Frederic Vervisch won a hard-earned €100,000 in a thrilling Superleague Formula Nations Cup superfinal at Zolder in Belgium.
The Belgian driver in the Luxembourg-liveried car just fended off a charging John Martin (Australia) by 0.268s in the dash to the finish line after a rain shower threatened to turn the race on its head.
In dry conditions from the start, Vervisch led from pole position and pulled out a 2.5s lead by half distance in the five-lap sprint race. But rain then began to fall, allowing the battling Martin and Neel Jani (Belgium/Anderlecht) to reel in the leader.
Going into the chicane behind the paddock for the final time, Vervisch clipped the white line under braking and his car snapped sideways, causing him to straightline the right-hander. But Martin got into a big slide further around the corner as Jani also straightlined the corner. The top three then ran wheel-to-wheel to the finish, with Jani almost driving around the outside of Martin for second at the final chicane, but just failing.
"I can't believe it, it's so cool!" said Vervisch. "The braking was quite unexpected at the chicane, and I almost spun. I had a good exit from the last chicane, that was the key."
Martin, who now leads the points, said: "The team did an outstanding job, now we're leading the championship and couldn't come out with a better job this weekend." Australia leads Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands and England in the point standings.
Max Wissel finished fourth on his return to the series for South Korea, the top four cars covered by less than a second at the finish, with another returnee Chris van der Drift fifth for New Zealand.
Results - 5 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Frederic Vervisch Luxembourg 6m52.538s 2. John Martin Australia + 0.268s 3. Neel Jani Belgium/Anderlecht + 0.766s 4. Max Wissel South Korea + 0.949s 5. Chris van der Drift New Zealand + 1.162s 6. Robert Doornbos Japan + 2.078s 7. Yelmer Buurman Netherlands/PSV + 2.701s 8. Mikhail Aleshin Russia + 4.440s