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SUPERLEAGUE NEWS 

Martin wins for Beijing Gouan

John Martin takes the lead at the start at NavarraBeijing Guoan's John Martin led from start to finish to win the opening race at the new Navarra track in Spain during the final round of the Superleague Formula season.

Martin grabbed the lead from poleman Davide Rigon (Anderlecht) at the start, and controlled the race from there. Martin was 2.6 seconds ahead of Rigon before the mandatory pitstops and, after the quickest stop of the race from his ADR crew, he rejoined over 6s clear and cruised to the finish, which featured a few spots of rain.

Points leader Rigon enjoyed a clean run to second to extend his championship lead to 23 points, which means he should clinch the title in the second race - which starts just 25 minutes after the finish of the first. He complained that Martin jumped the start, but was content to pick up the points for second.

"Yes, it's good," said Rigon of his points advantage. "I think Beijing started before me, which was wrong, but he was faster than me today. The track was quite different from yesterday. Now I have to stay calm, and be relaxed in race two."

Of the quick turnaround between the races, he said: "For me, it's better there is no time to think! I will try and follow Craig [Dolby, who starts ahead of him], make sure I'm right behind him, and that's it."

Dolby (Tottenham), who finished third, moves up to third in the points, one point behind Max Wissel (FC Basel) who finished sixth after a tremendous start from 13th on the grid.

"I can beat [Davide], although he drove a great race," said Dolby, who is suffering from a flu-like virus. "I struggled with the car, and I'm feeling awful in myself. It's tough, but I'll put on a show in the last race of the season. Once the helmet's on, I'm a machine. It's not over until the fat lady sings, and I've not heard her yet!"

Wissel added: "I had a brilliant start, and there was a huge gap in front of me, it was perfect. The pace was okay, but not too good. We have to keep the car how it is, because of parc ferme [rules], so it is what it is for race two."

Frederic Vervisch should have finished on the podium for Liverpool, but a loose wing sent him into the pits just as he was lining up Rigon for a pass for second. Andy Soucek finished fourth for Flamengo, ahead of Franck Perera (Bordeaux).

AC Milan's Yelmer Buurman finished seventh, and is now out of the title fight. Olympiacos' Ben Hanley was hit with a drive-through penalty, after crossing the white line at the pit exit while running side-by-side with Robert Doornbos (Corinthians), and is also virtually out of the title running.

Comeback kid Chris van der Drift (Galatasaray) spun off early on and did not finish. He will start from the front row in race two, however.

Pos  Driver               Team                           Time/Gap
 1.  John Martin          Beijing Guoan                41m02.447s
 2.  Davide Rigon         RSC Anderlecht                 + 6.050s
 3.  Craig Dolby          Tottenham Hotspur             + 14.256s
 4.  Andy Soucek          Flamengo                      + 16.122s
 5.  Franck Perera        Girondins de Bordeaux         + 16.846s
 6.  Max Wissel           FC Basel                      + 30.455s
 7.  Yelmer Buurman       AC Milan                      + 31.198s
 8.  Alvaro Parente       FC Porto                      + 31.424s
 9.  Robert Doornbos      Corinthians                   + 32.640s
10.  Adrian Valles        Sporting Clube de Portugal    + 40.660s
11.  Esteban Guerrieri    PSV Eindhoven                 + 50.908s
12.  Ben Hanley           Olympiacos                    + 58.860s
13.  Maria de Villota     Atletico de Madrid          + 1m10.416s
14.  Tristan Gommendy     Olympique Lyonnais          + 1m12.234s
15.  Marcos Martinez      Sevilla FC                  + 1m19.751s
16.  Frederic Vervisch    Liverpool FC                    + 1 lap

Retirements:

     Chris van der Drift  Galatasaray                 6 laps
     Maxi Cortes          AS Roma                     2 laps
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