Scuderia Playteam SaraFree’s AC Milan and Galatasaray SK have a busy first day at Zolder

04.10.2008: Scuderia Playteam SaraFree’s AC Milan and Galatasaray SK have a busy first day at Zolder

Superleague Formula - Third round - Zolder October 4/5, 2008

Robert Doornbos - AC Milan

- first free practice 1.35.928 - 12th;

- second free practice 1.20.283 - 8th;

- 15 minute qualifying 1.17.309 best lap clocked on 8th

- quarter final - lost against Dolby

- starts from 7th place on the grid


Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK

- first free practice 1.37.994 -15th

- second free practice 1.20.782 - 12th

- 15 minute qualifying 1.18.563 sixth fastest

- no further qualification

- starts from 11th place on the grid


Scuderia Playteam Sarafree cars made their way into group A for Robert Doornbos - AC Milan and group B for Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK for the third qualifications in the history of the 2008 Superleague Formula season at the Zolder track where Formula 1 competed last on April 29, 1984 with Italian Michele Alboreto winning the Grand Prix on his Ferrari.

Scuderia Playteam SaraFree’s two V12 750-horsepower cars were in action at a cool Zolder track for the first practice sessions today. Robert Doornbos - AC Milan reached semifinals in the qualifying rounds only and Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK stopped in sixth place after the first fifteen minutes of qualifying.

Early morning as the drivers arrived, the track was still damp from rain during the night, but it was sunny even if the temperature was very cool. At the wheel of the yellow and red Galatasaray SK car was Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi while Dutchman Robert Doornbos was driving the red and black AC Milan car.

The free practice format was modified following the last race with only two practice sessions left on the schedule instead of three like in Donington or Nuerburgring. In the Saturday morning first practice session, Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK was among the first drivers to get out early on the still wet Zolder track and completed two out and ins so that the team can fine-tune the glitches on the car. Practice stopped after 20 minutes of the start of the session after BVB Borussia Dortmund went off the track.

AC Milan was on their first flying lap and pitted to wait for the restart of the session It was a quick interruption though for all cars allowing the teams to quickly start again. After seven laps, Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK spun a bit off track and drove back to the pits for further checks. As the checkered flag fell, behind Atletico Madrid who finished 1.32.669, AC Milan clocked a best time of 1.35.928 for the 12th spot. Galatasaray SK clocked a best time of 1.37.994 after only 7 laps.

The second session allowed the teams to complete some more useful work in preparation of the afternoon qualifying session. During the second practice session the track had considerably improved and was dry almost everywhere. AC Milan clocked twelve laps with an eighth best time of 1.20.283 and Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK completed a twelfth best time of 1.20.782 after fourteen laps.

In qualifying, the Superleague Formula teams were as usual split into two equal groups for two separate 15-minute qualifying sessions at 1.30 PM. Following these sessions, four cars from each group proceeded to the later knockout stage. At Zolder, the draw for qualification placed AC Milan in group A while Galatasaray SK was selected to competing in group B.

In group A, Robert Doornbos - AC Milan was second quickest after six laps in the first batch of drivers for this first part of the qualifying along with Liverpool FC; BVB Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla FC, Glasgow Ranger, AS Roma, FC Basel, PSV Eindhoven and Olympiacos.

Then Robert finished the quickest with 1.17.309 clocking best time on his eighth lap. Behind him were Sevilla, by 0.074s (1.17.383), Liverpool and BVB Borussia Dortmund also in the top four. Robert Doornbos - AC Milan went out against RSC Anderlecht, UK Craig Dolby but lost in semi-finale against Dolby and only scored 1.18.169 on the clock.

In group B, Alessandro Pier Guidi - Galatasaray SK finished 2nd fastest with 1.18.669 in the first part of the qualifying session including FC Porto, Al-Ain, Beijing Guoan, Anderlecht, Tottenham Hotspur, SC Corinthians, Flamengo and Atletico Madrid. Then Guidi finished sixth fastest with 1.18.563 which meant he was not qualified and finished 1.694s behind Atletico Madrid, FC Porto, Beijing, Anderlecht and Tottenham.

Robert Doornbos (AC Milan) commented: "Not such a good day. I am disappointed for the team not to have made it all the way to the top. I lost in the semifinal against Craig Dolby. Today, I am not too pleased about our car's performance.

This morning we tried a few solutions, but it was not what we were looking for, which impacted on our qualifying effort. Originally, I was happy to be in group A, but the semifinal was not what I expected and I did not have the right type of tires.

During the session, I also had to be careful with the brakes and that did not help my performance either. Hopefully, we can solve all the issues for tomorrow. With a good strategy, let's hope that the race will work out."

Alessandro Pier Guidi (Galatasaray SK) commented: "It would have been important to quickly find the correct pace in the morning. But the damp conditions and the cold temperature at the track prevented me to have a good feeling for the car.

With a shortened running time in free practice, we could not progress in our program and did not work well with the tires. I was not find my best pace and did not have the car needed today to be strong in qualifying and participate in the final shoot out. I only came sixth instead of 4th in my B qualifying group, the strongest of the two groups."


- Agnes Carlier -

Photos will be on under PHOTOS - FORMULA


04.10.2008 / MaP

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