DOUBLE VICTORY FOR ATECH REID IN CHINA The Atech Reid-prepared cars of reigning champions Liverpool FC and Portuguese club FC Porto took two of the three race wins in Superleague Formula by Sonangol's first ever Chinese rounds at Ordos on Sunday.
DOUBLE VICTORY FOR ATECH REID IN CHINA
The Atech Reid-prepared cars of reigning champions Liverpool FC and Portuguese club FC Porto took two of the three race wins in Superleague Formula by Sonangol's first ever Chinese rounds at Ordos on Sunday. With Alvaro Parente unable to race due to visa issues, his place in the FC Porto car was taken by series commentator Earl Bamber, joining Liverpool FC's Frederic Vervisch and Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) in the team's usual line-up.
Bamber had gone to Ordos to be the TV commentator for the weekend but due to circumstances beyond the team's control, they drafted in the Kiwi even though he had to beg, steal and borrow a race suit, helmet, gloves and boots from his fellow drivers. With no time to make a proper race seat, he was also forced to take to the track with what the team already had available.
The first fly-away event of the season was held on a brand new track, and the day's opening race started in dramatic style with three of the top six cars eliminated early on. Vervisch (LFC) managed to avoid the chaos at the start but the Belgian was forced to retire on lap two when his engine let go.
As the race settled down, Bamber (FCP) had done an incredible job to get up to fourth place. During the pit stop however, a rival was deemed to have been speeding in the pit-lane, incurring a drive through penalty and promoting Bamber to the final podium finish.
Buurman (ACM) drove a solid race after a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday. The rapid Dutchman had led the title chase from the start of the season until the recent Italian rounds and managed to take sixth in the day's opening race to keep his championship hopes very much alive.
The reverse-grid race two had Vervisch (LFC) line up third after a brilliant job by the Atech Reid mechanics to change the engine between races. Thereafter, a near-faultless drive by the 24 year-old allowed him to capitalise on a mistake by the race leader to seize the place and pull out a ten second gap before easing up in the closing stages to take his second race win from two events.
Behind, Buurman (ACM) continued to rack up the points with seventh place to hold on to fifth in the championship battle, just 44 points adrift of the leader and with four races (212 points on offer) still remaining.
In the five lap dash-for-cash Bamber (FCP) brought his debut race weekend to a finish with a superb victory and collected a cheque for ^a100,000 for his efforts. AC Milan's Buurman had initially led the race, holding off a strong challenge from the Bordeaux driver and Bamber.
Several times the order changed behind Buurman (ACM) out front, but then disaster struck when the Dutchman suffered a slow puncture. Despite a determined effort and a superbly defensive drive for the remaining laps, Perera (Bordeaux) eventually found a way past on lap four and was soon followed through by both Bamber and Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht).
Perera went on to win, however he was penalised three seconds for lining up in the wrong position on the grid, promoting an ecstatic Bamber to race winner for FC Porto and extend the Atech Reid team's winning record this season.
Atech Reid also ran two Chinese drivers over the weekend, Adderly Fong (PSV Eindhoven) and Ma Quin Hua (China). Despite only ever having previously driven a Formula 3 car, both drivers adapted quickly to the 750 bhp Superleague Formula cars and showed improvement in their times throughout the weekend.
Fong finished tenth in the first race, much to his delight as he consistently set increasingly competitive times throughout the weekend, while Quin Hua, sporting the colours of his home country, received lots of support from the locals and finished 12th. In race two the pair again drove exceptionally well on their series debut to finish 11th and 13th respectively.
Frenchman Tristan Gommendy in the Olympique Lyonnais car was quick but in qualifying and race one was unable to capitalise on his car's pace as he struggled with his tyres. In race two, was unlucky to be forced out of a strong position when he was hit in the rear by another car, causing a rear tyre puncture, ending his race.
The team stays in China for the next rounds of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol championship at the Beijing track this weekend 9/10 October.
-source: atech reid