The unique race qualification system in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol has produced two evenly matched groups which should provide a close battle for grid spots in tomorrow's qualifying session for round six at Zolder.
The session is divided into two groups of eight or nine cars with drivers picking a ball to determine which group they are in. Group A go out on their 15 minute qualifying session first with Group B going out second. The group with the fastest overall driver after these 15 minute sessions will line up on the odd numbered grid slots with the other group lining up on the even numbered grid places with the slowest drivers at the back. The top four drivers from each group will then compete in a head to head style shootout of one lap. This being a quarter-final, semi-final and final style format. The eventual winner will take pole.
With the group draw having taken place, current championship leaders Tottenham Hotspur have been matched against the home team and favourite's RSC Anderlecht along with form team Olypiacos in Group B. The championships second and third placed teams AC Milan and Basel have been drawn in Group A alongside AS Roma and the two Brazilian teams of Flamengo and Corinthians.
On his series debut, Jaap van Lagen of Bordeaux will be in Group B, joined by the Virgin F1 test driver and current F2 champion Andy Soucek who returns to the Superleague in the Sporting Lisbon Car.
After free practice today, it was the Anderlecht team showing why they are favourites for round 6 with driver Davide Rigon setting the quickest time. A 1:20.694 was good enough to put him top of the time sheets ahead of Max Wissel (FC Basel) and third placed John Martin for Beijing Guoan. The session was interrupted by and off from FC Porto driver Alvaro Parente, although this was not the only incident encountered in the practice sessions.
The red flag was out in FP2 when Julien Jousse ground to a halt on his out lap when his AS Roma car developed some mechanical problems. Rigon was again fastest early on, however a visit to the gravel trap on turn 2 finished his session early. Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan in the PSV Eindhoven car and Yelmer Buurman driving for AC Milan both had minor spins, as did Jaap van Lagen.
The spin hadn't effected Buurman as he became the quickest of only three drivers to break the one minute 19 second barrier with a 1:18.851 to top the time sheet at the end of the second practice session. The Corinthians car of Robert Doornbos finished one tenth behind in second place and Tristan Gommendy for Turkish team Galatasaray set the third fastest time just ahead of series returnee Andy Soucek.
Brit Craig Dolby continued a disappointing run of form with the Tottenham Hotspurs team with a tenth and ninth fastest times over the two sessions. Dolby will be hoping to improve during qualifying tomorrow to get his championship hopes back on track.