BEIJING BOUNCES BACK FROM RACE ONE DISASTER TO PROTECT TITLE LEAD Beijing Guoan's Davide Rigon bounced back from a race 1 disaster to win race two of round three of the Superleague Formula championship today at Zolder in Belgium. Rigon started...
BEIJING BOUNCES BACK FROM RACE ONE DISASTER TO PROTECT TITLE LEAD
Beijing Guoan's Davide Rigon bounced back from a race 1 disaster to win race two of round three of the Superleague Formula championship today at Zolder in Belgium.
Rigon started on the outside of the front row of the reverse grid race and challenged pole man Robert Doornbos (AC Milan) at the start and edged away on the opening lap. The pair made contact in race one - eliminating both cars at the first corner.
Corinthians Antonio Pizzonia suffered a spin on the opening lap in race two, bringing out the safety car. When racing resumed after six laps, Rigon sprinted away in the lead to extend a large gap.
Track conditions continued to take their toll on the field with Galatasaray (Alessandro Pier Guidi)suffering a spin and dropping to the back of the field.
Race one winner Liverpool (Adrian Valles) and Aletico Madrid (Andy Soucek) were the first to pit but Rigon held a 10 second lead over AS Roma's Enrico Toccacelo after ten laps.
After the round of compulsory stops, Beijing continued to lead over Roma and PSV Eindhoven's Yelmer Buurman. Trouble then began to strike with FC Porto's Tristan Gommendy suffering a spin and subsequently was awarded a stop-go penalty for "unsporting driving" after he made contact with the Al Ain car of Bertrand Baguette at the next corner.
Flamengo's Tuka Rocha completed a bad day for the Brazilian fans with damage to his front wing. But local fans' hopes were shattered on lap 18 when RSC Anderlecht's Craig Dolby retired at turn one with a transmission issue. After recording his third consecutive second place finish in race one, Dolby had moved up to eigth from the back of the grid.
PSV star Buurman also suffered a problem when his pit lane speed limited was activated - forcing him to drop from third place.
Late in the race AS Roma had a train of cars in his wake with his lap times starting to drop - Tottenham Hotspur's Duncan Tappy was able to get through to second place while Buurman fought back to third.
Toccacelo eventually fell back to seventh - being passed by AC Milan's Robert Doornbos, FC Basel's Max Wissel and Liverpool's Adrian Valles.
The result cemented Beijing's lead at the had of the point standings - albiet with a reduced margin.
The Chinese club leads on 207 points followed by PSV Eindhoven (193), Liverpool FC 171), RSC Anderlecht (159), Sevilla FC (150), Tottenham Hotspur (149), FC Basel (146), AS Roma (143), FC Porto (138), AC Milan (126), Galatasaray (114), Rangers (112), Borussia Dortmund (108), Al-Ain (103), Corinthians (97), Flamengo (96), Olympiacos (80) and Atletico Madrid (64).
DAVIDE RIGON (Beijing Guoan)
"I started very well and I was able to get past Robert at the first corner. He tried to get back past me in turn two but I was able to hold on. I have to say thankyou to all my team - they were really perfect. The track was slippery but the car was really easy to drive and I didn't have any pressure from anybody.
"It was bad in the first race when Robert hit me. Nobody could see anything and I lost a lot of points in the first race.
"I spoke quite a bit with my engineer during race two because sometimes it is easy to make a mistake when you have nobody pressuring you, but I had a good feeling with the car - it was no problem. It was very easy for me."
DUNCAN TAPPY (Tottenham Hotspur)
"It is great to be back on the podium - it is the only place where racing drivers want to be. It is also great for Tottenham Hotspur because the club needs a bit of good news at the moment.
"It was a brilliant race for me - I really enjoyed it. The first race wasn't enjoyable at all, I couldn't see anything - it helped to have the right visor for race two.
"It was really good to do some overtaking and end up in second position - I am very happy.
"In the second race it sort of dried up but it was still very greasy so it almost has to get more slippery before the grip comes back.
"It was just a case of having to judge it every lap. It wasn't easy at all - a very hard race."
YELMER BUURMAN (PSV Eindhoven)
"I am very pleased because the weekend started out very difficult for us. In the end of free practice we were really struggling with some problems with the car and we didn't have very good top speed.
"The mechanics and all the technical staff did a great job to fix the car for today.
"Today the speed was back but it was really difficult in race one because you can't see anything through all the spray. You can't make a mistake or crash into anyone and I just had to try to finish well in the points.
"I was a bit unlucky in race two because the pit lane speed limiter came on at one stage and I lost a few spots just before the end. I had to fight my way back to get back on to the podium."