Modesto Benegiamo looks at the weekend with confidence
The new Auto GP car successfully completed its scheduled 2-day shakedown at Vallelunga.
The brand-new racer marks the start of a revolutionary era for the series and showed to have speed and reliability in the hands of Ibiza Racing Team. The Italian-based operation announced their entry just one month ago and they were off to a flying start at Vallelunga, with nice weather, clear skies and a temperature of 13° C. The Auto GP technicians focused on set-up development with Giuseppe Cipriani behind the wheel.
Sergey Sirotkin became the last winner of the 2012 Auto GP season in Sonoma
The Russian driver of Euronova Racing was the first to cross the line in Sunday’s Race 2 after a race that saw him as the undisputed leader. After that the early part was led by reverse poleman Antonio Spavone and saw the Safety-Car deployed to remove Sakurai’s car (the Japanese driver stalled on the grid due to a clutch issue), Sirotkin effectively took the lead from lap 5 on, when a lightning quick pit-stop from the Euronova crew and a very fast out lap allowed him to climb from P3 to the lead. From then on, the driver from Russia lapped steadily in the low 1’28” range, a pace that nobody but Quaife-Hobbs could match.
Sergey Sirotkin topped the sheets of the first Auto GP practice in Sonoma
The Russian driver of Euronova was in the top three for the whole session and with just a few minutes to go he posted a 1’27”882 that was enough to edge championship winner Adrian Quaife-Hobbs by one tenth. “There’s much more to come – Sergey said – I had very old tyres and the track is still dirty. In order to do that laptime I took some risks, I don’t know about the others. Anyway, I really like the track; it’s a bit bumpy but it’s thrilling with all those blind corners”.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took the fifth pole of his Auto GP season.
The championship leader, who has a chance to seal the title already this weekend in Curitiba, made a further step in the right direction by taking the extra point for pole after a fight with Chris Van der Drift, Antonio Pizzonia and Pål Varhaug.
Antonio Pizzonia needed virtually no time to find the right pace in Auto GP
The home hero closed the first free practice session in second place, just 0”6 shy of Championship leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. The Briton confirmed his great pace topping the sheets with a 1’12”767 but the highlight of this first 30’ was undoubtedly Pizzonia’s great comeback on a single-seater: the former F1 driver surely made the most of his deep knowledge of the Curitiba track, something that allowed him to focus just on finding the feeling with Ombra Racing and the Zytek-powered Lola.
Sunday 3 June is a day that Adrian Quaife-Hobbs won’t forget easily
The young Briton of Supernova today won the second race of the Portimão Auto GP weekend starting from P8 and doing so he clinched a perfect weekend taking pole position, both race wins and both fastest laps. The fifth win of his season is another championship record secured by the driver from Kent, and the “hat-trick” is also an absolute premiere for the Series: thanks to this weekend’s results Quaife Hobbs added 48 points to his tally, bringing his advantage on the closest rival to 73 points.
The Briton of SuperNova didn’t have the best start from pole position, but that was the only tough moment of his race.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took the fourth success of his Auto GP season in Portimão, equaling the number of wins clinched by Romain Grosjean in the 2010 Championship. When the lights went off it was Facu Regalia who got away really well and took the lead, entering Turn 1 ahead of the whole pack, but he didn’t manage to build a gap; this meant that at the end of Lap 1 Quaife-Hobbs could make the most of the joint effect of slipstream and Overboost to pass him and take P1.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs clinched the fourth pole position of his Auto GP season in Portimão.
The British driver of SuperNova was quickest in a tight packed session that saw nine drivers end in the same second. Adrian climbed on top before the ten minutes mark with a 1’32”5, and then improved to 1’32”342 in the late part of Qualifying, after that the session was stopped for a spin by Michele La Rosa.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs posted the quickest time of the second Auto GP Free Practice session in Portimão.
The Briton of SuperNova stopped the clock on a 1’33”095 that allowed him to edge team-mate Victor Guerin by just 0.01. The Brazilian boasted a good performance, but he feels that there’s still work to do: “I was the only driver of the top tier on new tyres – said Victor – so I can’t be too happy. We still miss something, especially to catch Adrian, but we still have time before Qualifying”.
Pål Varhaug won a thrilling Race 2 in Budapest in front of 52.000 people
Euronova Racing penalized in Budapest
The Norwegian driver of Virtuosi UK delighted the Hungarian crowd crossing the line with a gap of just 0.8 on Adrian Quaife-Hobbs after an hard-fought race that saw the two run nose-to-tail right from the very first lap.
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