Find out more about our subscriptions

Spurs' Dolby claims first ever pole

Craig DolbySeries leader Craig Dolby of Tottenham Hotspur will start from pole position in Sunday's opening race of the third round of Superleague Formula at Magny-Cours in France, the first time he has claimed the honour in qualifying.

In a result Spurs fans will dream about ahead of next year's Champions' League football fixtures, the London club defeated Italian giants AC Milan in the final.

Dolby drove a stellar final sector to defeat Yelmer Buurman, who was 0.183 seconds ahead by the second sector and also ahead in the first. But in an amazing reversal, Dolby crossed the finish line 0.222s ahead. Buurman's only obvious mistake was running wide at the exit of the final chicane.

Dolby saw off Olympiacos' Chris van der Drift in the first semi final, the Briton quickest in every sector of the lap on his way to recording a straightforward 1.22s victory. Max Wissel (FC Basel) was not in the same league as Buurman in the second semi either, Buurman trouncing him by 1.872s. Wissel pulled off on his slowing down lap, suggesting a technical issue was troubling him.

In the quarter finals, Dolby beat Sebastien Bourdais (Lyon) in a fantastic duel. Bourdais, who was fortunate to qualify for the knock-out rounds after his best group session time was erased due to it being set under yellow flags, was faster in the first two sectors, but Dolby was again immense over the closing corners, and reversed a deficit into a 0.078s winning margin.

Wissel defeated Assen dominator Davide Rigon (Anderlecht) by 0.152s, while Buurman laid waste to John Martin (Beijing Guoan) by 1.082s. This was eclipsed in the last quarter final, when Alvaro Parente (Porto) turned a 0.016s advantage into a 0.855s deficit after locking up at the Adelaide hairpin. He crossed the line 1.1s in arrears.

Julien Jousse topped the Group A times, but was not permitted to progress to the knock-out stages as he set his fastest time under yellow flags. He was joined on the sidelines by Borja Garcia (Sporting Lisbon), Maria de Villota (Atletico Madrid) and Marcos Martinez, who shunted his Sevilla car heavily into the tyre wall at the high-speed Imola chicane.

In Group B, labelled the 'group of death' by observers due to its level of competitiveness, those to not progress to the knock-outs were Liverpool's James Walker, who lost valuable track time to an electrical fire in practice, plus local favourites Franck Perera (Flamengo) and Franck Montagny (Bordeaux), who were surprise drop-outs. Also out were Robert Doornbos (Corinthians) and Tristan Gommendy (Galatasary).

Pos  Driver               Team                   Time
 1.  Craig Dolby          Tottenham Hotspur      1m27.029s
 2.  Yelmer Buurman       AC Milan               1m27.251s
 3.  Max Wissel           FC Basel               1m29.211s
 4.  Chris van der Drift  Olympiacos             1m28.559s
 5.  Alvaro Parente       FC Porto               1m28.735s
 6.  John Martin          Beijing Guoan          1m28.325s
 7.  Davide Rigon         RSC Anderlecht         1m27.907s
 8.  Sebastien Bourdais   Olympique Lyonnais     1m27.421s
 9.  James Walker         Liverpool FC           1m27.725s
10.  Borja Garcia         Sporting               1m29.418s
11.  Franck Perera        Flamengo               1m27.774s
12.  Maria de Villota     Atletico de Madrid     1m29.499s
13.  Franck Montagny      Girondins de Bordeaux  1m28.117s
14.  Julien Jousse        AS Roma                1m36.656s
15.  Robert Doornbos      Corinthians            1m28.433s
16.  Marcos Martinez      Sevilla FC
17.  Tristan Gommendy     Galatasaray            1m28.500s
  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Buurman back on top in super final
Basel's Wissel wins chaotic race two
AC Milan's Buurman wins race one
Buurman: Brake glitch cost me pole
Buurman leads practice for AC Milan