Craig Dolby and John Martin scored a victory each in the Superleague Formula races at Zolder, while local man Frederic Vervisch scooped himself â‚¬100,000 by winning the superfinal.
Dolby had qualified on pole position for the first race, but was demoted to second on the grid for a pitlane infringement from his team in qualifying. The England driver went on to take the lead from polesitter Chris van der Drift (New Zealand) during the pitstop phase, as his ADR pitcrew serviced him quicker than the Kiwi's Atech Reid team.
From here Dolby opened up a comfortable advantage to race to his first win of the season, finishing three seconds ahead of Belgium/Anderlecht driver Neel Jani. The Swiss driver also got the jump on van der Drift during the pitstops as the New Zealander paid the price for a slower stop.
Van der Drift would lose his podium place before the end of the race as Vervisch found a way through for third position on the final lap.
In the second race Australia's Martin stormed through from seventh on the reverse grid to win. He took advantage of a problem for race leader Andy Soucek in the pitstops, then passing Duncan Tappy before going on to win.
Series returnee Max Wissel finished some five seconds behind for South Korea, with debutant Mikhail Aleshin finishing a fine third. Vervisch meanwhile came through from the penultimate row of the grid to finish fourth.
There was despair for Dolby meanwhile, who retired with gearbox problems that also ruled him out of the superfinal.
Vervisch's drive through the field in the second race combined with his Race 1 podium handed him pole position for the five lap dash-for-cash superfinal. He opened up a good lead early on as second-placed Martin found himself defending the position from Jani.
Rain began to fall in the second half of the race though, and this saw Vervisch's lead disappear, with Martin applying the pressure on the last lap. Despite losing control under breaking and having to cut the chicane he held on to win, with Martin and Jani right behind.
“I am really happy to win the Superfinal,” said Vervisch. “I thought I had a comfortable lead, but when it started to rain my engineer was saying over the radio to be careful and not go off. In the end I slowed down a bit too much, and it became very close with John, so I decided to drive the way I was before and I almost lost it in the first chicane.
“It was really exciting at the last corner, but fortunately nobody did anything crazy. My other Superfinal win was also tight, but this was one of the closest finishes of my whole career. I will have a big party tonight with the team to celebrate.”
Martin said: “The entire weekend went well for us: we've been fast since Friday. We made a small mistake in qualifying, but today was almost perfect, so I can't complain too much. I tried my best to overtake Frederic on the last lap of the Superfinal, but there was nothing I could do and I did not want to crash into him. When the rain started, the circuit became very slippery, so I decided to be careful and see what happened. Then I caught him, but he did a good job to keep me behind. Overall, to be on the Superfinal podium, win race two and extend our championship lead is great.”
Jani added: “I am delighted to put Belgium on the podium for their home event. As a Swiss this is the closest I can get to a home race, as we do not have any circuits in Switzerland! In the Superfinal, we were running well and putting a lot of pressure on John. Obviously he and I have a little history from Assen, where I was running third before he took me out, so I was careful to avoid another incident. Still, it is great for us to be on the podium this weekend.”
Martin has moved Australia into the stadnings lead ahead of Japan and Luxembourg. The next round takes place at Goiania in Brazil on 9th October.
Race 1 results:
|2||Neel Jani||Belgium – RSC Anderlecht||3.051|
|4||Chris van der Drift||New Zealand||0.826|
|6||Yelmer Buurman||Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven||3.275|
|8||Max Wissel||South Korea||3.370|
|10||Duncan Tappy||Turkey – Galatasaray SK||3.893|
|12||Filip Salaquarda||Czech Republic – AC Sparta Praha||6.762|
|13||Andy Soucek||Spain – AtlÃ©tico de Madrid||3 laps|
|14||Tristan Gommendy||France – Girondins de Bordeaux||21 laps|
Race 2 results:
|2||Max Wissel||South Korea||5.383|
|5||Duncan Tappy||Turkey – Galatasaray SK||21.950|
|6||Yelmer Buurman||Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven||22.433|
|8||Chris van der Drift||New Zealand||22.822|
|9||Neel Jani||Belgium – RSC Anderlecht||23.396|
|10||Filip Salaquarda||Czech Republic – AC Sparta Praha||33.967|
|11||Tristan Gommendy||France – Girondins de Bordeaux||38.506|
|13||Craig Dolby||England||11 laps|
|14||Andy Soucek||Spain – AtlÃ©tico de Madrid||18 laps|
|3||Neel Jani||Belgium – RSC Anderlecht||0.766|
|4||Max Wissel||South Korea||0.949|
|5||Chris van der Drift||New Zealand||1.162|
|7||Yelmer Buurman||Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven||2.701|
Standings after 2 of 8 events:
1. Australia, 158 points
2. Japan, 136
3. Luxembourg, 134
4. Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven, 130
5. Belgium – RSC Anderlecht, 125
6. England, 124