HITECH JUNIOR WINS IN SUPERLEAGUE OPENER Hitech Junior dominated the opening rounds of the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Magny Cours this weekend taking victory in Sunday's first race and then again in the Super Finale with...
HITECH JUNIOR WINS IN SUPERLEAGUE OPENER
Hitech Junior dominated the opening rounds of the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Magny Cours this weekend taking victory in Sunday's first race and then again in the Super Finale with the Liverpool FC car of Adrian Valles. The 23 year-old Spaniard drove faultlessly throughout the weekend, with victory in the 10-minute finale while sixth place in the second 45 minute race also puts Valles at the top of the leader board.
The David Hayle-led team, also fielding cars for FC Porto (Tristan Gommendy) and FC Midtjylland (Kasper Andersen) dominated Friday's free practice, the trio topping the time sheets prior to qualifying on Saturday. In their respective groups, Valles led the way in Grp A to easily go through to the Quarter Finals while Gommendy and Andersen in Grp B also went through, with second and fourth quickest times respectively.
For Andersen however, a blistered tyre meant he was unable to take part in the Quarter Finals, and Gommendy was pipped by RSC Anderlecht leaving Valles flying the Hitech banner in the semi-finals. A superb performance by Valles, pitched against Anderlecht had him qualify through to the pole-shootout against Corinthians in which he lost out on the top spot by just three tenths of a second.
In the first of two 45 minute races, Adrian dropped to third off the line, passed by Tottenham Hotspurs while pole sitter Corinthians led, although Valles was soon back up to second. A multi-car incident further down the field in which Gommendy was an unfortunate victim forced out the safety car and saw the FC Porto car into the pits to replace a wheel.
This allowed the field to bunch up and at the restart Valles wasted no time in disposing of Corinthians for the lead, which he maintained during the mandatory pit-stop and extended to nearly 14 seconds at the flag. For Andersen, starting from the back of the grid, a stirring drive through the field netted a superb eighth place but for Gommendy a gearshift problem eventually forced retirement.
With the whole grid reversed for the second race, it was Gommendy's FC Porto car that lined up first of the three Hitech-run cars, the young Frenchman starting from the second row. Behind him, the FC Midtjylland car of Andersen started 11th with Valles right at the back.
At the lights, all three made a good getaway but a spin for FC Porto on the opening lap dropped him down the order, putting Andersen's FC Midtjylland car in eighth and the highest Hitech car. A steady drive by Valles and Gommendy over the course of the race allowed them to move up through the order, the duo enjoying a battle for eighth place. On the final lap Valles and Gommendy capitalised on a gearbox problem for the Tottenham car, the pair crossing the line sixth and seventh while Andersen, struggling with a broken exhaust came home in 15th.
New for 2009 is the Super Finale, a ten minute sprint race for the first three from each of the two previous races, with the winner of the opening race taking up the pole spot. This ensured Valles would start from the front and after a great getaway, the young driver, in his second season in Superleague Formula, never put a wheel wrong to take a resounding four-second victory.
The team's Superleague Formula campaign resumes at Zolder in Belgium in two weeks time (18/19 July), where it hopes for a repeat of Liverpool FCs and Valles' debut victory last season to extend its slender two-point lead over RSC Anderlecht.