Yelmer seventh and best Dutchman at Silverstone
For Yelmer the first race weekend started rather troublesome. He only managed to complete a meager five laps during three test sessions on a dry Thursday, due to various gremlins in the semi-automatic electronic gearbox shift system. And on Friday morning – the only dry test session that day – the problems returned. All in all he only completed two full sessions later that day, both of them on a wet track.
Yelmer therefore had a serious technical disadvantage when things got serious once the group qualification sessions went underway. Nevertheless he managed to clock fourth fastest time and, significantly, he was a mere 0.2 of a second slower than Max Wissel, the ultimate pole-position winner. Thus Yelmer was promoted to the quarter finals where he would take up against Alvaro Parente. Right before the shoot-outs it started to rain. Normally a wet track suits Yelmer more than others but he was beaten by the Portuguese driver. By the time the dust had settled down he found himself in seventh position on the startgrid for tomorrow’s first race. “This is merely due to this peculiar qualification system which I really like by the way. But still, looking at all the time-sheets I probably would have secured the fourth spot. Anyhow, I’m really delighted with the outcome taking in account all the troubles we had during testing. For tomorrow the forecast is rain and the track here is wide enough to enable plenty of overtaking. The only problem will be the spray of the cars in front of you”.
There were quite a few surprises in qualifying, notably Robert Doornbos who finished last in his group. The Corinthian driver complained about lack of power and troublesome brakes. In the same Group A another Dutchman, the rather unknown Chris van der Drift, finished fifth at 0.2 of a second from Max Wissel (FC Basel) the eventual pole-position winner at the cost of Alvaro Parente. There were more big names who lost out in qualifying. Such as Sébastien Bourdais (Olympic Lyonnais). He won Group B but then lost to Wissel in de quarter final. PSV were of the mark, former Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan finishing sixth. Franck Montagny (Girondins de Bordeaux) clearly needed time to come in grips with the Superleague Formula car and clocked 7th in his group, one place ahead of Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht), the Italian being the inaugural Superleague Formula champion in 2008.
1. Max Wissel (FC Basel
2. Alvaro Parente (FC Porto)
3. James Walker (Liverpool FC)
4. Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur)
5. Duncan Tappy (Flamengo)
6. Marcos Martinez (FC Sevilla)
7. Yelmer (AC Milan)
8. Sébastien Bourdais (Olympic Lyon)
9. Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos)
10. Tristan Gommendy (Galatasaray)
11. Narain Karthikeyan (PSV)
12. Borja Garcia (Sporting Club de Portugal)
13. John Martin (Atletico Madrid)
14. Franck Montagny (Girondins de Bordeaux)
15. Julien Jousse (AS Roma)
16. Davide Rigon (RSC Anderlecht)
17. Robert Doornbos (Corinthians)