Liverpool claim Race 1 victory at wet Zolder
Liverpool FC Superleague Formula driver Adrian Valles scored his club’s first series victory with a stunning second stint on rain tires at a damp Zolder in Belgium today.
RSC Anderlecht’s Craig Dolby grabbed the early lead, passing pole-sitter Paul Meijer from BVB on the opening lap.
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Liverpool’s Valles settled in third place while behind him championship leader Beijing Guoan (Davide Rigon) and AC Milan’s Robert Doornbos collided at the first corner - Beijing losing their rear wing and AC Milan suffering serious damage to the right front suspension.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Duncan Tappy was also in early trouble, suffering a flat tire and having to make an early pit stop.
Sevilla FC’s Borja Garcia brought out the safety car on lap 4 when he spun and struck the inside wall while running in fourth place.
When racing resumed five laps later, the pit stop window had opened and a number of clubs took the opportunity to make early stops, eliminating the chance of being caught out and losing track position due to possible later safety cars.
Liverpool, Roma, Basel, Porto, Galatasaray, PSV and Al Ain all made early stops and the decision turned out to be the decisive move of the race for the “Reds”.
Valles struggled to get heat into his Michelin wet tires in the opening stint, but made amends after his stop, now running 1-2 seconds per lap faster.
By the time Anderlecht had pitted four laps later, Liverpool bridged the gap and had stolen the lead by the time Dolby returned to the track.
BVB’s Paul Meijer appeared to wait until the end of the pit stop window, just making his stop before the next safety car which was brought out by spins from AS Roma and Galatasaray - in truth, the young Dutchman had lost his radio and was struggling to see his pit board in the spray.
At the finish, Liverpool led home Anderlecht and BVB with the impressive youngster Max Wissel scoring fourth for FC Basel - passing Atletico Madrid’s Andy Soucek late in the race. The top ten were completed by FC Porto (Tristan Gommendy), Yelmer Buurman (PSV Eindhoven), Rangers (Ryan Dalziel), Flamengo (Tuka Rocha) and Corinthians (Antonio Pizzonia).
In the championship standings, the demise of Beijing in the first race closed the points gap. The Chinese club now leads on 157 points ahead of PSV (153), Anderlecht (152) and Liverpool (140).
ADRIAN VALLES (Liverpool FC)
“I want to thank the team and Liverpool for trusting me to drive their car and I was able to give them a victory today and I hope this is not the last time this season.
“We lost many points at the Nurburgring but we are going to continue to push very hard until the end. It is going to be difficult because other teams are scoring points, but the gap now isn’t very big.
“In the race the other guys at the front did a good race but I had trouble getting temperature into my first set of tires. A was losing a bit of advantage from the guys in front but the team called me which was a good strategy and our other set of tires were much better.
“Straight away I was 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap faster per lap and that is what I think gave us the win. The car was really good. The track conditions were difficult but we made it and now I have to try to score as many points as we can in race two.”
CRAIG DOLBY (RSC Anderlecht)
“We’ve got the everyone here, the whole football team and it feels great. Four seconds in a row sounds nice, but three seconds and a win would be even better.
“We’ll give it a go in race two, have fun and try to pick up as many points as possible. At the moment we are very consistent and moving up the championship.
“Anderlecht is right up there now and there is no reason why we can’t fight for the title. We had a good race and led until the pit stops. We had an OK stop and unfortunately we came out in second. Points make prizes so to sit here three times in a row in second place is fantastic.
“To be within five points of the championship lead is great but now I will be out to try and take the lead and come out of my home race leading the championship for Anderlecht.”
PAUL MEIJER (Borussia Dortmund)
“It is amazing to score my first podium in my first weekend for Superleague Formula. It was really the first time in the wet conditions for me and I am still getting used to the car and the track.
“It was a whole new experience. It felt good and I was really comfortable in the car at the end.
“I hope to do better in the second race of course. For me to come away from my first weekend with pole position and a podium finish is fantastic.
“My radio broke early so I had try and look for the pit board on the straight. It was really hard to see because there was so much spray with the rain and I couldn’t see anything. I thought I saw the sign and came in - I lost a few seconds trying to find first gear again but that was the only problem.”
Race 1 - Zolder
||- 2.257 sec |
||- 1 lap|
||DNF - 6 laps |
||Alessandro Pier Guidi
||DNF - 6 laps |
||DNF - 7 laps |
||DNF - 21 laps |
||DNF - 23 laps |
||DNF - 24 laps |