Tight title battle continues at Brands The second half of Superleague Formula by Sonangol 2010 kicks off at Brands Hatch this weekend (July 31/August 1) with the title race as finely poised as it has been all season-long.
Craig Dolby and local London club Tottenham Hotspur had been untouchable at the top of the standings throughout the first five rounds. But an accident at Zolder coupled with another strong weekend for Yelmer Buurman last time out has helped AC Milan establish an eight point championship lead.
You might assume that Brands Hatch would suit Dolby and fellow British drivers Duncan Tappy (Flamengo) and James Walker (Liverpool), who should have raced at the Kent venue during their domestic junior formula careers. But for two of them at least, the seldom-used high-speed 2.613 mile, nine-turn Grand Prix circuit is a venture into the unknown.
Indeed, it’s Buurman who will hold all the aces when it comes to track-knowledge this weekend thanks to the Dutchman’s two seasons spent in the UK.
“I'm really looking forward to it.” said Buurman. “I know the circuit from my time in Formula 3 and think it's a good track, particularly through the fast corners.”
For his part, Dolby doesn’t expect a lack of experience to trouble him.
“We came back stronger at Zolder and have a good car again,” he said. “We’ll work on it and try a few new things in practice so hopefully we’ll be very competitive. I’ve never raced the full Grand Prix loop here but then I hadn’t raced the GP circuit at Silverstone either (where he won twice) so that won’t be a problem. The plan is to get the championship lead back again. I’d love all three wins.”
Tappy meanwhile has his sights firmly set on making the Super Final after scoring a podium on his championship return at Zolder.
“I’d like to make the Super final which is everyone’s goal and certainly mine for the weekend,” he said. “That or a podium at the very least. I’ve raced half the track which is at least better than some of the circuits I’ve been to this year, so it should be fine. There are just a few more corners that we need to have a look at.”
Aside from championship contenders RSC Anderlecht and Olympiacos, who both scored victories at the last round in Belgium, there’s also a number of less-fancied clubs who should perform well this weekend.
John Martin (Beijing Guoan) and Narain Karthikeyan (PSV Eindhoven) are something of Brands Hatch specialists. The Australian won on debut in British Formula Ford before setting fastest lap of last season’s A1GP meeting, while the Indian was on pole there, also in A1GP, two years ago.
“I really like this place and have a lot of experience here,” confirmed Martin. “The first race I ever did in the UK was at Brands Hatch in Formula Ford with an Aussie car we brought over and ended up winning on debut. The whole circuit is great. There’s no slow corners and it really rewards total commitment, which you can see in the lap times.”
Click here for a video preview of this weekend’s Brands Hatch event.
Catch all the action from both 45-minute feature races, as well as the top-six, five-lap Super Final, live on www.superleagueformula.com, Sunday August 1.
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