Buurman tops first practice session of 2011 Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven) topped the first practice session of the 2011 Superleague Formula Nations Cup as the new season got underway in earnest at Assen on Friday morning.
The Dutch driver, a race winner in each of the last three seasons, gave the home fans something to cheer with a best time of 1:25.564, four tenths of a second quicker than closest rival Neel Jani (Belgium – RSC Anderlecht), who was the only other driver to dip below the one minute 26 seconds barrier.
Craig Dolby (England), who missed out on the Superleague Formula title by just two points in 2010, was third fastest ahead of another home favorite, Robert Doornbos (Netherlands).
Frédéric Vervisch (Luxembourg) and John Martin (Australia) were fifth and sixth on the final timesheet while Tristan Gommendy (France – Girondins de Bordeaux), newcomer Filip Salaquarda (Czech Republic – Sparta Prague), Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) completed the top ten.
Andy Soucek (Turkey – Galatasaray), Maria de Villota (Atlético Madrid) and Ho Pin Tung (China) also enjoyed track time although Duncan Tappy’s Japan car failed to set a time.
Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven): “It was a good session, but then it’s always good when you’re fastest! The track was really green with not much rubber down, so it wasn’t easy and quite slippery. I think we can continue with this pace, compared to the others, all weekend. I like this circuit, it’s my home track and I have driven here a few times. I haven’t been in a racing car since the F1 rookie test in November, so it has been a while, but here we are and we’re good shape.”
Craig Dolby (England): “P3 is a good start for us. I haven’t been in the car since Navarra at the end of last season, so we were just getting used to everything again. It’s nice to be back behind the wheel. Normally, when you haven’t driven for eight months it’s difficult to get straight back on the pace, but we’ve done so here. We’ll continue to work in the next session, but so far we’re looking strong for qualifying. This circuit is tricky, but if you take out turns 3 and 4 then I love it! Those two corners are quite technical and difficult for these big cars.”
Frédéric Vervisch (Luxembourg): “I am delighted to be back in a racing car after so many months away. We got to work straight away and I enjoyed it at the beginning. There was a lot to get through in the first session so I can’t make any predictions yet, but the general feeling is good and we should continue to improve. I am confident for this afternoon and, if we don’t have any problems, we can look forward to a good weekend.”