Superleague Formula by Sonangol wows the crowds on Assen’s streets


Monaco’s aren’t the only streets to reverberate to the sound of single seaters this weekend after Superleague Formula by Sonangol wowed Dutch fans in the town of Assen yesterday evening.

Following two free practice sessions earlier in the day ahead of the championship’s second round this weekend, Superleague Formula decamped to Assen itself for an evening of high octane entertainment. Fans gathered throughout the day, taking advantage of the football-themed attractions on offer, ahead of the main event at 7pm local time when the high-pitched scream of V12 engines were fired up for the first time.

An incredible 12,000 spectators lined the town centre’s canal to catch a glimpse of home favourites Yelmer Buurman and Robert Doornbos power their AC Milan and Corinthians cars up and down the main street, while Narain Karthikayan was also on hand to showcase the potency of his PSV Eindhoven entry, the only Eredivisie club to compete in this season’s championship. Reigning champions Liverpool were also represented thanks to James Walker.

Yelmer Buurman: “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that before! I’ve done some demos but not with such a quick car. It was really good but a shame that I had to take care of it because we still have to qualify and finish three races this weekend. I couldn’t do too many burnouts and donuts! Having the water so close was also a new experience. Normally there’s a big wall between you so it was a bit strange, but the divers were there ready to fish someone out! I still got up to about 200kmph which was good.”

With the demonstration runs completed, it was down to the serious business of drawing Saturday’s qualifying groups in front of the assembled crowd. Beijing Guoan’s return to the championship they won in 2008 ensures that the grid returns to 18 cars this weekend, meaning that two groups of nine will fight for eight places in the quarter-final knockout stages.

Championship leaders Tottenham Hotspur find themselves fighting to get out of Group A along with fellow Silverstone race winners Olympique Lyonnais, while the championship’s other Ligue 1 side Bordeaux should also be in contention.

Home fans will be watching Group B with keen interest meanwhile where all three Dutch drivers – Doornbos (Corinthians), Buurman (AC Milan) and Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos) – will go up against PSV Eindhoven.

With light beginning to fade, there was just enough time for an impromptu penalty shootout in the main square where Superleague Formula’s finest driving talent took on former Bayern Munich and Belgian international goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff, before fans were invited on stage where all 18 drivers signed autographs.

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