Liverpool and Al-Ain score victories in Estoril Liverpool and Al-Ain may have taken the race victories at the Estoril round of the Superleague Formula championship, but championship leader Beijing Guoan came away from Portugal with the biggest smile on their faces after extending their championship lead.
After his race two Zolder victory, Beijing's Davide Rigon held a 14 point lead heading into Estoril but has now extended that out to 35 points with two rounds remaining.
Beijing finished fifth in both races and now leads PSV by 35 points with Liverpool FC a single point behind.
FC Porto's Tristan Gommendy had a heartbreaking day after retiring from race one with an engine problem while running in fifth place. Despite 30 bus loads of Porto fans making the trip to Estoril, Gommendy was unable to compete in the second race after the team ran out of time to make an engine change.
Liverpool FC's Adrian Valles took the opening race victory over AC Milan's Robert Doornbos and new AS Roma driver Franck Perera. However, in race two the Spaniard clashed with Perera causing him to spin into retirement. Liverpool's race was also ruined after he was forced to pit for a new front wing.
New Borussia Dortmund driver Enrico Toccacelo also had a heartbreaking day. For the second race this year, Toccacelo held the race lead until the closing laps but this time a oil pressure issue ruined his afternoon. A late race gearbox problem ruined his chance for victory in race two at the Nurburgring.
However, new Al-Ain driver Paul Meijer benefited from the Italian's misfortune to score his and his new club's first Superleague Formula victory in the reverse grid race.
AC Milan's Robert Doornbos pulled out an incredible effort to score his second runner-up finish of the day while garage-mate Alessandro Pier Guidi scored third place.
Beijing now leads the championship on 271 points ahead of PSV Eindhoven (236), Liverpool FC (235), AC Milan (216), Sevilla FC (199), AS Roma (190), RSC Anderlecht (189), Galatasaray (180), Tottenham Hotspur (173), SC Corinthians (169), Al-Ain (167), FC Basel (161), FC Porto (145), Borussia Dortmund (143), Rangers (132), Flamengo (130), Olympiacos (110), Atletico (99).
The Superleague Formula round was attended by the football-themed championship's biggest crowd to date with 25,000 fans viewing the action at the former home of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The championship heads to Italy for the next round of the championship at Vallelunga near Rome on November 1-2.
RACE 1 QUOTES ADRIAN VALLES (Liverpool FC) “We did a very good pitstop but it was not enough to overtake Robert, I had to overtake him on the track. It was difficult, but I made it and I am really happy for the win.
“We had a good strategy, a good stop and we worked very hard overnight to make sure I had a good car for the race today.
“It will be difficult off the back of the grid in race two. I was able to overtake Robert because my tires were up to temperature after the stop and I could brake later.
“Now we will be all equal in race two. We always say it will be difficult to overtake the reverse grid but every race we go to we see lots of overtaking, so lets see what happens.”
ROBERT DOORNBOS (AC Milan) “I started on the front row and obviously I was going for the win, so second place is not where I wanted to be.
“I think it was the most realistic result as we didn’t have the fastest car today but we were definitely in the top three.
“We now have to work on the car for race two and make it quicker. I am really fighting to keep the car on the track and to follow the pace.
“The other teams are developing well but need to do our job as well. Second place is good however for both AC Milan and myself.”
FRANCK PERERA (AS Roma) “It is good for me to get a podium in my first race, but as Robert said, when you start on the front row of the grid you want to go for the win.
“We had a good car in the beginning and I was able to open up a huge gap but unfortunately we had a problem during the pit stop so we lost the lead. After that I tried to catch both Robert and Adrian but it is difficult to overtake and I was unable to pass them.
“It is a pity because I think we had the fastest car but it is still a good result for myself and AS Roma anyway.”
TRISTAN GOMMENDY (FC Porto) “We did a pretty good job during the weekend because yesterday the car was pretty difficult to drive and the FC Porto Racing Team worked hard to develop the car during the three practice sessions.
“We obtained a pretty good set-up and the qualifying was OK. With the new tires it was quite difficult but towards the end of the race I was the quickest car on track but unfortunately we had a problem with the engine and we couldn’t change it in time for the second race. “It was a real shame for the FC Porto fans because there were 30 buses of fans came down from Porto to see the car run today.”
- 1 lap DNF
- 1 lap
- 6 laps DNF
- 30 laps DNF
- 31 laps DNF
RACE 2 QUOTES PAUL MEIJER (Al-Ain) “The weekend started off really tough for me and I had problems with the set up. The track was new for me and the car wouldn’t go as well as I would like. “I made a few mistakes in race one and we made more changes in race two. I made no mistakes in race two and that is what kept me up front. “I was settling in for second place then all of a sudden I really started catching the BVB car really quickly. After I was leading it was an amazing feeling. It is great for Al-Ain and hopefully this is the first of many for us.”
ROBERT DOORNBOS (AC Milan) “I was smiling so much inside the car. The first couple of laps were just great - the outside, inside, I was passing people everywhere. “I had a very strong pace and I was gaining a lot on the people in front of me. I did have a radio failure so I didn’t know when to come in but we had to work with the pit board. I had a good stop and was pushing hard and I couldn’t believe it when I saw P3 on the board. “It was going well and I ended up second. It has been a great weekend for me with two podium results and do it in front of a lot of fans is brilliant.”
ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI (Galatasaray) “The team has done a great job today, especially after yesterday when my car wasn’t very quick and the set-up wasn’t good. “Our team worked very hard overnight and today the car was perfect and it is great to get on the podium. “The next race at Vallelunga for me is a home track and I have done a lot of laps there in the past. I did a lot of kilometres there in testing in August and I was very fast so I am confident for the next race.
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