Beijing sets sights on premiership glory Beijing Guoan’s Davide Rigon will have a host of local Spanish stars hot on his heals as his Chinese club is just one round away from premiership glory in the inaugural Superleague Formula championship.
Beijing holds a handy lead heading into the final 2008 event at Jerez in southern Spain next weekend – 59 points separating them from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven with Liverpool FC only a further three points adrift.
Going into the final round, only Beijing, PSV, Liverpool and AC Milan are in contention to claim the championship crown
With 50 points up for grabs for each race win, Beijing can see the finish line – but will still have to complete a solid weekend in Spain to claim the crown.
Two Spanish clubs and a trio of Spanish drivers will have their sights set on a strong finish the championship on home soil. Sevilla’s Borja Garcia took a race victory at the opening round of the championship at Donington Park but has been unable to return to the podium since that round.
Atletico Madrid’s Andy Soucek has recorded a series of fastest lap performances throughout the championship but has been struck with a series of misfortune and mechanical dramas.
Both Spanish teams and drivers will be looking to emulate the performances of Liverpool FC driver Adrian Valles. The Spaniard has recorded two race victories and also scored pole position at the last round of the championship at Vallelunga.
Even if PSV Eindhoven, Liverpool FC or AC Milan score a pair of victories at Jerez, Beijing Guoan can still claim the championship title.
Championship options: If PSV Eindhoven win both races, Beijing Guoan would win the championship by: - Finishing second in the opening race - Finishing third in the first race and simply starting race two - Collecting a further 42 points from both races, for example 8th and 9th in the two races
If Liverpool FC win both races, Beijing Guoan would win the championship by: - Finishing third in the opening race - Finishing fourth in the first race and simply starting race two - Collecting a further 39 points from both races, for example 9th and 9th in the two races
If AC Milan win both races, Beijing Guoan would win the championship by: - Finishing 11th in the opening race - Finishing 14th in the first race and simply starting race two - Collecting a further 15 points from both races, for example 15th and 16th in the two races
Al Ain driver Paul Meijer continues to face a race against time to be fit for the final round of the championship. The Dutchman broke bones in his hand during the practice crash at Vallelunga and had to sit out the event. Fellow Netherlands driver Dominick Muermans remains on standby to again fill in for Meijer who won the reverse grid race at the Estoril round of the championship.
After five rounds of the inaugural football-themed championship, seven clubs have claimed race victories including Beijing, Sevilla, AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, Liverpool FC, Al Ain and FC Porto. Thirteen football clubs have also stepped onto the podium throughout the year – the winning seven, plus AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, Flamengo, RSC Anderlecht, Galatasaray and Borussia Dortund.
In the unique knock-out qualifying format, only AC Milan’s Robert Doornbos has managed to qualify for the shoot-out at every round of the championship.
DRIVER QUOTES DAVIDE RIGON (Beijing Guoan) "Jerez will be a new track for me although I did do a test in GP2 there a couple of weeks ago.
"I'm certainly ready for the final round and I would love to cap the championship off with another victory.
"We will see how we go but I have a very good car and I will do my best. If we have any problems I will make sure I just collect enough points to win.
"The track is very good. They used to have Formula 1 here and it should be a lot easier to overtake here than Vallelunga.
"It will be difficult for the driver and quite challenging to go fast but I am really looking forward to it.
"Going into the final round it is quite unbelievable to have a 59 point lead. There are a lot of fast drivers in this championship and to win the title for Beijing would be fantastic."
ANDY SOURCEK (Atletico Madrid) "I have raced quite a lot here in Jerez including four years in Spanish Formula 3 as well as a lot of testing.
"It is a track that I really like and I am really looking forward to this weekend.
"We have demonstrated in the past three rounds that we have very good speed with lots of fastest laps. We have lot of potential but mechanically we have had problems so hopefully the team have solved all the issues and we can finish the year with the big result at our home race.
"This will be a very important race for us because a lot of people from the Atletico Madrid club will be attending so hopefully our luck will change.
"I'm not aiming for a podium, I will be out to win. We need to qualify well and work hard on making sure we are on the right tires at the right time in qualifying. "The team and I really want to win here."
ADRIAN VALLES (Liverpool FC) "I have only raced at Jerez once back in 2004 but that isn't a problem for me because I really like the track and I am looking forward to going back this week.
"It is a really nice area and I hope I can do well there.
"It was a shame at Vallelunga that we had a few engine problems which is unfortunate because it put Liverpool FC out of contention for the championship but you have to still push right up until the end.
"You never know what could happen. I will try my best to win the races and see if Beijing has any problems.
"It has a been a really nice championship this year. The car is great and the engine is very powerful. It has been one of the most fun race series I have been involved with in my career."
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