The Indian drove a masterful recovery race from the third row where he had started
The Indian drove a masterful recovery race from the third row where he had started after yesterday’s second place due to the reverse grid rule . The former F1 racer edged his team mate Vittorio Ghirelli: the Roman, part of the CSAI Young Driver Program, handed David Sears and his men a valuable 1-2 finish, enough for them to retain the lead in the teams’ championship with 210 points. The final podium spot went to Kimiya Sato (Euronova Racing). The Japanese was able to make his way back to the top of the overall standings, although tied with Ibiza Racing Team’s Sergio Campana. After winning Race 1, Campana was off to a tougher run today as he was stopped by a pit-stop issue. Rounding out the top-5 were Tamas Pal Kiss (Zele Racing) and Kevin Giovesi. The Ghinzani Motorsport runner had ended the day in the lead but was later penalized 25 seconds for not respecting the track limits in the opening stages of the race.
Dutchman Meindert van Buuren (MP Motorsport), who was also penalized after leading the pack in yesterday’s Race 1, ended up in 6th place in front of fellow MP Motorsport man Daniel De Jong. A great run for the GP2 Series regular who drove an hard-charging race from the last row on the grid. Japanese Yoshitaka Kuroda, representing Euronova Racing, took 8th place after starting from the front row but losing positions in the very early stages together with Christian Klien. The Austrian did not warm his tires hard enough during the pace lap and his car struggled in putting the 550 horsepower of its Zytek engine to the ground when the lights went off. The top-10 was completed by Andrea Roda, who scored his second straight points finish for Virtuosi UK, in a rebound after his tough times at Silverstone.
Narain Karthikeyan: “I would have preferred to cross the finishing line in the lead, but considered that I risked to lose many valuable points yesterday for an issue during the formation lap, I’m quite satisfied with how the weekend went. I also took advantage from the problem happened to my rivals and I’m getting closing into the overall lead in points. The next round will be at the Nurburgring. It’s a track that I know well and I want to get even more satisfactions there”.
Vittorio Ghirelli: “My race has been a consistent one, I ended up in the same position I had at the start. Infortunately, Klien, who was almost stopped, got into my way, and I had to lift the throttle in avoidance. In the end, we profited from a a good race pace and strategy”.
Kimiya Sato: “The overall balance of the weekend isn’t negative. Today I fought back from last to third which hasn’t been very easy, but I managed to make my way through traffic thanks to a good set-up. I’m coming out of this weekend still in the points lead although my advantage was wiped away. I’m ready to defend the lead again”.
source: Auto GP, autogp.org
SATO FIGHTS BACK WITH PODIUM, KURODA COMPLETES BEST AUTO GP WEEKEND
Kimiya Sato drove an outstanding race at Mugello today, fighting through the field from 13th to 3rd and keeping his Championship hopes alive in the process. His Euronova team-mate, Yoshitaka Kuroda, enjoyed his best Auto GP weekend of the season so far scoring an 8th place finish.
Kuroda started from the front row and was beaten into the first corner only by Giovesi who was later penalized for not respecting the track boundaries at the start. Before stopping for new rubber at the end of lap 4 he diced breathtakingly with ex F1 driver Karthikeyan and his Supernova team mate Ghirelli. Kuroda’s early stop and his pace throughout the race allowed him to keep in touch with the front runners. He took the flag in 8th place after enjoying a close battle with the Manor MP drivers Van Buuren and De Jong for the last third of the race.
After failing to finish yesterday’s race Sato was forced to start from row 7 today. A great start saw him rocket up to 8th place by the end of lap 1. He too made an early pit-stop, pulling in at the end of lap 6, and rejoining with a clear track ahead of him. The Japanese driver pushed hard for the remaining 10 laps and his speed was such that he gained time over the drivers who had yet to stop. When all the pit stops had been completed Sato had moved up the order to 3rd place, earning him important championship points.
The Auto GP Championship now takes a break until the middle of August when the series will race at the Nurburgring alongside the DTM.
Strong Super Nova showing in Mugello
Super Nova again proved their quality in Mugello at the weekend, during round five of the eight race Series.
Having qualified on pole (Narain) and third (Vittorio) the Super Nova team had high hopes for a double podium in race one.
Unfortunately an unusual sequence of events prevented this but the team bounced back in spectacular fashion with recovery drives from both drivers resulting in a podium for Narain and an eventful top six finish for Vittorio. It all came together for race two though and the team managed to record it’s second one-two finish in two events, with Narain coming out on top.
The first race began badly even before the start with a sheered throttle cable bracket causing Narain’s car to lose throttle on the laps to the grid. Fortunately he made it to the pit lane and was forced to start the race from there once the repairs had been made. Vittorio on the other hand made a fantastic getaway from 3rd on the grid and comfortably led into the first corner where an incident involving championship leader Sato took him out of the race and brought the safety car out. At the restart Vittorio backed the pack up and executed a great jump on the opposition, only to be confronted by a slow moving safety car on the start finish straight. This forced him to slam his brakes on and allowed Giovesi to get a run on him into the first corner. Both drivers underestimated how cold the tyres and brakes had become following an unusually slow safety car period and outbraked each other into the gravel at turn one. They both bounced across the gravel rejoining the circuit and Vittorio soon came in for his mandatory pit stop. After this a mis-fire slowed him down by 3-4s a lap, losing positions in the process. The problem rectified itself and Vittorio recovered to 6th position.
Narain had a great race from the pit lane and with a bit of assistence from the safety car to bunch the field up, made great use of an early stop strategy to fight his way to 3rd position and another podium come the end of the race.
The start of race two was much more conventional with a slow starting Christian Klien being the only hindrance, causing Vittorio to lift and lose some places. Giovesi made a strong start from P7 but overtook a number of cars by using the outside of the track on his way to lead the first lap – something that would come back to bite him come the end of the race. Once they had overcome some slower cars, both Super Nova drivers set off in pursuit of Giovesi. Despite their best efforts and some understeer affecting the race pace, a good strategy was unable to allow Giovesi to be leapfrogged. Fortunately for Super Nova Giovesi was penalised for his early overtaking advantage and the team celebrated another 1-2 finish, with significant gains on the championship lead.
“I would have preferred to cross the finish line in the lead, but considering that I risked to lose many valuable points yesterday during the laps to the grid, I’m quite satisfied with how the weekend went. I also took advantage from the problems encountered by my rivals and I’m getting closer to the overall lead in the points. The next round will be at the Nurburgring – a track that I know well and I want to get even better results there.”
“After a great start in race one in which I took the lead, the problems began when the safety car came out. After leading us around very slowly for some laps the lights went off, after which it is my responsibility to dictate the pace of the field. I backed everyone up and made a good restart only to see the safety car parked on the straight. It was dangerous because we all had to brake hard and then Giovesi got alongside me into the first corner. We both made a mistake fighting for the lead and went off, then an engine problem prevented me recovering to have a chance of the race win.
The second race was better but I got blocked by Klien who started slowly and lost a position or two. We then had a lot of understeer but were able to manage the race and the strategy to get back onto the podium and close the gap in the championship. I am looking forward to Nurburgring where I am sure we can have more strong results.”
Round 6 (Nurburgring) is on 16-18 August