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: Scuderia Playteam Donington Park qualifying report

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree has first qualifying experience in Superleague Formula at Donington placing 5th and 7th Saturday, August 30, 2008 - Scuderia Playteam Sarafree had been placed respectively in group A and B for the first qualifying...

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree has first qualifying experience in Superleague Formula at Donington placing 5th and 7th

Saturday, August 30, 2008 - Scuderia Playteam Sarafree had been placed respectively in group A and B for the first qualifying round of the 2008 Superleague Formula season at Donington

The morning draw placed Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Galatasaray SK car in the first A group and Robert Doornbos driving for AC Milan in the second B group. After seven laps, Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK clocked the fourth fastest time of 1.20.087 after the first separate individual 15 minute qualifying sessions.

From these sessions, four cars from each group were to proceed to the knock-out stage. His car was selected for the second part of the qualifying and was sent off as a pair with Davide Rigon from Beijing Guoan. In the second session, group B, Robert Doornbos - AC Milan finished in second place of the four cars with a fast time of 1.19.155, 0.409s behind Davide Rigon and Beijing Guoan who were fastest.

Later, the eight fastest cars battled in a time attack format where no tire change and no refueling was allowed and the first two cars were sent off as a pair for three laps in the following sequence: Sevilla FC and Tottenham Hotspur, then Galatasaray SK-Beijing Guoan; PSV Eindhoven and AS Roma, and finally Olympiacos and AC Milan. This is where AC Milan and Galatasaray SK's drivers could not find the grip and the traction that they needed to go faster and were only part of the quarter final.

Overall, Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK only battled in the first quarter final against Beijing Guoan finishing with a time of 1.20.683 earning him a fourth row start in seventh place on the grid for the first race.

Robert Doornbos - AC Milan equally battled only in the quarter final and finished with a time of 1.20.160 that earning him fifth place and a third row position while Beijing Guoan will start the race from the pole.

Robert Doornbos - AC Milan explained: "Overall I had great fun in this qualifying session and format even if I am a bit disappointed with my final time because we started well in the first part. But we are reasonably happy with the pace even if we encountered some small technical problems like a gearbox downshift failure. We need to work hard on race strategy. It will be interesting to be so heavy on fuel during tomorrow's race and the strategy about fuel consumption, nursing and consuming tires will be key. I am very used to the rolling starts from my previous career in Champcar. If we work blind on the set-up before the race it will be a gamble because test it out."

Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK continued: "As such position 7 in qualifying, is not a bad result even if I always prefer to be faster. After my first experience, I can say that I prefer a "traditional" qualifying format. Reversing the result of race 1 to form the grid for race 2 is an interesting way to start a race. To complicate our tactical approach I am not sure that Donington Park track allows for much overtaking. During qualifying, we struggled a lot with the set-up. I do not know why the times in the morning were fast and later more slow. I suppose it has to do with the Donington track where races are tricky because there are constantly changing conditions. No one in the team has raced here before, but I am confident that the engineers will sort out the problems for tomorrow's race."

Gabriele Tredozi - Technical Manager Scuderia Playteam Sarafree added: "Everyone did a very good job in carefully preparing the season. Today Doornbos - AC Milan set his best time in the first lap of the outing of group B. But Scuderia Playteam Sarafree was hoping to be top three in qualifying with our cars AC Milan and Galatasaray SK. However we are 5th and 7th in the placement. Without changing anything on the car between the first and second part of the session, we lost a second a lap in the second part of qualifying, possibly because it was hard to warm up the tires and to find a good balance. Tomorrow the race will be a lot about race strategy with no pit stops and full fuel with a possibly 85 to 90 kilos load of fuel on a rolling start that will be hard for tires. It top it off rain is forecast. One of the keys to the race will certainly be the rolling start with which one of our drivers Robert Doornbos - AC Milan has experience. You need to be wise and cautious as well as fast. Reliability should not be an issue for the team. Let's see how our first 44 minute long race goes.

-credit: scuderiaplayteam.com

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Series SF
Drivers Davide Rigon , Robert Doornbos , Alessandro Pier Guidi