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GP Week : Issue 48
> F1NEWS> Wickens dominates opening F2 weekend THE inaugural weekend of the all- new FIA Formula 2 Championship has been completely dominated by Canadian Red Bull-backed driver Robert Wickens. The championship kicked off its season over the weekend at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, as the main support category for the World Touring Car Championship and the level of competition at this early stage surprised many pundits. Wickens took pole position in an incredibly tight qualifying session which saw the top 15 drivers covered by a second around the F1 test track, pipping Tobias Hegewald, right, and the very experienced Andy Soucek. Wickens led away from pole with ease at the start of race one with Soucek jumping up to second. Hegewald had fallen to fourth, but over the opening laps made it back up into a podium spot in third, before colliding with Soucek on the 14th lap as the Spaniard slowed putting both out on the spot and calling out the safety car. That left Carlos Ianconelli second with Kazim Vasiliauskas a fine third after enduring pressure from Julien Jousse and Mikhail Aleshin. The second race was another glory run for Wickens who recorded another lights to flag victory. Red Bull team-mate Mirko Bortolotti, pictured together right, screamed into second as the lights went out, followed by Philipp Eng, and for much of the race Bortolotti put Wickens under serious pressure. Wickens withheld the challenges and took the win from the Italian, as Eng held on for third under pressure from Soucek. “This is the best weekend of my career so far; it’s pretty much been perfect,”said a delighted Wickens. “From start to finish it has been good; we struggled a little in free practice but we didn’t lose our cool and everything fell into place nicely – it’s basically been a fairytale. It was a good race, Mirko pushed me a lot at the beginning but it was just fantastic. I can’t believe the weekend and the year have started so well.” The Canadian leads the early championship on 20 points, nine ahead of Bortolotti, with Iaconelli third on nine points. The next round takes place at Brno on the weekend of 19- 21 June. 1