Jarama Races 2 & 3: Tung and Buurman win
Liverpool claimed the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol title in front of 33,000 spectators in the season finale at Jarama after a spectacular weekend of racing at the Spanish circuit.
Adrian Valles drove intelligently throughout the final meeting, scoring seventh and fourth place finishes, to protect the healthy points lead he held over Tottenham Hotspur’s Craig Dolby coming into the weekend, despite the British driver’s best attempts to cause an upset in race 2.
Anderlecht’s Yelmer Buurman was the other star of the weekend as he backed up his race 1 victory with a win in the six-car, five-lap Super Final to net a €100,000 prize, while Galatasaray secured their first ever Superleague win thanks to a faultless drive from Ho-Pin Tung in race 2.
The Super Final saw two of the six runners out of the reckoning within seconds of the start as Dolby stalled from pole position and FC Porto’s Tristan Gommendy out-braked himself into the first corner while fighting Sevilla’s Sebastien Bourdais for the lead.
Bourdais also went slightly wide into the first turn, allowing a gleeful Buurman to drive up the inside and take a lead that he would never lose. Bourdais finished second, over one second down, while Valles, already in jubilant mood having clinched the title just minutes earlier, held off Tung’s attack for third.
Race 2 had seen Tung produce a fine drive to give Galatasaray its first win. Starting from third on the fully-reversed grid, the Chinese-Dutch driver, who had shown strong pace all weekend, nailed front row starter Maria de Villota (Atletico Madrid) off the line and passed pole man Kasper Andersen of FC Midtjylland a few laps later to take the lead.
He then set a consistently fast pace throughout the 45 minute race to take a well received victory for the Turkish club.
While Tung’s performance was impressive, it wasn’t quite as spectacular as Dolby’s, who did everything he could to wrestle the title from the grasp of Liverpool and Valles.
Starting down in 15th on the grid, Dolby avoided the first corner chaos which eliminated the cars from PSV Eindhoven and Corinthians and severely compromised the races of Olympiacos, FC Basel and Rangers.
After a short Safety Car period to clean up the wreckage of the PSV machine, Dolby was sensational on the restart, immediately passing race 1 winner Anderlecht and title rival Liverpool. He then followed Sevilla’s Sebastien Bourdais up the inside of Nelson Panciatici in the Lyon car, before demoting Bourdais with a ballsy move around the outside of the first hairpin. Enrique Bernoldi in the Flamengo car and de Villota were then easily dealt with, putting Tottenham into second place.
Dolby stayed out significantly longer than everyone else before finally making his mandatory pit stop, but his rapid pace wasn’t enough to jump Tung, the British driver eventually settling for second.
His display also wasn’t enough to win the title as Valles drove a sensible race for Liverpool, rising from tenth at the start to finish fourth behind FC Midtjylland, securing more than enough to seal the crown. FC Porto was fifth after a charging through-the-field drive from Tristan Gommendy, with Sevilla in sixth.
Atletico Madrid fans had something to cheer at their local event as de Villota held on for seventh ahead of FC Basel, for whom Max Wissel recovered from the back of the field after a trip through the gravel at the first corner, clinching enough points to steal third in the final league table ahead of Anderlecht.
Race 1 winner Buurman saw his race end in bizarre fashion as the pit stop phase began. The Anderlecht driver hit Panciatici in the pit lane entry as the Lyon driver misjudged where the pit lane speed limiter line started and braked too early. Giorgio Pantano, who finished third for AC Milan in race 1, ended his afternoon in the barrier after spinning on the exit of the final corner with ten minutes to go.
Adrian Valles (Liverpool): “It’s fantastic to have won the championship and I’d like to thank the whole team for the great job they’ve done this season. We have been competitive at every round, yet we’ve never had any problems with reliability. To win the Superleague Formula title is a great honor for a driver because the level of competition is so high and the cars are all the same. I’m also really pleased for Liverpool. I met all the players and staff last week and they wished me good luck so I am so happy to have clinched this title for them. They’ve won a lot of trophies in their history so it is nice to have added another one to that list.”
Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur): “I’m obviously very disappointed not to win the championship, but I pushed as hard as I could and had a lot of fun. I managed to make some incredible overtaking maneuvers - around the outside of Anderlecht and Liverpool into turn 1 and then around the outside of Bourdais later. It was unbelievable and I was screaming down the radio to the boys in the pits at one point! We’ve had some bad luck here and there without which things could have been different, but overall it has been a great year.”
Yelmer Buurman (RSC Anderlecht): “It has been a very good weekend and I’m really happy to have won two races. After the crash in race 2 I had to borrow some spare parts from my team-mate so we were a bit lucky to make it to the Super Final. The first corner turned out to be a bit messy, but we emerged in the lead so I was very happy.”
Alex Andreu (Superleague Formula CEO & President): “This weekend has been a fitting finale to a thrilling second season of Superleague Formula. The racing has been exciting throughout and the crowds we have seen here at Jarama have been fantastic and enthusiastically supported our teams and drivers. We’re already looking forward to our third season next year and expanding our calendar to 12 rounds.”
Final Shootout Results