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Assen: Series qualifying report

Rigon puts Anderlecht on pole at Assen Recently-crowned 2009/10 Belgian First Division champions RSC Anderlecht will start Sunday's opening race of round 2 of the 2010 Superleague Formula by Sonangol season from pole position at Assen on ...

Rigon puts Anderlecht on pole at Assen

Recently-crowned 2009/10 Belgian First Division champions RSC Anderlecht will start Sunday's opening race of round 2 of the 2010 Superleague Formula by Sonangol season from pole position at Assen on Sunday.

An impressive qualifying display from the club's Italian driver Davide Rigon secured pole, his first since the opening Superleague Formula event at Donington Park, UK, in 2008, as he defeated ex-F1 driver Franck Montagny of series' newcomers Bordeaux by more than half a second in the final with the fastest lap of the entire day, a 1:23.687.

Frenchman Montagny had bounced back from a difficult opening weekend for the French club last month at Silverstone with a fine run to the final, knocking out Italian giants AC Milan and AS Roma in the quarter and semi finals respectively, but didn't have the pace to defeat 2008 Superleague Formula champion Rigon.

The beaten semi finalists were also both French-born drivers recovering from difficult starts to the season as Franck Perera (Flamengo) and Julien Jousse (AS Roma) secured places on the second row of the 18-car grid for race 1 tomorrow. Third was particularly impressive for Perera, who was making his racing comeback in the Brazilian club's car after nine months out of action, while Jousse again highlighted his burgeoning talent with fastest time of all in the group stages.

The beaten quarter finalists, who will line up on rows 3 and 4 tomorrow, included home favourites Yelmer Buurman in the AC Milan car and Chris van der Drift, driving for Greek club Olympiacos. Galatasaray's Tristan Gommendy and Porto star Alvaro Parente also survived the group stages but didn't progress beyond the final eight.

Table-topping Tottenham Hotspur were one of several high-profile casualties of the group stages when Craig Dolby went out in Group A, but the English Premier League club was in good company as FC Basel, third in the standings, and Olympique Lyonnais, fourth, also fell at the first qualifying hurdle.

That should bode well for tomorrow's opening race as Spurs' Dolby, Basel's Max Wissel and Lyon's Bourdais, all notorious hard-chargers, look to make their way through the pack from near the back of the grid.

Davide Rigon, RSC Anderlecht: "It was good because when we started at Silverstone we were a bit at the back but we've worked well this weekend. For today we were thinking about fifth or sixth place but not pole position! But it was a fantastic lap for me. The car was working very well. I have a good car so will try to push very hard at the beginning but it will be difficult to build a gap. The race will be long so it will be a big fight."

Franck Montagny, Bordeaux: "We worked very hard to get ready for this race. In truth, at the first one we were absolutely nowhere and everything came around too quickly so it was just a testing session for us. We had mechanical problems and everything else so I'm very happy to be here, to feel good with the team and to find a good set up with the car. I guess we just started our championship here."

Franck Perera, Flamengo: "It went pretty well. It's been nine months since I stopped racing so I didn't imagine to be in the top three this weekend, but the car is good and run by run we improved so yeah, I'm really happy. It's a shame because I made a little mistake in the semi-final against Rigon and could have been in the Super Final. But the race is long. I want to thank the team, they did a really good job."

Julien Jousse, AS Roma: "It was nice to be so quick in Group B and after I just tried to do my best but the car got a bit of undertsteer and I lost a couple of tenths. I'm quite happy though because free practice was very difficult. The race at Silverstone was very long so anything could happen. I will try to apply pressure and have a good pitstop and score some points because for me, Silverstone was a disaster."

-source: superleague formula

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Series SF
Drivers Franck Montagny , Davide Rigon , Alvaro Parente , Julien Jousse , Yelmer Buurman , Max Wissel , Craig Dolby , Franck Perera