23.09.2009: Tottenham’s Craig Dolby currently lies second in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol standings as he prepares for the championship’s penultimate round at Monza on October 3/4. Here, the Melton Mowbray
Tottenham’s Craig Dolby currently lies second in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol standings as he prepares for the championship’s penultimate round at Monza on October 3/4. Here, the Melton Mowbray driver discusses his year so far and just how he became one of the series’ hottest properties. Superleague Formula: You went straight from racing in French Formula Renault to Superleague Formula. How did you find the transition? Craig Dolby: “It was so exciting when we first went to Donington last year. It was unbelievable going from 200bhp to 750. But surprisingly I got used to it quite quickly. I actually enjoyed the additional power because you could use it to control and set the car up better. Any young driver, when they’re given a big car, is going to have a grin on their face and enjoy it so that was an amazing feeling. But after the first couple of laps it’s back to focusing on the job in hand, trying to get the best out of the car and myself. It was a mega experience though. Those first couple of laps were just mind blowing.
“It’s by far the most powerful thing I’ve ever driven. Even now when you go out of the pit lane and put your foot down you just have to smile! It’s like a dream for me because to race against the drivers I am, for me, is unbelievable.” SF: It’s a big hike in performance. How did you get the drive?
CD: “I didn’t think it would be directly possible to go from Renault straight into Superleague. But from racing in Belgium with Astromega, they trusted me and knew what I could do in a racing car so they’re the ones who gave me the chance. No one really knew me, in Superleague at least, at the start of last season so you’re sitting there in the drivers’ briefing surrounded by people like Antonio Pizzonia and I’m thinking, ‘Hang on, this is going to be massive’. Then at the second race at Nurburgring I was on the podium twice with two second places and everyone else was like, ‘He can drive!’ which was unbelievable for me. I didn’t expect those results straight away, I really didn’t.
“I got the phone call one week before Donington so it was a bit last minute but they trusted me and I did a job for them, more than what was expected of me last season. Then this season we’ve proven that we’re title contenders. It’s good being one of the youngsters. Me and Max (Wissel), two guys who no one really knows, came through together and we’re now beating the top guns so it’s good fun.” SF: So how many times had you driven the car before the opening race?
CD: “None! I got the phone call while on holiday with my parents a week before the Donington race. And they said ‘Right Craig, you’re racing next weekend in Superleague’. I hadn’t driven any racing car for eight months before jumping straight into the Superleague car literally on the Thursday. We didn’t do any testing because of mechanical problems though, so I’d only done four laps going into Saturday’s qualifying!
“We then turned up for round two at Nurburgring, where I’d never been before, qualified fifth and got two second places, one of which came from the back row of the reverse grid which was fairly good, especially as I was the first driver to get a double podium. Considering the kind of people I was racing against, for me, that was a massive confidence boost.” SF: Did you really expect to be as competitive so quickly?
“I knew I could do the job, because I wouldn’t be here if I thought any differently. But the first couple of rounds I knew were going to be the steepest learning curve I’d ever experienced in my life. The best thing I’ve ever done was get from fifth to third at the first corner in Germany.
I had Robert Doornbos and Antonio Pizzonia right in front of me and in the nine laps up until my pit stop, I learned so much from following them and watching what they did, seeing how hard they could brake with the carbon disks because I’d not used them before. I was just learning and improving myself. I caught Antonio and forced him into a few mistakes which allowed me to overtake during the pit stops. After doing something like that, my confidence was sky-high and I knew I could do the business.
“People doubted me to start with because they’d never heard of me. I was worried what other people would think about me being there. Then after the second round, all the talk was positive and I’ve loved every second ever since.” SF: Presumably you’ve found the second season easier then?
CD: “A few bits are easier, like you know the car better. Moving teams was quite difficult because I was very close to Astromega so to go into a new team was quite strange because I’d grown up with them. But I’ve settled in at Alan Docking Racing really well and I love it there. Having said that, it’s been difficult this year because the competition is a lot stronger than last season.
Last year there were probably five people who could win races or be in the top three all the time. This year the whole field is capable of fighting for wins, which makes the reverse grid very difficult. It’s challenging but fun because we all respect each other out there. I’d say overall it’s easier, but then fighting for the championship is never easy.” SF: You’re 58 points behind Liverpool at the top of the League. Can you still catch them?
CD: “From two seasons of Superleague, anything is possible! With 50 points for a race win, all Adrian (Valles) and Liverpool needs is a bad result like we had at Estoril and I’m right back up there. There’s 200 points left on the table and I’m going to be trying to get most of them so who knows. SF: And the target for Monza?
CD: “I’d like to have two podiums to be honest and a race win would definitely be nice. But I’ve never been there before so I’m going to have fun learning the circuit. It has an historical place in motorsport so I’m looking forward to being there. It’s a fast one as well. The racing is going to be exciting because of the slipstreaming while push-to-pass will also play a part as it’s important when and where we use it. I think it’s going to be very interesting. There’s going to be some very quick guys, like Pantano. It’s his home circuit and was on pole there in GP2 last season. But hopefully I can be right up there fighting for the race win.” SF: You’re still only 21. What does the future hold for Craig Dolby?
CD: “Who knows what the future holds but I’d love to do a third season in Superleague, especially if they’re putting more races on. People are starting to look at it as a very strong championship so if it keeps getting stronger and stronger then why leave? If it keeps progressing like it is now then it could even challenge F1 one day.
“I just love being here because what other championship can say they’ve got as many good drivers? Bar Formula 1, the likes of GP2 and Renault World Series have got good drivers. But at the last race in Estoril I can honestly say that Superleague was probably fielding one of the strongest grids in the world.”
Cast an eye across the Superleague Formula paddock and you’ll likely recognise some familiar faces; former F1 drivers, a multiple ChampCar champion, GP2 title-winner and host of other famous names all now playing their part in the football-themed series. Look past the star attractions however and you’ll find two young drivers who have shown their more esteemed peers the way forward weiter >>
Superleague Formula’s bespoke V12 engine has been shortlisted as a finalist for this year’s British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEA), organised by Findlay Media. The 4.2 litre V12 unit, which produces in excess of 750 horsepower, has continued to turn heads with both its performance and reliability this season. The motor, with its spine tingling exha weiter >>
Hitech-run FC Porto took victory in the second of three Superleague Formula races at Estoril on Sunday while second and ninth place for Liverpool FC extends its lead at the top of the tables. New signing Alvaro Parente, making a one-off weiter >>
Sebastien Bourdais netted Spanish club Sevilla a €100,000 prize by sensationally winning the Superleague Formula by Sonangol ‘Super Final’ on his championship debut at Estoril.
The Frenchman, who recently lost his place on weiter >>
Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol league table in Estoril, Portugal thanks to Adrian Valles’ second and ninth place finishes in the day’s two races. Having qualified for the Super Final after scoring the third highest points total of the weekend, the Spaniard then won himself and the team €30,000 for finishing third.
Superleague FormulaRace 1 - SF Round 4 Portugal - Classification1 9 Olympiacos SF Racing Team E. Guerrieri 45:47.271 30 laps 2 21 Liverpool FC SF Racing Team A. Vallés 45:49.437 2.166 3 14 Corinthians SF Racing Team A. Pizzonia 45:50.281 3.0 weiter >>
Superleague FormulaRace 1 - SF Round 4 Portugal Estoril
Olympiacos: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) “We got a good start and pulled away. Then when I came into the pit lane the cars around us were very close a weiter >>
Olympiacos scored a superb first-ever Superleague Formula by Sonangol victory after a stunning second half fight back saw the Greek giants grab a win from Liverpool with just three minutes remaining in race 1 at Estoril.New signing Esteban Guerrieri, a summe weiter >>
Corinthians: Antonio Pizzonia (BRA)“I knew it was going to be very close. We had a difficult morning (in practice) but we managed to improve the car a bit and I’m delighted to have a third pole position from four races weiter >>
Antonio Pizzonia flew the flag for Brazil at round 4 of Superleague Formula by Sonangol by taking pole position for Corinthians for Sunday’s Race 1 at Estoril.
On a weekend in which the world of football has turned its attention to Interna weiter >>
Anderlecht’s Yelmer Buurman topped the aggregate free practice times today at Estoril ahead of qualifying for round four of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol season. The Dutchman lapped the 4.182km Portuguese venue in 1m26.968 during the morning’s first session, becoming the only driver throughout free practice to break into the 1 minute 26s.
The Superleague Formula by Sonangol circus rolls into Estoril next weekend (5/6 September) where two titans of Portuguese football will go head-to-head. Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto may not have played each other on a pitch yet this season, but the pair has been in close quarters on track throughout the 2009 Superleague campaign.
What motivated you to come and race in Superleague Formula? “For a driver, Superleague Formula is the best alternative to F1. Today, it’s the only other championship in Europe to offer a driver the possibility of racing single seaters at a high, professional level. I am also a firm believer in the concept of merging motorsport and football.&n weiter >>
Having won in almost every championship he’s entered and the owner of one of motorsport’s most impressive CVs, Sébastien Bourdais, after contesting 27 grand prix, is ready to accept a new challenge; Superleague Formula by Sonangol, the only series to m weiter >>
The Superleague Formula by Sonangol circus rolls into Estoril next weekend (5/6 September) where two titans of Portuguese football will go head-to-head. Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto may not have played each other on a pitch yet this season, but the pair have been in close quarters on track throughout the 2009 Superleague campaign.
FC Midtjylland’s Kasper Andersen smashed the Jyllands Ringen lap record on Sunday after a successful demonstration run in his Superleague Formula by Sonangol car.
Feat Despite the extremely tight and twisty layout, not mention the pressure of b weiter >>
Superleague Formula: Estoril (5-6 October) is going to be your first round with Galatasaray. Is this make any change for you?
Ho-Ping Tung: Yes, it will be a completely new experience for me. Different racing team, different people and club. The time to prepare and weiter >>
FC Midtjylland’s Superleague Formula by Sonangol driver Kasper Andersen is eyeing a new lap record when he demonstrates the club’s car at the GP Denmark on 23 August at the Jyllands Ringen.The event is the bigg weiter >>
Giorgio Pantano, Craig Dolby, Max Wissel, Davide Rigon and Enrique Bernoldi were among the star Superleague Formula by Sonangol drivers to try out the series’ brand new video game during the recent race meeting at Donington Park.
Featuring a grid of powerful 750bhp single- weiter >>
... first female Superleague Formula racerAs Atletico Madrid prepare for the start of the new La Liga season, the Spanish club has made a significant signing off the pitch by snapping up Maria de Villota to race for the team in Superleague Formula by Sonangol.Spaniard de Villota will become the first female driver ever to compete in the championshi weiter >>
In a world mainly dominated by men, having a woman on your team is rare, especially as a Chief Mechanic in a high-profile championship. That is the case though for Superleague Formula by Sonangol team FC Porto and its driver Tristan Gommendy.
The French driver’s car is weiter >>
Race 2 - SF Round 3 UK - Classification 1 16 Porto FC SF Racing Team T. Gommendy 45:36.002 30 laps 2 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal SF Racing Team P. Petiz 45:40.693 4.691 3 10 FC Basel SF Racing Team M. Wissel 45:42.625 6.623 4 19&n weiter >>
British club Glasgow Rangers made “home” advantage pay to become the €100,000 “Weekend Winner” when John Martin (AUS) netted the concluding Super Final race honours in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Donington Park in Britain today (2 August). It was the Scottish Premier League club and Australian driver’s maiden SLF race victory. FC Basel ( weiter >>
FC Porto scored its first victory of the season when Tristan Gommendy (F) scored his and the club’s second ever SLF victory, coming through from 10th on the grid.
Sporting Clube de Portugal’s Pedro Petiz (POR) did well to fend off a hard-charging, back row starting FC weiter >>
FC Basel claimed its maiden Superleague Formula by Sonangol victory by winning the opening race at Donington Park today.
The Swiss club’s Max Wissel (D) finished 2.18-secs ahead of the Glasgow Rangers machine of John Martin (AUS) in the 44 minute plus one- weiter >>
SC Corinthians will start the opening Superleague Formula by Sonangol race at Donington Park tomorrow from pole-position (2 Aug) after qualifying was abandoned due to a flooded track this afternoon.
The Brazilian club’s Antônio Pizzonia (BRA) headed the weiter >>
Superleague Formula DONINGTON - Qualification Final ClassificationQualifying Group A 1 14 Corinthians SF Racing Team A. Pizzonia 1:22.868 2 10 FC Basel SF Racing Team M. Wissel 1:22.907 0.039 3 17 Rangers FC SF Racing Team J. Marti weiter >>
Sevilla FC will replace the entry previously fielded by Al Ain who, after having participated in the first two races and made one podium in Zolder, won’t be racing for the rest of this season.
Spanish League outfit Sevilla will return to Superleague Formu weiter >>
This year’s thrilling Superleague Formula by Sonangol is living up to all expectations according to Competitions Director, Robin Webb. As the six-round football-themed race series reaches its halfway point at Donington Park in the UK on 1/2 August, four different weiter >>
... with further success on home ground
Having scored their maiden Superleague Formula by Sonangol victories in Belgium, Tottenham Hotspur and driver Craig Dolby will be gunning for further success as the football-themed race series arrives at Donington Park in weiter >>
Olympique Lyonnais became the latest addition to the Superleague Formula grid in 2009 with ambitious plans to become as successful on the track as they have been on the pitch. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas took some time out over the weekend at Zolder to outline why they joined the series and the role he sees Superleague playing in helping shape Lyon’s future business strategy.
“Weekend Winner” honours went to Liverpool FC when Adrián Vallés (SP) placed third in both the first and second races of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Zolder today (19 Jul) after out-scoring the opposition to collect the &eur weiter >>
Tottenham Hotspur claimed the opening Superleague Formula by Sonangol race honours at Zolder this morning.
The British club’s driver Craig Dolby led home the front row starting Glasgow Rangers machine of John Martin (AUS) by 2 weiter >>
FC Midtjylland lines-up in pole-position for the third round of the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Zolder tomorrow (19 July).Kasper Andersen (DEN) came away victorious for the Danish “rookie” SLF club by narrowly defeati weiter >>
2009 ‘Superleague Formula by Sonangol’ Free Practice (Zolder - 17 July, 2009)1. Liverpool FC (Adrian Vallés): 1m 18.867s2. Galatasaray (Duncan Tappy): 1m 19.689s3. FC Midtjylland (Kasper Andersen): 1m weiter >>
Championship leaders Liverpool FC set the early pace as the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol revved up for this weekend’s showdowns at the Zolder circuit in Belgium. Friday’s timetable provided the 18 famous soccer clubs contesting the football-themed series wit weiter >>
The power of top class motor sport plus the passion of football arrives in Belgium next weekend (18/19 July) when the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol headlines at the Zolder circuit.
UEFA Champions League giants Liverpool FC and A weiter >>
The power of top class motor sport plus the passion of football arrives in Belgium next weekend (18/19 July) when the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol headlines at the Zolder circuit.
UEFA Champions League giants Liverpool FC and AC Milan were t weiter >>
Après un envol totalement réussi sur le circuit français de Magny-Cours, la Superleague Formula débarque à Zolder ce week-end des 17, 18 et 19 juillet. Les monoplaces aux mécaniques V12 de 750 chevaux, qui portent les couleurs de plusieurs clubs parmi les plus prestigieux de la planète football, vont s’affronter au gré de trois manch weiter >>
2009 SF ROUND 2 BELGIUM - ZOLDER 18th & 19th JULYFans will be able to view Superleague Formula championship on: Live BroadcastContinent Countries Broadcaster Coverage Europe Belgium EXQI sport Live Sunday races Greece Eurosport 2 Live Sunday races UK British Eurosport 2&nbs weiter >>
... as Superleague Formula by Sonangol battle switches to Zolder Liverpool FC tops the Superleague by Sonangol points table as the pioneering football themed race series moves to Belgium for round two of this year’s championship at Zol weiter >>
Superleague Formula is set to move up yet another gear with the launch of its first official videogame in September. Now poised to kick off its second season, Superleague Formula is the only competition in the world to unite premier league quality motor sport with top football brands. The series features a grid of powerful single-seater racing cars – all repre weiter >>
Hitech Junior dominated the opening rounds of the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Magny Cours this weekend taking victory in Sunday’s first race and then again in the Super Finale with the Liverpool FC car of Adrian Vallés. The 23 year-old Spaniard drov weiter >>