ITALIAN FANS HAVE PLENTY TO CHEER FOR AT VALLELUNGA SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA Italian football and motorsport fans will be eagerly awaiting next weekend's Vallelunga round of the unqiue football-themed motor racing championship, Superleague ...
ITALIAN FANS HAVE PLENTY TO CHEER FOR AT VALLELUNGA SUPERLEAGUE FORMULA
Italian football and motorsport fans will be eagerly awaiting next weekend's Vallelunga round of the unqiue football-themed motor racing championship, Superleague Formula.
Italian clubs AC Milan and AS Roma both qualified on the front row of the grid at the previous round at Estoril and the pair will be out to repeat their podium scoring performances.
AC Milan's Robert Doornbos has proven to be the championship's fastest and most consistent man in qualifying. The Nurburgring race winner has made for the shoot-out portion of qualifying at every round this year - the only man to achieve this feat.
He finished second in the opening race behind Liverpool at Estoril and then charged from the back of the grid to again grab the runner-up spot in the reverse grid race.
Series debutante Frank Perera scored pole on debut for AS Roma and went on to finish third in race one. Unfortunately, a tangle with Liverpool's Adrian Valles put him out of race two, but the young Frenchman who has driven in Formula Atlantic, Champ Car, Indy Lights and IndyCar in the past two years in the US showed he has top-line European pace as well.
But it is not just football clubs lining up as the main attraction for the local fans this week.
Italian Davide Rigon has but his Chinese club Beijing Guoan at the top of the championship table from the opening round of the series.
Rigon finished 5th in both races in Estoril - the second effort impressive after being forced to start from pit-lane in race two. The result extended Beijing's lead at the head of the championship table.
Local Roman Enrico Toccacelo also had impressive pace in Portugal for his new club, Borussia Dortmund.
The unluckiest man in Superleague Formula, Toccacelo has twice led races this season only for technical problems to strike virtually within sight of the chequered flag - the second time happening in race two at Estoril.
Turkish club Galatasaray also has an Italian star installed in its cockpit. Alessandro Pier Guidi has scored two podium results this season - the second coming in the previous round in Portugal.
Italian race teams are also in on the Superleague Formula action.
Both the Galatasaray and AC Milan Superleague Formula Racing Teams are managed by Italian race organisation Scuderia Playteam.
The Corinthians and Atletico Madrid squads also have an Italian influence with Eurointernational charged with their on-track performances.
The Euro-US operation has been the world's busiest major international race team in 2008, running 11 cars on both sides of the Atlantic and scoring a championship victory in Formula BMW in the USA.
Media and fans will get plenty of access to Superleague Formula in the lead-up to the Vallelunga event.
Both drivers will appear at their respective club's home games on Wednesday night - showing off their latest silverware to the local fans.
On track action kicks off on Saturday with practice and the unique knock-out qualifying shootout.
Sunday will feature two races - the second a complete reverse grid spicing up the on-track action.
ROBERT DOORNBOS (AC Milan)
"We had our official pre-season test in Vallelunga and I ended up quickest on two days so I am looking forward to going back there.
"AS Roma has a fast car now so hopefully we can have another all-Italian front row - that will really spice things up for the fans.
"I am going there with a good car and feeling good so I am definitely going for the win."
ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI (Galatasaray)
"Vallelunga for me is a home track and I have done a lot of laps around there in the past.
"In August in the Superleague Formula test we were very fast in the Galatasaray car so I am very much looking forward to the next race in the championship.
"It will be great to be racing Superleague Formula in Italy."
DAVIDE RIGON (Beijing Guoan)
"I'm very much looking forward to Vallelunga. I have raced there before in Formula 3 and Formula 3000 and done well. I scored a pole and finished second in F3000 and also had a runner-up spot in F3.
"For me it will be very important to qualify well at the front. With only two races to go in the championship, I can't take any risks. Obviously if there is a chance to go for a victory I will because it pays a lot of points.
"I know this track very well and I like it a lot.
ENRICO TOCCACELO (Borussia Dortmund)
"I did my first ever car race at Vallelunga and I won but I haven't raced there since Formula 3 back in 1999 - ever since then I have been racing around the world.
"I still go back there a few times a year for run driver training courses but obviously coming from Rome I would love to have a good weekend there.
"My luck hasn't been really good to lose races at the Nurburgring and Estoril while leading but in Portugal our pace was really good and it will be great to have a strong weekend at Vallelunga for the Borussia Dortmund team."
FRANCK PERERA (AS Roma)
"I'm really looking forward to the weekend because I get the chance to go to an AS Roma football match during the week and met some of the fans.
"Now I'm driving this car, I have thousands of new fans.
"I haven't run at Vallelunga for a few years but hopefully I can have better luck in the races because we were very fast at Estoril.
"We had a problem in the pits in the first race, then Liverpool ran into me in race two - it was a shame because the AS Roma car was very competitive.
"Hopefully we will see lots of their fans at the track on the weekend."