German youngster Max Wissel recorded the first Superleague Formula victory for FC Basel at Donington Park on Sunday morning, jumping ahead of early leader Antonio Pizzonia of Corinthians in the pitstops and pulling off a crucial pass on Rangers' John Martin at Schwantz Curve soon after.
Pizzonia led from the off, but the rolling start was a messy affair, and allowed Wissel to get past the other front row man Davide Rigon (Olympiakos).
Martin was fourth, ahead of Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur), Giorgio Pantano (AC Milan) and Jonathan Kennard (Roma). An early safety car was required when Enrique Bernoldi (Flamengo) came off worst when he clashed with Liverpool's Adrian Valles at the Old Hairpin, and the race restarted without Rigon, whose car ground to a halt behind the safety car.
At the restart, Pizzonia pulled out a 1.2-second lead over Wissel, but that shrank to virtually nothing as all the leaders pitted together on lap nine, with Martin also right in the mix. Martin won the pitstop race, rejoining ahead of Wissel and Pizzonia. Dolby took the lead for a lap before making his stop, but he lost a place to Pantano with a sticking right-rear wheel.
Martin was looking good up front, but got stuck behind Dominick Muermans (PSV Eindhoven) who was running third at the time having not pitted. The Australian tripped over him at the Old Hairpin and briefly ran wide onto the kerbs, allowing Wissel to sweep past him at Schwantz Curve.
"He just screwed my race win," said Martin of Muermans.
Wissel got the hammer down, pulling out as much as a 4.6s lead before backing off towards the end. He won by 2.1s at the finish, ahead of Martin, Pizzonia and Pantano.
Dolby just held off Valles for fifth in an all-Premier League battle between Spurs and Liverpool. Kannard finished seventh, ahead of Tristan Gommendy (Porto), who spun Sevilla's Esteban Guerrieri around on lap 13.
Muermans came back to haunt the leaders when they came to lap him towards the finish. Wissel took half a lap to pass him, despite lots of arm-waving, eventually lunging past at McLeans. Martin and Dolby also had close calls while battling past.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Max Wissel FC Basel 45m15.840s 2. John Martin Rangers + 2.180s 3. Antônio Pizzonia Corinthians + 3.121s 4. Giorgio Pantano AC Milan + 3.953s 5. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur + 11.490s 6. Adrian Valles Liverpool + 12.582s 7. Jonathan Kennard AS Roma + 16.415s 8. Tristan Gommendy FC Porto + 16.853s 9. Ho-Pin Tung Atletico Madrid + 23.533s 10. Kasper Andersen FC Midtylland + 24.487s 11. Esteban Guerrieri Sevilla FC + 25.839s 12. Pedro Petiz Sporting +1m05.223s 13. Scott Mansell Galatasaray + 1 lap 14. Nelson Panciatici Olympique Lyonnais + 1 lap 15. Dominick Muermans PSV Eindhoven + 1 lap Retirements: Yelmer Buurman Anderlecht 7 laps Davide Rigon Olympiacos 3 laps Enrique Bernoldi Flamengo 0 laps