ATLETICO DE MADRID CHARGES INTO SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA BATTLE Although yesterday Atletico de Madrid took on Sevilla on the football pitch in La Liga competition, the red and white club also did already battle against their rivals in Nurburgring one...
ATLETICO DE MADRID CHARGES INTO SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA BATTLE
Although yesterday Atletico de Madrid took on Sevilla on the football pitch in La Liga competition, the red and white club also did already battle against their rivals in Nurburgring one week before.
In fact, Atletico Madrid fought it out against 17 leading clubs from around the world in an entirely new sport - making its Superleague Formula debut in the new football-themed motorsport championship.
Driven by home-grown Madrid-based Spaniard, Andy Soucek, the new Atletico car showed great promise on debut. Despite a technical problem eliminating the car from race one, Soucek made amends in race two, charging from the back of the grid to score a top ten finish in 9th place, and also recording the second fastest lap of the race.
Soucek moved across to the new squad after making his Superleague Formula debut at Donington Park for Brazilian outfit, Corinthians.
The GP2 racer and ex-Spanish Formula 3 champion was unlucky at the opening round - running as high as fourth in the wet second race before suffering a spin in torrential rain.
Atletico de Madrid will now compete against European clubs Sevilla FC, FC Porto, Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspur, Rangers, AC Milan, AS Roma, Borussia Dortmund, RSC Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, FC Basel, Galatasaray SK and Olympiacos; Brazilian rivals Flamengo and Corinthians; UAE club Al-Ain and Chinese squad, Beijing Guoan.
Like each of the other Superleague Formula clubs, Atletico de Madrid does not have to invest in the championship - in fact, they benefit from sponsorship and television revenues.
Soucek jumped at the chance to do battle in Superleague Formula with his home town club.
"I was born and raised in Madrid so it is an honour for me to now drive this car - this is one of the teams close to my home. I am really the only driver from Madrid competing on an international level so it really is an ideal situation for me," Soucek said.
"I'm really looking forward to meeting all the fans on Sunday. It's great we are playing Sevilla which is one of the other Superleague clubs.
"We had a few technical problems with the new car which gave us a few issues at the Nurburgring, but when it worked, the car was very fast. I was fourth in two of the practice sessions and I able to keep with the leaders in the second race quite easily and record the second fastest lap of the race
"I had a couple of attempts at passing the AC Milan car but we touched wheels I had was forced off track. That is when the Sevilla car got past. I made a couple of attempts to get through but the track is quite narrow. It was better for us to get a race finish and set our sights on the next race at Zolder.
"I qualified second there in my first ever race at Zolder, so I am really looking forward to going back with Atletico de Madrid."
Founded in 1904, Atletico has it sights set on return to European glory in 2008 - doing battle in the Champions League for the first time in 12 years. The club finished runner-up in the European Cup/Champions League in 1973/74 and also won the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup in 1961-62.
"Superleague Formula is a great opportunity for our club to expand our brand to a global audience," Atletico de Madrid President, Enrique Cerezo said.
"We returned to the Champions League this year and our new endeavours in to motorsport will provide our fans with something additional to cheer for."
"This is also a great source of potential income for us. The club does not have to commit any funds to the programme, in fact, we financially benefit. When you look at the programme, it boosts our brand to new fans, we make money and get the chance to see our colours in action at at 300km/h - it really is a fantastic opportunity for our club."
"For us to welcome Andy Soucek as our driver is also a great solution. He has become the #1 Madrid-born driver competing internationally and for our club - the selection was a very easy decision."