VALENCIA AUTO GP: AFANASIEV BEATS CECCON TO POLE
Sergei Afanasiev will be the poleman for the first race of the Auto GP weekend in Valencia, that will start today at 1.35 PM.
The Russian driver posted a 1'23"436, a laptime that allowed him to take the top spot in the final stages of a thrillingly-close session that saw the top three drivers packed in just 0"08 and 12 competitors in just eight tenths. So the DAMS driver managed to keep momentum after his impressive performances in Oschersleben, and got an ideal start to a weekend where his aim is to further reduce the gap from championship leader Kevin Ceccon.
The Italian driver, anyway, won't make it easy for his rivals and in today's Qualifying he was 2nd: after going off track in the first minutes, causing the first of the two red flags that interrupted the session, he found a perfect feeling with the car and his best lap was just 0"03 shy of pole. Behind him, opening an all-Campos Racing second row, was Adrien Tambay. With a 1'23"513 he was the quickest driver of the field until 5 minutes to the end, and that laptime was enough to keep team-mate Adam Carroll at bay in the fight for third place.
Third row was taken by Samuele Buttarelli, again on the pace after a Friday ruined by some technical woes, ahead of the first placed Lazarus driver, Fabio Onidi. The Italian driver, who has fully recovered from the right hand injury sustained in Donington, suffered from a lack of grip caused by the track temperatures, higher compared to yesterday. Same issue for his team-mate Fabrizio Crestani behind him and for Luca Filippi.
After dominating the Free Practice sessions with the SuperNova car, Luca today only managed to equal the laptimes posted yesterday with old tyres, and will start from P8, ahead of Rio Haryanto and Giovanni Venturini who are closing the top ten.
Sergei Afanasiev:"It was a really hard-fought session, and taking pole when the battle is so hot makes it even better. The summer break was long and I had no testing in the meantime, so when I got back in the car I feared that some of the feeling I had could be lost. Anyway this wasn't the case at all, after just a few laps I was back into the 'Oschersleben mood' and could push really hard. I really want to say thanks to DAMS for giving me such a good car, they know what I want and they always deliver a top job, so they deserve to be praised".
Valencia1 Sergei AFANASIEV Dams 1:23.436
2 Kevin CECCON Ombra Racing 1:23.466
3 Adrien TAMBAY Campos Racing 1:23.513
4 Adam CARROLL Campos Racing 1:23.574
5 Samuele BUTTARELLI TP Formula 1:23.617
6 Fabio ONIDI Lazarus 1:23.658
7 Fabrizio CRESTANI Lazarus 1:23.714
8 Luca FILIPPI Supernova Racing 1:23.746
9 Rio HARYANTO Dams 1:23.830
10 Giovanni VENTURINI Griffitz Durango 1:24.090
11 Pasquale DI SABATINO TP Formula 1:24.113
12 Adrian CAMPOS JR Campos Racing 1:24.128
13 Daniel DEJONG MP Motorsport 1:24.531
14 Francesco DRACONE Ombra Racing 1:25.996
15 Giuseppe CIPRIANI Griffitz Durango 1:26.064
All pictures Auto GP.