Martin wins Brands Hatch Superleague
Australian racer John Martin has taken two wins in Round 7 of Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Brands Hatch.
The Queenlander, driving the Beijing Guoan FC car, netted the €100,000 prize packet for winning the five-lap dash-for-the-cash Super Final, having earlier taken victory in the opening race.
After qualifying second behind Flamengo‘s Duncan Tappy, Martin won Race 1 in dominant style. In the second reverse-grid race, he finished down in 16th after losing a front wing during contact in the hectic first few moments, but came back in style in the final event.
Martin, now 13th in the championship after an up and down season, was pleased to get his first outright win in the ‘football-inspired’ racing competition.
“The first race felt so easy but in the second I made a good start and then had nowhere to go and just touched the front end plate on Craig’s (Dolby) car and it was enough to break the front wing,” he explained.
“It stuck under the car and I thought I was going straight into the wall, but luckily it broke off as I went through the gravel and I was able to get back to the pits to get a new nose box.
“I absolutely love it here at Brands Hatch, it’s one of my favourite circuits in the world, so to win twice is fantastic. I was annoyed to miss pole position on Saturday, but today we’ve made up for it.”
In the championship race, the topsy-turvy nature of the title fight continued, with the fortunes swinging in favour of AC Milan’s Yelmer Buurman.
Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht) kept his championship hopes alive after a spectacular turnaround in fortunes. A practice crash on Saturday saw him struggle in qualifying and Race 1, but he bounced back with second in Race 2 to earn himself a place in the Super Final. A good start from fourth saw him finish second and bag a cheque for €75,000.
Tappy completed the podium after a strong weekend at his home circuit. Ninth in Race 1 and third in Race 2 saw him finish the round as the top points scorer and although he was disappointed with a poor start to the Super Final from pole, he could console himself with a prize of €50,000.
Buurman finished fourth, one place ahead of Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) in fifth, crucially meaning the Dutch driver regains his lead at the top of the table by a slender margin of just two points. Alvaro Parente (FC Porto) was sixth after being pushed wide onto the gravel into the second corner.
Race 2 was ended prematurely by a red flag after Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos) suffered a massive accident while challenging for fifth place in the closing stages.
The young New Zealander had driven superbly to climb from 12th on the grid to sixth but as he hit his push-to-pass button on the back straight, he went over the right-rear wheel of Julien Jousse’s AS Roma car and flipped through the air, hitting the bridge before landing upright in a badly-damaged car. Van der Drift has a suspected broken ankle.
Amongst the carnage, former F1 driver Narian Karthikeyan became the 11th different winner in 14 feature races when he was declared the victor after a faultless drive from pole position.