Donington: Beijing team wins pole position
Beijing Guoan driver Davide Rigon will start from pole position in tomorrow's first ever Superleague Formula event – the Italian pulling out a stunning performance in today's qualifying shoot-out.
Rigon not only topped the timesheet in the Group B qualifying session, he set the fastest overall qualifying time, stopping the clocks at 1 minute, 18.746 seconds.
The top four drivers from each of the two groups did battle in the qualifying shootout. Rigon was joined from Group B by Robert Doornbos (AC Milan), Enrico Toccacelo (AS Roma) and Duncan Tappy (Tottenham Hotspur).
Group A shoot-out qualifiers were Borja Garcia (Sevilla), Yelmer Buurman (PSV Eindhoven), Kasper Andersen (Olympiacos) and Alesandro Pier Guidi (Galatasaray SK).
Rigon defeated Pier Guidi (Galatasaray) in his quarter final, Buurman (PSV Eindhoven) in the semi-final and then took the pole position battle against Garcia – going even faster in the pole shootout, recording a 1 minute, 18.529 second lap to lead home the Spaniard by 0.822 of a second.
Rigon and his Zakspeed team were thrilled to earn the first ever Superleague Formula pole position for Beijing Guoan – the club that is now set to move into the Olympic stadium.
Each of the shootout quarter, semi and pole battles featured two cars on track, separated by more than five seconds for a single flying lap.
Rigon will be joined by Garcia on the front row for the first race tomorrow, with Buurman and Andersen starting on row two – the PSV driver earning third courtesy of recording a faster time in his semi final.
Andersen pulled out the performance of the shootout when he came back in his quarter final to defeat AC Milan's Robert Doornbos after trailing in the opening two sectors of the lap.
Duncan Tappy and Tottenham Hotspur pulled out the best performance of the UK clubs, making the top eight shoot-out and qualifying eighth. Ranger's Ryan Dalziel was 15th overall while Liverpool driver Adrian Valles was unfortunate during qualifying – suffering an alternator problem which prevented him from setting a time.
DAVIDE RIGON (Beijing Guoan)
"I am very happy about my team and my car because we did a lot of work yesterday to find a good set-up and this morning the car was very fast.
"The car was great in qualifying but you not only need a good car, you need to make sure you don't make a mistake. It wasn't simple to ensure you didn't make an error in each of your one-lap shootouts.
"There is a lot of pressure to make sure you get it right. The 15 minutes qualifying session is just the start, then the battle begins."
BORJA GARCIA (Sevilla FC)
"I am really happy for myself and Sevilla FC because the car was strong and I did a good job.
"We have to wait and see tomorrow in the races and it is important to start with a good result. However, I am looking forward to fighting with Davide and the other drivers right up to the last lap.
"I think the qualifying format for Superleague Formula is unbelievable. You only need to concentrate hard and you don't have to worry about traffic, red or yellow flags or anything else – just you and the car.
"It is really hard to find a clear lap in other categories but here you can really show what the car can do."
YELMER BUURMAN (PSV Eindhoven)
"I hope the car is strong tomorrow, but we haven't tried it yet on full tanks so it will be interesting to see how the car will react.
"We were struggling a bit this morning, but we improved quite a lot as the day continued. Hopefully we can keep moving forward to aim to make the final shoot-out next time.
"It was very competitive out there with a lot of extremely experienced drivers so I am happy to be third."
KASPER ANDERSON (Olympiacos)
"I'm definitely delighted to be involved in the championship and we've seen a clear sign that this is going to be a big success for everyone.
"The format for qualifying is really exciting for both the drivers and the spectators.
"I was really happy to bounce back in my quarter final against AC Milan. I pushed a lot but made a mistake in the first sector, but the rest of my lap was really good."
Final classification after SF Round 1 UK qualification.
Qualification consisted of :
- Group A
- Group B
- Pole position Shoot-out
Qualifying Group A