Team Porto's Alvaro Parente scored victory in the second Superleague Formula race at the Beijing International street circuit, but was lucky to get away with a spin in wet conditions that caused the race to be stopped.
In smoggy but dry conditions initially, polesitter Davide Rigon (Anderlecht) was quickly shuffled back from the lead and gave up after two laps, pronouncing his car "undriveable."
Marcos Martinez took the lead for Sevilla, and pulled out a one-second advantage over Parente when the rain started to fall on lap 10. As the pit window opened, many stopped for more slicks but Parente waited to see if the rain would increase. When it did, he pitted for wets, as did the rest of the field.
Parente did so from the lead, as Martinez locked up and sailed down an escape road. After the stops, Parente had a massive lead, but half-spun trying to lap Franck Perera. He blocked the track, and as the rain fell harder the red flags came out.
Once he was restarted, Parente took his place at the head of the safety car queue for the restart, which was held over just five minutes in near-darkness. Earl Bamber (PSV) pushed him hard, and finished just eight tenths of a second behind him at the flag. Galatasaray's Giacomo Ricci spun out of fourth place on lap five, but was left stranded in the middle of the track for the remainder of the race!
"Crazy race," said Parente. "Complicated stuff. Someone I was lapping closed the door on me, and I had a bit of a moment. But we did a great job at the end there."
Bamber was furious that Parente was allowed to take his position as the leader, despite the fact he had caused the red flag: "Out of the blue he comes back to the front of the grid. He got an advantage by making a mistake."
Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) just held off the recovering Martinez to finish third.
The super final that was due to follow has been cancelled due to the abject lack of visibility. Bamber cheered up when he was pronounced the winner of the weekend and would receive the top prize money, ahead of Craig Dolby (Tottenham) and Frederic Vervisch (Liverpool).
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Alvaro Parente FC Porto 49m18.621s
2. Earl Bamber PSV Eindhoven + 0.844s
3. Yelmer Buurman AC Milan + 2.633s
4. Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC + 2.696s
5. Paul Meijer Atletico de Madrid + 9.353s
6. John Martin Beijing Guoan + 31.651s
7. Frederic Vervisch Liverpool FC + 1 lap
8. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur + 1 lap
9. Adrian Valles Sporting Clube de Portugal + 1 lap
10. Franck Perera Girondins de Bordeaux + 1 lap
Tristan Gommendy Olympique Lyonnais 24 laps
Giacomo Ricci Galatasaray 23 laps
Julien Jousse AS Roma 20 laps
Ben Hanley Olympiacos 5 laps
Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht 2 laps