Milan does the double
AC Milan and Yelmer Buurman scored a Superleague Formula by Sonangol double by adding Super Final victory and a check for €100,000 to their earlier race 1 triumph at a sun-drenched Magny-Cours on Sunday.
The Dutch driver started the weekend-ending, five-lap dash-for-the-cash from second on the grid, but nailed his start to blast past pole-sitter Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) to take the win for the Italian giants.
Dolby made a poor getaway and was down to fourth by the end of the opening lap as RSC Anderlecht’s Davide Rigon and FC Basel’s Max Wissel followed Buurman through. Rigon did his best to get on terms with Buurman but ultimately settled for second place, while Wissel completed the podium.
AS Roma’s Julien Jousse grabbed fourth from Liverpool’s James Walker with a smart move on the last lap, while Dolby ended the race in sixth, but delighted that another strong weekend has seen him extend Spurs’ lead in the Superleague Formula league table.
Earlier, in the day’s second race, Wissel bounced back from his first corner retirement in race 1 by emerging through the chaos of an extraordinary 45 minutes to take a comfortable victory.
Starting from pole position on the fully-reversed grid, the German driver had pulled out a 9.675-second lead in the opening six laps when a three-car accident involving three French drivers triggered a Safety Car period that wiped out his advantage and led to a chaotic few minutes.
The incident was caused when Lyon’s Sebastien Bourdais made a mistake at the Adelaide hairpin while jostling for position in eighth, locked up, got sideways and took out his compatriots Franck Perera (Flamengo) and Franck Montagny (Bordeaux).
The Safety Car was immediately deployed, but picked up the second placed Atletico Madrid car of Maria de Villota instead of Wissel, allowing the FC Basel man to gain almost a full-lap lead by joining the back of the train. By the time the Safety Car waved the other drivers by, the pit window was open and everyone came in together, except for Wissel who was now stuck behind the Safety Car on his own.
Chaos ensued in the pits as drivers had to wait to reach their pit box with race 1 winners AC Milan and reigning champions Liverpool among those to lose out.
By the time Wissel made his stop and the race settled down, he had a comfortable 15-second lead over all his rivals and was never again threatened as he cruised to a crushing 21.327 second victory.
AC Milan’s Jousse defended the honor of the French drivers on home turf with second place while Assen double winner Rigon secured more crucial championship points for RSC Anderlecht with third.
Dolby played another starring role for championship leaders Tottenham Hotspur to finish fourth having started on the back row of the 17-car grid. The British driver made up six places on the first lap alone, avoided all the mid-race shenanigans and picked up more positions after his pit stop before the checkered flag.
Borja Garcia was fifth for Sporting Lisbon, while Maria de Villota took her best ever Superleague Formula result for Atletico Madrid in sixth. The female driver produced a superb display in the first part of the race, taking second off the line and holding the position until the Safety Car period, but lost out during the pit stops and slipped off the podium places in the last 20 minutes of the race.
The only other finishers were Buurman and Walker, both of whom lost a whole lap after being stacked behind other cars in the busy pit lane.
Galatasaray were denied a good finish when Tristan Gommendy retired from fourth place with a technical problem near the end of the race, while Beijing Guoan’s John Martin was also left frustrated as he pulled off with a clutch issue.
Marcos Martinez’s chances of capitalizing on his front row start were ended early when the Sevilla driver was taken out by Corinthians’ Robert Doornbos at the hairpin on the opening lap. While Doornbos apologized for his mistake, both drivers were left ruing what they described as a ‘disastrous’ weekend for the Spanish and Brazilian clubs.
Yelmer Buurman, AC Milan: “It is absolutely superb to win two races in one weekend. The team did a great job and I am very happy. I wasn’t so happy after race two though! We had the pace for a top five finish, which would have been very good for the championship, but there was confusion in the pits and I rejoined right behind the leader but a lap down so couldn’t do anything. The next round is in Jarama where I also won twice last year, so hopefully we’ll do well there too.”
Davide Rigon, RSC Anderlecht: “The weekend didn’t start so well for us in free practice, but we worked hard and qualifying went ok. The car was fine in race 1, although it wasn’t fast enough to fight at the front. In race 2 I was lucky because I saw Bourdais had made a mistake with his braking so I moved to my left and he crashed into the cars in front of me. We are now right in the championship battle, although we need to work hard to catch Tottenham because Craig is doing very well.”
Max Wissel, FC Basel: “I’m more than happy with a win and third in the Super Final. The Safety Car situation in race 2 was crazy! I kept asking the pits what was happening but they didn’t know. Eventually they told me I had a 20-second lead so I eased off a bit. All I can do now is keep pushing for the championship. Craig is very quick but we need to keep having good weekends to see if we can catch him.”