SF

: Series Vallelunga race two report

FC PORTO BRINGS DOWN THE FALL OF ROME AT VALLELUNGA FC Porto driver Tristan Gommendy shattered the hopes of AS Roma fans will a final lap pass for victory over Franck Perera at Vallelunga today. In a dramatic crash-filled reverse grid event,...

FC PORTO BRINGS DOWN THE FALL OF ROME AT VALLELUNGA

FC Porto driver Tristan Gommendy shattered the hopes of AS Roma fans will a final lap pass for victory over Franck Perera at Vallelunga today.

In a dramatic crash-filled reverse grid event, Gommendy started 11th and gradually worked his way through the pack - making passes and dodging drama to take the Portuguese club's first Superleague Formula victory.

In a dramatic crash-filled reverse grid event, Gommendy started 11th and gradually worked his way through the pack - making passes and dodging drama to take the Portuguese club's first Superleague Formula victory.

Gommendy passed eventual third placed man Yelmer Buurman on lap 17 and then hunted down fellow-Frenchman Franck

Perera who was leading for AS Roma. Perera looked set to grab a popular home town win only for Gommendy to pull off a pass on the final lap. The ex-Macau F3 Grand Prix winner and Champ Car stormed to victory but struggled to get himself out of the car in parc ferme - nursing an injured left hand which he hurt in a practice crash yesterday.

Only seven cars made to the finish after a series of spectacular incidents. Tuka Rocha (Flamengo) launched off the back of AC Milan's Robert Doornbos at the end of the front straight and then cannoned straight into Brazilian rival Antonio Pizzonia (Corinthians) on the opening lap at Curva Cimini. All drivers emerged unscathed - the same could not be said for their cars.

After a long safety car period, racing resumed with early leader Enrico Toccacelo losing the lead to Atletico Madrid's Andy Soucek. He then tried to fend off Perera at Curva Cimini at the end of the front straight. The Borussia Dortmund and AS Roma touched wheels with the BVB machine turning sharp left and suffering a heavy impact with the inside wall. Fortunately, Toccacelo emerged from the car unscathed.

The final incident took place on lap 27 when promising Greek rookie Stamatis Katsimis spun and was collected by Tottenham Hotspur's Duncan Tappy and Galatasaray driver Alessandro Pier Guidi. Stamatis was sitting in fourth place at the time.

Other race casualties were Sevilla's Borja Garcia (brakes) and FC Basel's Max Wissel (engine) Pit stop issues and eventual gearbox problems eventually curtailed Atletico's assault leaving Roma at the front of the pack.

Perera led from lap 14 through to 29, only to be caught by Gommendy on the final lap. Adrian Valles scored fourth place for Liverpool while Championship leader, Beijing's Davide Rigon, finished in 5th place.

Beijing now holds a 59 point championship lead with only two races remaining. The Chinese club leads on 353 ahead of PSV Eindhoven, 294; Liverpool FC, 291; AC Milan, 267; RSC Anderlecht, 244; AS Roma, 243; Galatasaray, 236; FC Porto, 218; Sevilla FC, 217; Tottenham Hotspur, 207; Corinthians, 205; Al-Ain, 200; Rangers, 190; FC Basel, 183; Flamengo, 171; Borussia Dortmund, 158; Olympiacos, 142 and Atletico Madrid, 120.

The final round of the Superleague Formula championship will be staged at Jerez in Spain on November 21-22.

DRIVER QUOTES

TRISTAN GOMMENDY (FC PORTO)

"I have to thank FC Porto a great deal. They have shown great confidence in me from the beginning and if I am here it is because of the faith they they have shown in me.

"The car was really nice since the beginning of the weekend and unfortunately I made a mistake in the second practice on Saturday and hit the wall and I have quite a big pain in my hand.

"It was very difficult for me in the race because the car was good but was hand was very sore. I knew where to best use the push-to-pass and I think that was the key to the victory.

"To overtake was very difficult but I did a good job to get through on PSV and AS Roma.

"When I overtook PSV I eneded up with a very big flat spot which made it difficult to see.

"It was unfortunate for Franck to lose for Roma here, but it was a big shame what happened to me at Estoril with the engine problem in Portugal. It was a terrible feeling but I am now delighted to give this victory for Porto today."

FRANCK PERERA (AS ROMA)

"It is very difficult to lose the victory like this on the last lap. It was already tough in the first race because we had a good car but then I had a huge problem with a flat spot on the tyre and had to retire.

"I was going for the win for the fans here. I nearly had a problem in the pits getting around Atletico and then I closed on Borussia Dortmund - he moved over and we touched and that caused the accident.

"After that I wasn't able to be as fast and it was very difficult to stop the car. I don't know what the problem was but Tristan was obviously very fast."

"It's good to get on the podium but to lose like this is pretty tough."

YELMER BUURMAN (PSV EINDHOVEN)

"It has been a difficult weekend because we were down on power during qualifying and practice and we had to change the engine for today.

"We were down the back of the grid for the first race and I just did what I could - scored some points but I still struggled with the car a little bit.

"For the second race we changed quite a bit and after the stop I could push quite hard on new tyres.

"After the stop they told me on the radio that I was third and the leader hadn't pitted yet which was good news.

"The team did a great pit stop which helped quite a bit. Porto was behind me but there was a lot of debris on the track from where BVB crashed. The 50 metre braking marker was gone and I braked a little late and Tristan was able to get through."

-credit: sf

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Series SF
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Davide Rigon , Robert Doornbos , Tristan Gommendy , Adrian Valles , Borja Garcia , Tuka Rocha , Yelmer Buurman , Andy Soucek , Alessandro Pier Guidi , Max Wissel , Franck Perera