Former A1GP champion Neel Jani dominated the second Superleague Formula race of the weekend at Circuit do Algarve in Portugal for Olympiacos.
Series debutant Jani, subbing for the injured Chris van der Drift, leaped into the lead at the first corner after a chaotic rolling start, which stewards investigated after a number of cars appeared to jump the front row which is supposed to dictate the pace until the green lights come on. But Jani was already ahead on the run to the opening corner, and did not look back.
Jani won by almost 10 seconds ahead of Tristan Gommendy, an impressive result for the Frenchman after the running of the car switched to series newcomer DriveX. Robert Doornbos finished third for Corinthians, ensuring he has scored the most points this weekend and will start the super final from pole position.
"I would never have thought it would be such a big win," said Jani. "They [the front row] slowed down in front suddenly, so I almost crashed, but it turned out to be a great start instead. I'm really happy."
Gmmendy, who did not even have a seat made to drive in first practice, added: "It was a really tough weekend, I didn't know the track or the team, at the end this is fantastic."
The championship protagonists suffered varying fortunes. Craig Dolby (Spurs) lost his front wing in the chaotic opening corners, while Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) was forced into the gravel on the opening lap when Celso Miguez spun in front of him. Buurman recovered to run 11th, but was later forced out with a gearbox failure.
That left new series leader Davide Rigon to cruise to ninth place and extend the lead for Anderlecht.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Neel Jani Olympiacos 46m00.710s 2. Tristan Gommendy Olympique Lyonnais + 9.385s 3. Robert Doornbos Corinthians + 11.448s 4. Max Wissel FC Basel + 14.223s 5. Andy Soucek Galatasaray + 17.657s 6. Frederic Vervisch Liverpool FC + 24.399s 7. Duncan Tappy Flamengo + 31.154s 8. Hywel Lloyd PSV Eindhoven + 39.110s 9. Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht + 41.007s 10. Julien Jousse AS Roma + 43.898s 11. John Martin Beijing Guoan + 1m04.662s 12. Maria de Villota Atletico de Madrid + 1m09.075s 13. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur + 1 lap Retirements: Celso Miguez Girondins 12 laps Maximo Cortes Sporting 9 laps Yelmer Buurman AC Milan 8 laps Alvaro Parente FC Porto 8 laps Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC 6 laps