Ibiza Racing Team will contest their third Auto GP season in 2015
After their winning debut in 2013, last year the Spanish squad brought their leading driver Giuseppe Cipriani to a podium finish in the inaugural round at Marrakech.
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.