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- The Full Monte
October 4th, 2009
Former Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Sebastien Bourdais claimed victory for Seville in the opening Superleague Formula race at Monza today.
The Frenchman demonstrated excellent timing at the rolling start and outbraked pole-man Esteban Guerrieri from the inside at the first chicane.
Guerrieri chased hard for second but the Olympiacos driver’s task was made difficult by Atletico Madrid’s Maria de Villota, who severely disrupted an entertaining battle. De Villota had been promoted to the lead on lap 13, through dint of being the last driver to make a mandatory pitstop.
While Bourdais passed the obstructive car with a bold move around the outside of the Parabolica, de Villota stubbornly refused to give way to Guerrieri and came close to putting the Argentine on the grass after cutting the first chicane in a questionable bid to stay ahead. Guerrieri lost 2.5 seconds to Bourdais in the incident, but chased hard to close within 0.3s at the chequered flag.
Seville’s triumph is a moral boost for the Frenchman’s Reid Motorsport crew, who were formed in just seven days after a restructuring at former entrant Ultimate Motorsport. The team, led by former Ultimate Formula 3 team-manager Anthony Reid, paid tribute to WTCC entrant Ray Mallock for the use of space in their workshop, formerly used for Mallock’s McLaren SLR preparation, at such short notice.
In an excellent debut for home club AS Roma, Formula 2 driver Julien Jousse claimed the final place on the podium. Jousse, replacing French compatriot Franck Perera, put in a fine drive to climb through the order from fifth on the grid.
Championship leader Adrian Valles took fourth to extend his points lead over nearest rival, Tottenham’s Craig Dolby. The high drag Panoz cars produced abundant overtaking; Valles rose from eighth on grid with Dolby following the Spaniard across the line having started ninth.
The result was an impressive recovery for Dolby, who suffered a gearbox valve actuator failure in qualifying which had restricted him to just one flying lap.
Anderlecht’s Yelmuur Buurman took sixth place, benefiting from suspected technical trouble for Antonio Pizzonia over the closing laps. The Brazilian Corinthians racer had set fastest lap on his way to a fleeting fifth, before losing four seconds of lap time as the race drew to a close.
Second row men Max Wissel and local hero Giorgio Pantano both plummeted down the order. In finishing a distant ninth, FC Basel’s Wissel sustained damage to his title hopes and lost ground to Dolby. Pantano was in freefall from the start and was further delayed by a lengthy pitstop.
Results to follow