A blinding start and opening couple of corners were the catalyst for Tottenham Spurs driver Craig Dolby to dominate the opening round of the 2010 Superleague Formula season at Silverstone on Sunday.
From fourth on the grid, Dolby outdragged third-placed James Walker (Liverpool) off the rolling start on a damp track, passed Alvaro Parente (Porto) down the inside at Copse and then sliced past polesitting FC Basel driver Max Wissel approaching Maggotts to grab the lead. Dolby held a 2.3-second lead by the end of the opening lap, the first of a sequence of fastest laps he unleashed to extend a 10sec advantage by just lap three.
That was helped by Wissel going off at Becketts on lap three, dropping him into the lower reaches of the top 10. Duncan Tappy (Flamengo) got ahead of Walker for third, which became second when Wissel went off. Walker then departed the fray himself, spinning off at Club when running fourth on lap four.
Parente was now third, ahead of Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) and Sebastien Bourdais (Lyon). The two cars which started on wets on the damp surface, Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos) and Tristan Gommendy (Galatasaray) soon tumbled down the order as the track quickly dried.
In the pit stop cycle, Buurman jumped ahead of Parente to take third -- helped by him pitting a lap earlier. Bourdais lost his fifth place when the car stalled as he arrived in the pits, and his team did not have the starter motor ready. Even when it did appear, the crew could not get him out of gear, and he lost a lap while stranded, waving his arms frantically.
Buurman got ahead of Tappy on lap 17 to seal second place, but he had no answer for Dolby, who finished 11.2sec ahead of him.
"Boy, oh boy, what a first corner!" exclaimed Dolby. "Passing four cars like that was something special. To get the first win of the season, I'm over the moon. I made a few mistakes in qualifying, but I slept well and woke up knowing I had to pull something out of the bag today."
Buurman added: "It was quite tricky to begin with, because there were damp patches and we were on slick tires. You really had to pay attention, because you'd get massive oversteer."
Tappy held on to third, despite massive pressure from Parente in the closing stages. The Porto car got very close on numerous occasions, notably at Stowe, but Parente just could not find a way past.
Wissel recovered to fifth, ahead of Marcos Martinez (Sevilla) and Borja Garcia (Sporting Lisbon).
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur 40m51.242s
2. Yelmer Buurman AC Milan + 11.298s
3. Duncan Tappy Flamengo + 22.338s
4. Alvaro Parente FC Porto + 22.546s
5. Max Wissel FC Basel + 35.498s
6. Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC + 36.527s
7. Borja Garcia Sporting Clube + 37.114s
8. Julien Jousse AS Roma + 41.749s
9. Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht + 52.806s
10. John Martin Atletico de Madrid + 58.370s
11. Robert Doornbos Corinthians + 1m08.507s
12. NarainKarthikeyan PSV Eindhoven + 1m09.734s
13. Chris van der Drift Olympiacos + 1m17.600s
14. Tristan Gommendy Galatasaray + 1 lap
15. Sebastien Bourdais Olympique Lyonnais + 1 lap
James Walker Liverpool FC 3 laps
Franck Montagny Girondins de Bordeaux 0 laps