Olympiacos wins Super Final as van der Drift continues to impress Superleague Formula by Sonangol rookie Chris van der Drift scored his first ever Super Final victory as the New Zealander's continued impressive form netted Greek club ...
Olympiacos wins Super Final as van der Drift continues to impress
Superleague Formula by Sonangol rookie Chris van der Drift scored his first ever Super Final victory as the New Zealander's continued impressive form netted Greek club Olympiacos a €100,000 prize fund in round 4 of the season at Magny-Cours.
After third and 12th place finishes in the weekend's two 45-minute races, van der Drift sneaked into the six-car, five lap Super Final as the last qualifier, but avoided the first corner chaos at the start to take the lead and control the whole race.
The shenanigans at turn 1 were sparked by pole sitter Craig Dolby of league leaders Tottenham Hotspur when the British driver out braked himself and forced off the fast-starting Max Wissel of FC Basel and AS Roma's Julien Jousse.
As cars scattered in avoidance, van der Drift had a clear path into the lead and led home John Martin of Beijing Guoan by 4.6 seconds at the chequered flag. Yelmer Buurman was third for AC Milan, and while Dolby's first corner mishap saw him spin into the gravel and retire, Wissel survived to grab a distant fourth and Jousse made it home in fifth.
Earlier, in race 2, Montagny scored his first Superleague Formula win as he guided the Bordeaux car to victory in an entertaining race.
The Frenchman made the decisive move on AS Roma's Jousse with ten minutes to go, using the push-to-pass button to overtake his countryman on the start/finish straight and regain a place he had lost during the pit stops.
Sporting Lisbon's Borja Garcia had led both Bordeaux and Roma before the pit stops but dropped way down the order after a dreadful stop cost him any chance of victory.
Almost 40 seconds behind the front two came Dolby who led a train of ten cars home to finish on the podium.
The Spurs driver was stunning in the opening stages of the race, climbing from 14th to eighth in the first two laps, then passing Flamengo before benefitting from superb pit work by his team to emerge third when the stops shook out. His pace wasn't the same on used tyres afterwards, but he held off a determined challenge from Liverpool's James Walker, who finished fourth.
Robert Doornbos netted fifth for Brazilian club Corinthians despite dropping a place after a slow pit stop, while Davide Rigon (Anderlecht), Wissel (FC Basel) and Franck Perera (Flamengo) were close behind in sixth, seventh and eighth.
Race 1 winner Martin worked his way up through the train of cars behind Dolby to net ninth for Beijing Guoan, while Buurman completed the top ten for AC Milan.
The most controversial moment of the race came as early as lap three and involved home favourite Maria de Villota in the Atletico Madrid car and Sebastien Bourdais of Olympique Lyonnais. The incident came as de Villota spun at the first corner, forcing the well placed Tristan Gommendy of Galatasaray to dive through the gravel trap in avoidance, and as she rejoined collided with Bourdais, ending both their races and leaving the Frenchman distinctly unimpressed.
Chris van der Drift, Olympiacos: "What can I say? It's an amazing result and excellent for the team. After starting the weekend with a small problem (in practice), to win the Super Final is fantastic. We now want to build on this and take that speed with us to the Nurburgring, which, unlike here at Jarama, is a track I've raced at before."
John Martin, Beijing Guoan: "Everything has come together this weekend. Hats off to the team because they stripped the car down after Magny-Cours to find out what was wrong, rebuilt it and here we are. After a strong season last year, I haven't started 2010 as well, so hopefully we're back now."
Yelmer Buurman, AC Milan: "I had a slipping clutch coming out of the pit lane before the Super Final so I was very careful at the start and it worked out quite well. Unfortunately I made a small mistake into turn 1 and went a little bit wide which allowed Olympiacos and Beijing to pass me. In race 2 I was so difficult to overtake. As all the cars were so close together, I was expecting one or two of them to make a mistake, but it never happened."