French ace lines up for Portuguese champions
Portuguese champions FC Porto are sticking to a winning team for this year’s fast approaching Superleague Formula series, which kicks off in France on 28 June. French ace Tristan Gommendy returns to the hot seat of FC Porto’s 750bhp V12 powered single-seater race car. The 30-year-old driver scored FC Porto’s first Superleague Formula victory at Vallelunga, Italy towards the end of 2008’s inaugural season making it one of the teams to beat.
“I’m really happy to be coming back with Porto,” enthused Gommendy who first hit the international headlines when winning both the French F3 title and the prestigious Macau Grand Prix in 2002. “Everyone at the club was really nice to me last year and I now have a really good relationship with them, so it’s a big pleasure to restart with them. We had a very difficult beginning to the 2008 season and we struggled to break into the top five. Porto clearly had higher ambitions but it always kept faith in me – that’s why it was great that we won together at Vallelunga and finished second at Jerez. I know Porto has been pushing to keep me for this year, so I’m really happy because I believe we can do something great.”
There will be extra pressure on Gommendy to perform in 2009 as FC Porto now faces a new on-track challenge from Lisbon based Portuguese Liga team Sporting Clube de Portugal, a newcomer to Superleague Formula in 2009. “The arrival of Sporting, of course, adds another exciting dimension to this year’s championship. While it’s an additional team we will have to beat, it’s great news for the Portuguese fans… especially when we go to Estoril,” admits the Frenchman.
As well as relishing the battle with Sporting, Gommendy is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the high-tech Superleague Formula race car. He says: “I’ve done Champ Car in America and other major race series and this is definitely a fantastic car. It’s unquestionably one of the best in the world. Technically the car is very nice and 750 horsepower in a car weighing 700 kilos is fantastic – all the drivers love it. Moreover, I know there have been some further improvements have been over the winter, so I think it will now be even better.”
As a Frenchman living in Paris, Gommendy also is very excited that Superleague Formula is making its debut in France when the series bursts into life later this month at Magny Cours. “It’s very nice for me,” he grinned. “Superleague is replacing the French Grand Prix on the same date at Magny Cours and I hope there will be a big crowd. I was always quick at the circuit, so I’m hoping we will be able to make a fast start to the season.”
Hitech team director David Hayle. “We picked up Porto for the final two rounds and managed to win a race which was great. That says a lot about this team. The nice thing about working with Tristan like Adrian is the experience and knowledge he brings. In many ways it makes our job a bit easier. To get him and Adrian together should help us to get some fantastic results and it should really help Kasper, too.”
2009 Superleague Formula Race Dates:
Round Circuit Country Date
1 Magny-Cours France June 27/28, 2009
2 Zolder Belgium July 18/19, 2009
3 Donington Park UK August 1/2, 2009
4 Estoril Portugal September 5/6, 2009
5 Monza Italy October 3/4, 2009
6 Circuito de Jarama Spain November 7/8, 2009