Formula Two visits “spiritual home” on Yokohama rubber
Halfway through its first season supplying rubber to the series, Yokohama was at Brands Hatch last weekend (14-15 July) for the FIA Formula Two championship. The Official Tyre Partner called Kent’s Brands Hatch circuit the series' spiritual home, and was supplying drivers with its ADVAN A005 dry slick and ADVAN A006 wet tyres – a necessity with the inclement conditions in the south of the UK. The meeting saw another new face on the top step of the podium while a prospective motorsport student got a behind-the-scenes look at the series with the Yokohama technicians.
The UK distributor for Yokohama tyres and supplier of tyres for the series, Yokohama HPT Ltd, took the opportunity of the British round of the series to host a number of industry guests, demonstrating the benefits of supplying control tyres to Yokohama. In addition to the dealers, Yokohama was also hosting Corporal James Longmate from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers division of the British Army. Longmate is due to be medically discharged next month and in September will be embarking on a motorsport degree and as part of the Mission Motorsport initiative to help former servicemen into post-service careers, was assisting the Yokohama team over the weekend.
He was able to see how Yokohama services the series, not just at Brands Hatch but also, ahead of the following round next weekend at Paul Ricard in France. The tight timeframes mean that the Yokohama technicians were refitting the 500 wheels and tyres at Brands Hatch before leaving for Ricard and James was in the thick of the action, lending a beneficial hand to proceedings.
Commenting, Yokohama HPT head of Motorsport Mark Evans said; “When Mission Motorsport asked if we could integrate one of their members into our team for the weekend, we were more than happy to help. James will be leaving the Army soon and embarking on a career in motorsport, so a weekend behind the scenes with us at Brands Hatch gave him a useful insight into not only how the supply of control tyres helps make the series such a success but also, the numerous other aspects of motorsport.”
Qualifying on Saturday began damp but gradually dried as the overnight rain gave way to drier conditions. The drivers began the session on the ADVAN A006 wet tyre but as a dry line formed, they all elected to come in to change to the ADVAN A005 dry slick. By the end of the session, it was local hero and series leader Luciano Bacheta who claimed pole position, from Russian Max Snegirev and Kevin Mirocha.
Rain returned for the afternoon race and Bacheta was the first to lose out, with Mirocha leap-frogging him at the start and leading until the chequered flag. However, it was by no means an uneventful race, with two safety car periods after drivers came off the track thanks to appalling conditions. David Zhu spun at the bottom of Graham Hill bend and then on the re-start, Snegirev spun on the start/finish straight and took out Alex Fontana and Kourosh Khani.
Mirocha responded by opening an unassailable lead, followed home by Matheo Tuscher and Bacheta after a brief spell of putting the 15 year-old under pressure. Markus Pommer who made up the most, starting from 16th on the grid after a car issue prevented him from qualifying on slicks and finishing the race fifth.
Sunday’s race saw a brief respite from the British summer, as clearer skies remained dry all day. Mihai Marinescu took the pole-slot, followed by Christopher Zanella and Markus Pommer in third. Following a very busy grid walk, which included actor Robert Lindsay and TV chef James Martin, it was Marinescu who controlled the race from the lights to the flag, claiming his second win of the season. Zanella followed him home while it was Dino Zamperelli who upheld local honours, by taking his first podium of the year.
The weekend’s action means that Bacheta remains at the head of the points table with Zanella now second and Marinescu third, ahead of Tuscher.
This week sees the fastest turnaround for Yokohama and the F2 operation, as it moves directly from Brands Hatch to Paul Ricard in southern France. All wheels and tyres will be changed in the Brands Hatch paddock using Yokohama’s dedicated F2 support infrastructure and transported along with the entire operation overland, to arrive Thursday, ready for the next round of action.