Adrian Quaife-Hobbs became the third Auto GP champion today in Curitiba, following in the footsteps of previous title winners Romain Grosjean and Kevin Ceccon.

The Briton crashed out of a race that he was dominating on lap 19, misjudging the braking point after entering the pit-lane and hitting the tyre wall. Despite this bitter ending, the 5th position clinched by Pål Varhaug meant that the SuperNova driver still ended the weekend with a 55 points lead on his Norwegian rival, 7 more than the 48 that will be available in Sonoma for the last round of the Series.

Quaife-Hobbs’ crash was a dramatic turn of events in a race that until that moment had offered a great show with a close battle between the SuperNova driver and Antonio Pizzonia.

At the start Adrian took the lead from third spot on the grid while the home hero made an amazing getaway passing from P8 to P3. When Pizzonia passed Rafael Suzuki for 2nd place it became clear that his intention was to challenge for the win but on the other hand Quaife-Hobbs was already pushing hard posting laptimes in the high 1’12” range.

The gap between the two never got bigger than 1” until the end of lap 7, when Pizzonia elected to pit and a wheelnut issue on the rear left tyre costed Ombra Racing a 5” delay in releasing the car.

With SuperNova opting for a late pit-stop the two drivers weren’t seeing each other anymore but the battle continued nevertheless: Quaife-Hobbs had a 35” gap on Pizzonia, enough to exit in front of him with a mistakeless pit-stop, but when he entered the pit lane with 4 laps to go he missed the braking point and clipped the grass, losing control of the car and hitting the tyres.

This meant that Pizzonia inherited the lead and crossed the line with a 8” advantage on Chris Van der Drift and Daniel de Jong: the Manor MP Motorsport pair sealed the podium with a great performance: the kiwi driver started in fourth place and and then got third passing Suzuki early on, while his ducth team-mate recovered from P8 relying on the great race pace that he had already shown yesterday.

Sirotkin took the flag in 4th place after a very consistent showing, closing the race ahead of Pål Varhaug. The Virtuosi UK driver, who was starting from 7th on the grid, tried an early pit-stop strategy changing tyres on lap 4, but that didn’t give him a clear track as he had hoped. Stuck behind Sirotkin for the whole race, he managed to post the fastest lap of the race after Quaife-Hobbs crashing, but it wasn’t enough to keep title hopes alive.

Rafael Suzuki improved yesterday’s result with a good sixth place, finishing ahead of Max Snegirev and Sergio Campana, while Francesco Dracone and Giuseppe Cipriani rounded out the top ten.

Curitiba, 22 July, Race 2
1 Antonio PIZZONIA Ombra Racing 23 laps in 28:44.316
2 Chris VAN DER DRIFT Manor MP Motorsport +8.021
3 Daniel DE JONG Manor MP Motorsport +9.264
4 Sergey SIROTKIN Euronova Racing +13.662
5 Pal VARHAUG Virtuosi UK +14.651
6 Rafael SUZUKI Ombra Racing +30.039
7 Max SNEGIREV Campos Racing +39.835
8 Sergio CAMPANA Euronova Racing +40.197
9 Francesco DRACONE Virtuosi UK +57.038
10 Giuseppe CIPRIANI Campos Racing +1 LAP
11 Michele LA ROSA MLR 71 +1 LAP
12 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS Supernova International +4 LAPS

Fastest lap: lap 22 by Pål Varhaug in 1’12”549, avg 183,35 kph

Drivers Standings:
1. Quaife-Hobbs 205 (Champion);
2. Varhaug 150;
3. Sirtokin 140;
4. Van Der Drift 127;
5. De Jong 78;
6. Regalia 68;
7. Campana 66;
8. Guerin 46;
9. Pizzonia 45;
10. Snegirev and Ricci 30;
12. Spavone 27;
13. Serenelli 26;
14. Cipriani 18;
15. Pentus 14;
16. Suzuki and Dracone 12;
18. Cunha 8;
19. Fong 4;
20. Sistos and La Rosa 2.

Under 21 Standings:
1. Quaife-Hobbs 224;
2. Sirotkin 181;
3. Varhaug 172;
4. De Jong 109;
5. Regalia 96;
6. Spavone 74;
7. Guerin 66;
8. Cunha 24;
9. Beretta 9;
10. Sistos 6.

Teams Standings:
1. SuperNova 251;
2. MP Manor 205;
3. Virtuosi UK 159;
4. Euronova 158;
5. Campos Racing 115;
6. Ombra 95;
7. MLR71 63;
8. Zele Racing 44.

All Photos Auto GP.

Antonio Pizzonia.

Chris Van Der Drift.

Daniel De Jong.

Sergey Sirotkin.

Pål Varhaug.

Rafael Suzuki.

Max Snegirev.

Sergio Campana.

Francesco Dracone.

Giuseppe Cipriani.

The start.

Close racing.

Antonio Pizzonia celebrates his win.

The Race 2 podium.