similar story on day two, only this time he was battling with Dino Zamparelli, to once again finish P7 and consequently drop to fifth in the drivers' standings.
#10 Alex Fontana R1: 14th R2: DNF
Alex's bad luck continued at Paul Ricard where yet again the Swiss driver came away empty handed. In race one he was obstructed by a spinning Plamen Kralev on the opening lap to drop to the back of the grid and bring out the safety car. Meanwhile, a tangle with Hector Hurst cut short his second race leaving him eager to bounce back in Budapest.
#12 Mathéo Tuscher R1: 1st R2: 2nd
In his own words, Paul Ricard was Matheo's 'best ever weekend in Formula Two' and not surprisingly after his superb maiden win and second place. The teenager looked quick all weekend and converted his P1 start in race one into a lights-to-flag victory to become the championship's youngest ever winner. He just missed out to Markus Pommer in race two to finish second and cut down the deficit to championship leader Luciano Bacheta.
#14 Mauro Calamia R1: 11th R2: 11th
After picking up his maiden points finish at Brands Hatch, the Swiss racer was unable to reproduce a top 10 finish last weekend at the sun-soaked French circuit. He battled to P11 in race one and looked to be on course to improve on that in race two until contact with David Zhu cost him time. For his debut season, the 20-year-old has shown glimpses of his true potential and will look to finish the remainder of the season on a high.
#18 Dino Zamparelli R1: 4th R2: 6th
The young Briton continues to gain in confidence in his maiden F2 season and was once again in the hunt for the podiums. The 19-year-old looked racy all weekend and could so easily have come away with a top three result, especially in race one. After a slow start to the season, Dino looks set to finish on a high and could well end up in the top five.
#19 Christopher Zanella R1: 8th R2:
By his own admission, Christopher's 2012 title shot came to an end at Paul Ricard after dropping to third in the drivers' standings with two rounds left to play out. He endured an eventful race one, battling fiercely with Mihai Marinescu only to cut the chicane and hand himself a drive-through penalty after refusing to give back the place. He recovered to finish eighth after passing both Hector Hurst and Axcil Jefferies on the final lap. Race two was slightly less chaotic with Christopher retaking Kevin Mirocha to claim back his third position but it may prove too late for the Swiss.
#20 Daniel McKenzie R1: 3rd R2:
Having raced here before, a lot was expected of Daniel at Paul Ricard and in the first race he certainly delivered with his second podium of the year. However, he struggled in Q2 to only qualify 10th and although gained two places, he may well be wondering what could have been.
#22 Axcil Jefferies R1: 10th R2: 10th
Five points finishes from the last five races shows just how far Axcil has come in Formula Two since his debut at the Nűrburgring earlier this year. He continues to gain in confidence and looked comfortable at the unfamiliar track to finish both races in the top 10. He'll now want to focus on improving in qualifying in order to give himself the best chance of moving up the order.
#24 Kevin Mirocha R1: 6th R2: 4th
Kevin's weekend might have begun slowly but things improved by the time race two came around. He struggled with a different wing set-up in Q1 to start P9 and managed to hold his own until the chequered flag. He improved to start P4 for race two and was on course for a podium until Christopher Zanella overtook him at the chicane midway through the race.
#27 Markus Pommer R1: 5th R2:
Markus was certainly on the pace this weekend and could well have had a double podium had it not been for a poor start from the front-row in race one. He finished fifth in the end after suffering steering wheel issues but more than made up for it in race two with a fantastic lights-to-flag victory to give his championship hopes a real boost.
#35 Hector Hurst R1: 9th R2: DNF
Hector's first visit to Paul Ricard proved to be a frustrating one, especially in race two. After struggling a little for outright pace, he managed to finish inside top 10 in race one to pick up his ninth points finish of the season. However, a collision with Alex Fontana in race two cut short both drivers' races leaving Hector eager to come out stronger in Budapest next time out.