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Dolby leads practice for Spurs

Craig Dolby, Tottenham Hotspur, BeijingCraig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur) topped the timesheets as Superleague Formula held its first-ever practice session at the Beijing International street circuit on Friday afternoon.

The British driver set a best time of 1m08.341s around the 2.733km track, set in the 2008 Olympic Games Rowing and Canoeing venue, to edge out Frederic Vervisch of Liverpool. Less than a second covered the top 10 drivers.

Behind the top two, Frenchman Franck Perera was third quickest for Bordeaux, while his countryman Julien Jousse (AS Roma) took fourth ahead of Corinthians driver Robert Doornbos.

Of the other usual frontrunners, Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) did more laps than anyone else on his way to fifth, the flu-ridden Ben Hanley (Olympiacos) was sixth and Max Wissel (FC Basel) 10th, albeit only 0.868 seconds adrift of Dolby's best. Points leader Davide Rigon only managed 13 laps and was some 2.232s off the pace in 14th.

The session saw one red flag, as Team China's Ma Qing Hua stopped at the 90-degree Turn 11 right-hander, but otherwise ran trouble-free as the drivers learned the new circuit for the first time.

Three cars did not manage any track time in the opening session. John Martin (Beijing Guoan) suffered a fuel pressure issue on his out-lap, while the Atech-Reid team opted not to run the Olympique Lyonnais car of Tristan Gommendy. Alvaro Parente (FC Porto) missed the session as he only arrived in China a couple of hours prior to the start.

Pos  Driver             Team                        Time       Gap
 1.  Craig Dolby        Tottenham Hotspur           1m08.341s
 2.  Frederic Vervisch  Liverpool FC                1m08.519s  + 0.178s
 3.  Franck Perera      Girondins de Bordeaux       1m08.691s  + 0.350s
 4.  Julien Jousse      AS Roma                     1m08.774s  + 0.433s
 5.  Robert Doornbos    Corinthians                 1m08.792s  + 0.451s
 6.  Yelmer Buurman     AC Milan                    1m09.008s  + 0.667s
 7.  Ben Hanley         Olympiacos                  1m09.084s  + 0.743s
 8.  Adrian Valles      Sporting Clube de Portugal  1m09.100s  + 0.759s
 9.  Andy Soucek        Flamengo                    1m09.200s  + 0.859s
10.  Max Wissel         FC Basel                    1m09.209s  + 0.868s
11.  Earl Bamber        PSV Eindhoven               1m09.917s  + 1.576s
12.  Marcos Martinez    Sevilla FC                  1m09.964s  + 1.623s
13.  Giacomo Ricci      Galatasaray                 1m10.232s  + 1.891s
14.  Davide Rigon       RSC Anderlecht              1m10.573s  + 2.232s
15.  Paul Meijer        Atletico de Madrid          1m11.796s  + 3.455s
16.  Ma Qing Ha         Team China                  1m17.508s  + 9.167s
17.  John Martin        Beijing Gouan
Daytona Competition
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