ANDERLECHT DOMINATES AS TITLE FIGHT CONTINUES 08/11/09 - Yelmer Buurman produced a dominant performance in race 1 of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol season finale at Jarama to clinch a first win of the season for Belgian giants RSC...
ANDERLECHT DOMINATES AS TITLE FIGHT CONTINUES
08/11/09 - Yelmer Buurman produced a dominant performance in race 1 of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol season finale at Jarama to clinch a first win of the season for Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht and gain revenge on Sevilla FC's Sebastien Bourdais.
Bourdais beat Buurman by just six thousandths of a second in yesterday's qualifying final to clinch pole position, but a fine passing manoeuvre immediately after the pit stops and then a string of unmatchable quick laps saw the Dutch driver avenge that loss.
Meanwhile, the title fight between English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will go all the way to the last race this afternoon as Spurs' Craig Dolby narrowed the lead of Liverpool's Adrian Valles by ten points.
The key moment of the race came ten minutes in as Anderlecht emerged from its pit stop with Sevilla's Bourdais, who had pitted one lap earlier, bearing down the start/finish straight.
The cars were side by side heading into the first corner, but Buurman held his line on the inside of the right hander, sliding into the lead on the exit. From there, Bourdais was unable to match the pace of the Anderlecht man, as Buurman rattled off a string of impressive lap times, including the race's best, a 1:20.011, finishing over 14 seconds clear at the chequered flag.
Giorgio Pantano completed the podium positions for AC Milan after a lonely run to third. Starting sixth, the Italian made a good start to move up to fourth and then inherited a top-three finish when Galatasary's Ho-Pin Tung went off early in the race.
Behind him, things were far more chaotic and had a direct effect on the title race.
Both Tottenham (10th) and Liverpool (14th) had started from the midfield but made up places at the start and during the pit stops.
Spurs' Dolby lost sixth place to a charging Julien Jousse of Roma midway through the race, but then saw a huge slice of luck fall in his favour with just two minutes of the race remaining.
Having passed Dolby and FC Basel's Max Wissel, Jousse began to close rapidly on Corinthians' Antonio Pizzonia. He made his move with a couple of laps remaining, but only succeeded in crashing into the back of the Brazilian, ending both their races. In the melee that followed, Wissel was badly baulked by the two stricken cars ahead, allowing Dolby to dive up the inside into fourth.
Wissel crossed the line fifth ahead of FC Porto's Tristan Gommendy, while Valles managed seventh following a late pass on Lyon, ultimately limiting his losses to Spurs during the late race chaos.
Olympiacos and Rangers both recovered to grab top ten finishes after a scrappy start to the race. Rangers' John Martin joined FC Midtylland's Kasper Andersen in the gravel after too many cars battled for two little space at the first corner. Guerrieri, meanwhile, spun on the exit of turn 1 on the opening lap, dropping him to the back of the field and immediately removing one of the pre-race favourites from the lead battle.
There was disappointment for fans of home favourites Atletico Madrid as Maria de Villota spun out on lap 2, although her non-finish means the series' only female driver will join Andersen on the front row of the completely reversed grid for race 2.
Tottenham's task is a tough one in the second race if the London club is to deny Liverpool a first Superleague Formula title. Trailing by 39 points, Dolby must finish at least third from 15th on the grid and hope that Liverpool doesn't finish the race!
Yelmer Buurman (Anderlecht): "The car was great and we also saved some tyres. The start was a bit tricky when Esteban (Guerrieri) nearly overtook me but then I managed to brake a bit later and go around the outside at the first corner. From then on I just followed Seb (Bourdais) who was a bit quicker in the beginning, and pushing really hard. Eventually he spun so I was right on his gearbox again and then one or two laps later he made his pit stop. I was in one lap later and the team did a great job. I rejoined with Seb alongside into the first corner but managed to overtake him there. From then on I just kept my head down and pushed really hard. The car was so good I was able to pull out 1.2 seconds a lap sometimes."
Craig Dolby (Tottenham): "Finishing fourth's helped cement the second place now. I was slightly catching the guys ahead and as soon as they made a mistake I put the car in the right position and got past them. When you qualify in the middle you have to try and come through, which is what I need to do again race 2. It would have been a lot easier if I'd qualified up front! We improved on the problems of yesterday. The car's still not quite right but we'll hopefully get it sorted for race 2 and see what we can do."
Adrian Valles (Liverpool): "It was a bit exciting at the end when I overtook one car on the last lap. The gap's now 39 points so it's still a good lead. I just need to concentrate and finish the race. I'm just aiming for a good result and to take it easy."
The second race and Super Final can be seen live on British Eurosport 2 (Sky Digital 411 and Virgin Media 525) today from 11.30am.