MUGELLO AUTOGP: RACE WINS FOR CAMPANA AND KARTHIKEYAN
Race 1: Sergio Campana (Ibiza Racing Team) wins and takes over the championship lead.Sergio Campana (Ibiza Racing Team) made his way back to victory today at Mugello, as the fifth round of the 2013 Auto GP season went underway with Race 1 at the Italian venue. Thanks to the 25 points scored, the Modena-based man has also cruised to the championship lead profiting from a first-lap incident that involved Kimiya Sato (Euronova Racing). The Japanese was hit from behind by Christian Klien at the San Donato Corner and eventually collected Michele La Rosa (MLR71) in the process. In order to remove the two stuck cars, the stewards brought on-track the Safety-Car, which froze the order for 4 laps. On another note, both polesitter Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) and Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) were missing from the grid. The Indian was able to rejoin after coming back to the pits with an engine issue, while the Dutchman stopped for good in the first sector.
At the re-start, Vittorio Ghirelli (Super Nova International) was into the lead followed by Kevin Giovesi (Ghinzani Motorsport). Unfortunately though, both of them overshot the first corner ending up into the gravel trap for the joy of new leader Meindert van Buuren (MP Motorsport) and second-placed Sergio Campana. A contact in the fight for third place involved Francesco Dracone (Ibiza Racing Team) and Robert Visoiu (Ghinzani Motorsport), promoting Andrea Roda (Virtuosi UK) to the spot. The Italian was passed during the pit-stops by Giovesi and Karthikeyan though, and while Van Buuren eventually ended the race in the lead, he was penalized 25 seconds for crossing the white line at the end of the pit-lane. So in an unexpected twist, Campana was able to celebrate an extremely valuable win in front of Giovesi, who set the fastest lap of the day, and by Karthikeyan.
Roda ended up in a positive fourth place - his best finish in the series so far - by delivering a smart and consistent performance, while the top-5 was rounded out by Tamas Pal Kiss (Zele Racing). Ghirelli took 6th despite some slight engine woes in the closing stages, edging Euronova's Yoshitaka Kuroda and Klien. The Austrian, fielded by Zele Racing, will start from the pole tomorrow in Race 2.
Sergio Campana:“I'm very proud to have scored this win. Due to the yellow flags, we had some troubles in taking advantage of the last few minutes in qualifying, but more than that we had to replace our engine after Friday's practice so we had a lot of unknowns. I tried to keep my nose clean for the whole race and at the re-start I held onto my position behind van Buuren. In addition to the other issues, I'm racing with a scar on my right leg, I'm on antibiotics and not in my best shape, but I just focused on scoring all the points that I could and it eventually paid off. Thanks to Sato's retirement, I'm now leading the championship”.
Kevin Giovesi:“I slightly missed the pole in qualifying but, on the other hand, I scored my second front row start in two races. At the start I hadn't Narain Karthikeyan in front of me as he had slowed down during the pace lap, and after the safety-car came in I used Vittorio Ghirelli as a benchmark. Unfortunately, he ran wide and I went with him at San Donato. After this off-track exit, I pushed like hell and recovered up to second. I want to thank the team for providing me with a great car and for the perfect pit-stop”.
Narain Karthikeyan:“This podium finish definitely feels like a win for me. Despite the fact that we had scored the pole, I was forced back to the pit-lane due to a glitch in the acceleration system. Once back on-track, I caught the tail of the field and started to pass my opponents, also profiting from some contacts ahead. Now I'm aiming for the win in tomorrow's Race 2”.
Race 2: Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) goes back to victoryNarain Karthikeyan, driving for Super Nova International, went back to victory in Race 2 at Silverstone, as the 2013 Auto GP completed its 5th round of the season at the Northamptonshire venue. 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.