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Brands Hatch: Series qualifying report

Martinez secures stunning maiden pole position Marcos Martinez (Sevilla FC) scored a stunning maiden Superleague Formula by Sonangol pole position in a thrilling qualifying final at Brands Hatch which saw him take victory over John Martin...

Martinez secures stunning maiden pole position

Marcos Martinez (Sevilla FC) scored a stunning maiden Superleague Formula by Sonangol pole position in a thrilling qualifying final at Brands Hatch which saw him take victory over John Martin (Beijing Guoan FC) by just two hundredths of a second.

The Spanish driver has never gone further than the quarter final stages of Superleague Formula's innovative qualifying knockout format before, but produced a superb display to defeat championship leader Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) in the quarter final and second placed Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) in his semi.

The achievement was even more remarkable as the 24-year-old had never even been to Brands Hatch before, but his time of 1:13.856 in the final was just enough to edge out Martin, who was left ruing a small error into Surtees as he pushed for pole.

Andy Soucek (Sporting Lisbon), in his second race meeting since returning to the Superleague Formula grid in Zolder two weeks ago, will start third on the grid alongside Dolby after he lost his semi final to Martin.

Buurman lost his clash with Martinez in the QFs after a trip through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, but will start fifth for race 1 tomorrow ahead of fellow losing quarter finalists Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos), Julien Jousse (AS Roma) and Franck Montagny (Bordeaux).

Dolby set the fastest time of the entire session, a 1:13.399, in the first part of qualifying as he topped the 'Group of Death', Group B, which contained five of the top six drivers in the standings.

While four went through, Max Wissel (FC Basel), who is fourth in the points, saw his championship hopes take a hit when he was eliminated, while fellow title-chaser Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht), who sits third, went out in Group A. Both drivers suffered after missing huge chunks of track time in the second Free Practice session, Rigon after crashing and Wissel with a clutch problem.

Robert Doornbos (Corinthians), who has made the semi-final and final in each of the last two rounds, was another who went off in practice and he also paid the price in qualifying by falling at the first hurdle as did a disappointed James Walker for reigning champions Liverpool.

Marcos Martinez (Sevilla FC): "This is a very special moment for me. We had a lot of bad luck at the beginning of the season and lots of problems, but now we are on pole and we have a really fast car. This is my first time at Brands Hatch, but already this is one of my favourite circuits! I love fast, flowing tracks like this one and I think we have a set-up that really suits them too. It's not easy to win a Superleague Formula race, but I'll concentrate on making a good start tomorrow and then just push and push!"

John Martin (Beijing Guoan FC): "I'm a little bit disappointed because I messed up going into Surtees in the final, so to only miss out on pole by two hundredths is a bit frustrating! Second is still good though and for sure we have got a really good race car - we showed that in practice where we were quick on old tyres. Brands Hatch is a very special place and this circuit as always been one of my strongest, so hopefully tomorrow will be good to us."

Andy Soucek (Sporting Lisbon): "I am delighted to be third. Even though I raced in Superleague Formula in 2008, everything is new for me since I came back in Zolder. The level of the championship is also really strong this year so this is a good result. It would have been a pleasure to be in the final, but I made some small mistakes in my semi final against John, so now I'm hoping for a good race and good pit stops tomorrow so we can fight for the podium."

Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur): "I've never raced here before, but I'm having great fun! Every corner is fantastic. We've not been quite there in the last few rounds, so it's awesome to be right back on the pace. We've got a good car for the race and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I want my championship lead back!"

-source: superleagueformula.com

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About this article
Series SF
Drivers Franck Montagny , Davide Rigon , Robert Doornbos , James Walker , Marcos Martinez , Julien Jousse , Yelmer Buurman , Andy Soucek , Chris van der Drift , John Martin , Max Wissel , Craig Dolby