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Dolby’s victorious Zolder weekend tempered by race two gearbox woes

Craig Dolby experienced a weekend of highs and lows as Superleague Formula visited famed Belgian venue Zolder, where the Englishman took a brilliant victory in the opening race but was left wondering what might have been after technical gremlins ruled him out of the second run and dash-for-cash Superfinal.

The Melton Mowbray-based racer was in fine form throughout the Zolder weekend, scoring a well-deserved pole position in Saturday's qualifying only to be dropped to second on the grid for an infringement by his team during the session.

But Dolby was in no mood to let this halt his charge. Holding on to second during the opening stint of race one, he applied mounting pressure to leader Chris van der Drift before ducking into the pits to make his mandatory stop. Here, Alan Docking Racing played their part, turning him around the best part of a second faster than his rivals. That was enough to give him the jump on van der Drift, promoting Dolby to the lead of the race.

Now in his element, Craig began to reel off a string of fast laps that allowed him to edge away at the front and win by a comfortable 3-second margin, a result that temporarily sent England to the top of the championship.

But his hopes of claiming a second successive Superfinal triumph - and the €100,000 that goes with it - were dashed when technical problems struck his car in race two.

With the finishing positions in the opening race fully reversed to form the grid for the second event, Dolby started at the very back of the pack, but after calmly managing the first stint began to move up the order.

 

Then disaster struck: Dolby started to slow. He continued for a couple more laps before cruising into the pitlane, his car clearly suffering from a technical issue, and retired from the race. As such he was ruled out of the Superfinal, an event for which he would have been amongst the favourites to secure victory, and could only watch as England’s championship advantage slipped away.

Nevertheless, the Zolder round saw Dolby once again demonstrate his undoubted abilities behind the wheel of a racing car. The Englishman was the fastest driver for the majority of the weekend, and would have been a major factor in the Superfinal had his car not developed problems.

Craig Dolby: “I'm taking the positives from this weekend. I'm really happy with our qualifying performance: we worked extremely hard on improving this over the winter, so to set the fastest qualifying lap was very satisfying. I'm also thrilled with the job the Alan Docking Racing boys are doing, not least for the pitstops, which were first rate. Finally, I have to be pleased with my pace in race one as it was extremely consistent, and it was great to get the win.

“I would love to have been in the Superfinal – we had a new set of tyres saved and it looked great fun – but the problems on the car were nobody's fault: these things happen in motorsport. My full focus now is on the next race.”

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