Fans flock to Assen for Superleague Formula street demo
Downtown Assen reverberated to the high-pitched scream of 750bhp V12 engines on Friday night as the Superleague Formula Nations Cup wowed the packed crowds with a spectacular street show ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2011 season.
An incredible 15,000 spectators, even more than last year’s impressive turnout, lined the town centre’s canal to catch a glimpse of home favorites Yelmer Buurman and Robert Doornbos powering their Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven and Netherlands cars up and down the main street.
Yelmer Buurman: “It was great, an experience we only get one day a year. It’s nice that being a hooligan is legal! You don’t have to check for speed cameras or anything, you just drive flat out! We did some donuts and burnouts, but of course the car has to race on Sunday so we had to save it for that! There were so many people lining the streets, it was really good.”
Robert Doornbos: “It was good to see so many people, even more than last year. I did some demos and donuts and managed some good speed down the straight, more than 200km/h in fourth or fifth gear. It’s great to do this stuff and when you ask a racing driver to play with 750bhp it will always puts a smile on his face. I got a speed camera to flash me too so it’s all good!”
The drivers also took part in a penalty shootout and then got down to the serious business of drawing the qualifying groups in De Kolk Square, producing some interesting match ups.
Home drivers Buurman and Doornbos, both of whom showed strong pace in Friday’s practice sessions, will do battle in Group B along with last year’s runner-up Craig Dolby (England), Tristan Gommendy (France – Girondins de Bordeaux), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Maria de Villota (Spain – Atletico Madrid).
Group A sees Andy Soucek (Turkey – Galatasaray), fastest of all 14 drivers in practice, drawn against John Martin (Australia), Frederic Vervisch (Luxembourg) and Neel Jani (Belgium – RSC Anderlecht), all of whom also were also quick on Friday. Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil), Duncan Tappy (Japan) and rookie Filip Salaquarda (Czech Republic – Sparta Prague) complete a tough half of the draw.
The top four drivers in each group will make it through to the knockout stages of Saturday’s qualifying, which starts at 13:40 local time.
John Martin (Australia)
Neel Jani (Belgium – RSC Anderlecht)
Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil)
Filip Salaquarda (Czech Republic – Sparta Prague)
Duncan Tappy (Japan)
Frederic Vervisch (Luxembourg)
Andy Soucek (Turkey – Galatasaray)
Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven)
Robert Doornbos (Netherlands)
Ho-Pin Tung (China)
Craig Dolby (England)
Tristan Gommendy (France – Girondins de Bordeaux)
Ealr Bamber (New Zealand)
Maria de Villota (Spain – Atletico Madrid)