Super Pole for Super Perera on Superleague Debut He came, he saw, he conquered-- Estoril, Portugal, Saturday, 10am: Franck Perera sits in a Superleague Formula car for the very first time. Fast forward to 2pm that same afternoon: Perera has...
Super Pole for Super Perera on Superleague Debut
He came, he saw, he conquered--
Estoril, Portugal, Saturday, 10am: Franck Perera sits in a Superleague Formula car for the very first time.
Fast forward to 2pm that same afternoon: Perera has outpaced every single one of the 17 other - far more practiced - competitors to grab a stunning Pole Position.
In an all-Italian final Perera was the hero of the hour, the AS Roma driver holding his nerve to defeat AC Milan's Robert Doornbos in the single-lap shootout.
Perera was up in sector one, despite a huge powerslide exiting Turn 2, taking a 0.065s lead but Doornbos hit back in sector two, taking 0.079s out of him. It looked like it would be ultra-close...but it wasn't. Perera gained a whopping three-tenths in the final sector to take pole at his first attempt.
"I'm really happy, it's great to be on pole," said the CJ Motorsport managed driver. "It's a very exciting qualifying format, and we have been improving the car run-by-run today. The car was good everywhere today, not just in the last sector, and now it's my aim to win both races tomorrow."
Roma had got through to the Pole shootout final the hard way, and required stunning last sector times, including carrying vast speed through the daunting Parabolica final corner, to defeat Corinthians driver Antonio Pizzonia in the quarter final and Liverpool's Adrian Valles in the semi.
The Frenchman carried his great form to the start of race one when he opened up a six second lead in the first few laps, before dashing into the pits for his mandatory tyre change. Sadly, however, a sticky left rear wheel nut cost him 15 seconds and he re-emerged in third place behind Liverpool and AC Milan.
The top three maintained position until the chequered flag, seeing Perera take to the podium for AS Roma on his debut for the team.
"It was good to get a podium on my first time with the team", said Perera, "but when you start on pole you go for the win. We had a good car in the beginning and I was able to open up a huge gap but, unfortunately, we had a problem during the pit stop so we lost the lead. After that I tried to catch Robert and Adrian but it was difficult to overtake and I was unable to pass them. It was a pity because I think we had the fastest car, but it is still a good result for myself and AS Roma."
Perera's AS Roma car began race two from 16th position courtesy of the reverse grid. Unfortunately, his race was short-lived after an optimistic lunge from the Liverpool's Adrian Valles sent the Roma car spinning into the gravel on lap five, forcing Perera to retire from the race.
AS Roma fans will be eagerly awaiting the next round of the Superleague Formula championship which takes place at Vallelunga, just outside Rome on November 1st and 2nd.