Superleague set for battle on the Adriatic Just as the new football season begins to gather pace, so Superleague Formula by Sonangol returns from its month-long summer break this weekend when the championship touches down at Adria International...
Superleague set for battle on the Adriatic
Just as the new football season begins to gather pace, so Superleague Formula by Sonangol returns from its month-long summer break this weekend when the championship touches down at Adria International Raceway, Italy, for round eight.
The 1.679-mile, 13-turn circuit on the Adriatic coastline of northern Italy's Veneto region is a tight, twisty and technical affair which rewards those capable of stringing together a series of corners in quick succession.
Although this last month has been quiet on the racing front, there's still been plenty of talking points, not least the media fallout from Chris van der Drift's huge Brands Hatch accident at the beginning of August.
Unsurprisingly, the Kiwi hasn't recovered from his injuries in time to contest the Adria races, leaving Olympiacos with a seat to fill. His Supersub for this weekend will be former Formula Renault 3.5 runner-up and current GP2 development driver Ben Hanley.
The Briton has no prior experience of Superleague Formula however and will need to learn quickly if he's to maintain the Greek club's title hopes. Despite his accident, van der Drift scored another impressive points haul in Britain to sit just 57 adrift of leaders Yelmer Buurman and AC Milan.
After trailing for the first four rounds, the Dutchman finally prised top spot away from Craig Dolby and Tottenham in Zolder, only for the British driver to reclaim the league lead after Brands Hatch's opening race, before Buurman's exploits in race two and the Super Final eventually guaranteed him a two-point advantage going into the summer break.
Yelmer Buurman, AC Milan: "I have been practicing on the Playstation and from what I can tell and have heard it is a small circuit with many slow corners. There will be some Italian guests and I also hope some players and people from the club. I haven't been to watch AC Milan yet but I think something has been planned for September.
"The speed of the car has been fast the whole time which has been important for me to achieve these results. The wins in the first and third races at Magny-Cours were great and I also felt we were very dominant at the Nurburgring."
Craig Dolby, Tottenham: "It's tight and twisty! But it seems alright actually. From what I've seen on the videos it looks like we can overtake. Because it's so short, traction is going to be a massive factor. The plan is take the championship lead back and we're looking very good in that respect. At Brands Hatch, both me and (ADR team mate) John (Martin) had a very fast race car underneath us. So I'm looking forward to Adria, and also Portimao, because this is a crucial stage of the season.
"I've been on holiday, chilled out, re-focused myself and am ready for the end of the season. My wrist is also completely fine now and I'm back in full training."
One man hoping to turn the title fight into a three-way scrap this weekend will be Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht) who should go well on home soil. The Italian comfortably leads the 2010 money list, having already cashed in €425,000 this season, and is only 36 points off the championship pace in third.
Davide Rigon, RSC Anderlecht: "Adria is a track I know very well having driven there so many times and won in Formula 3 and Formula Renault. For Superleague Formula it will be an unusual circuit, I think the slowest of the season, and will require a set-up quite different to that used on other tracks. It's a bit like Monte Carlo - low speed with many braking-points.
"'My' Adria will be a very special event because there are so many people who will be there supporting me, living not far from the circuit. But I won't feel any extra pressure. On the contrary, it will positively charge me!
"My dream is to leave Adria at the top of the championship standings. It will be difficult, but to hope does not cost anything, and I'll certainly do my best."
In other driver news, European F3 Open runner-up Celso Miguez is the latest man to sample Olympique Lyonnais' surroundings, while Duncan Tappy retains his seat at Flamengo for a third race running in preference to Franck Perera.
You can catch all this weekend's qualifying and race action live on www.superleagueformula.com, while UK viewers can see coverage of all three races on ESPN (Sky 417, Virgin Media 529, BT Vision 34) from 10.45am and 5.45pm.