NÜRBURGRING AUTOGP: RACE WINS FOR KARTHIKEYAN AND SATO
Race 1: Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) takes the victory.Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) cruised to his third win of the 2013 Auto GP season in Race 1 at the Nürburgring. The Indian former Formula 1 racer took-off from the pole and managed to end up in front of Kevin Giovesi (Ghinzani Motorsport) who threw a good challenge to the front. The Italian racer, who lined-up in third place, successfully passed Super Nova International's Vittorio Ghirelli at the start and managed to finish in a highly-positive second position.
Ghirelli paid the price of starting on the dirtier part of the track and missed the beat at takeoff, although he brought home a valuable podium position as well as the fastest lap of the race. The drivers received their awards on the podium from Emanuele Pirro. The former F.1 driver, who also starred in the Audi Le Mans squad for a decade, has recently covered the role of driver steward in Formula 1.
In fourth place Euronova Racing's Kimiya Sato sailed to a solitary lead in standings after a tough on-track duel with his main rival Sergio Campana, driving for Ibiza Racing Team. The Modena-based man, who eventually rounded out the top-5, and his Japanese colleague even touched each other before their respective pit-stops, although none of them damaged their cars or infringed any rule. It's been an exciting challenge for the DTM fans sitting at the Mercedes Arena. The top-6 was rounded out by Tamas Pal Kiss, making his debut with Ibiza Racing Team. He was followed by Robert Visoiu (Ghinzani Motorsport) but the real surprise came from rookie Roberto La Rocca (Comtec by Virtuosi) who ended up in 8th and secured the pole spot for Race 2.
Female racer Michela Cerruti, fielded by MLR71, also enjoyed a good debut race by topping Yoshitaka Kuroda (Euronova Racing) for 9th. On the other hand Daniel De Jong, driving for MP Motorsport, was forced to retire after a contact with Michele La Rosa (MLR71), who was penalized with a drive-through.
A penalty was also assessed to De Jong's team-mate Meindert Van Buuren for having cut the chicane and gained an advantage, while Andrea Roda (Virtuosi UK) lost valuable time in the opening part of the day due to a contact and a damaged front wing.
Narain Karthikeyan:“I'm very happy to have scored my third win this season, which is also the second straight one and a great boost to our championship chances. I had a good start from the pole, and then I managed to pass Giovesi at the end of the pit-stops. I'm proud to have provided my team with another well-deserved satisfaction.”
Kevin Giovesi:“I made up one spot at the start by passing Ghirelli and then stayed in Karthikeyan's slipstream. As I couldn't edge him on-track, we tried with the strategy in the pits and we had almost made it. Unfortunately, due to the cold tires I overshot the braking for the first corner and had to surrender the lead.”
Vittorio Ghirelli:“The fastest lap of the race shows how quick our car was today. Unfortunately, I was forced to start on the dirty side of the track and that cost me one position on Giovesi.”
Race 2: Kimiya Sato (Euronova Racing) scores the win.Kimiya Sato (Euronova Racing) fought his way back to the top of the podium today at the Nürburgring, in the Race 2 for the 6th round of the 2013 Auto GP championship. Thanks to this result, the Japanese racer increased his advantage at the top of the overall chart. At the start of the race, he took advantage from the issues involving some of the drivers he had in front and improved to third behind Sergio Campana, who was off to a flying start for Ibiza Racing Team, and pole-sitter Roberto La Rocca (Comtec by Virtuosi). Then, thanks to an early pit-stop strategy set up by Vincenzo Sospiri and his team, Sato found some suitable conditions for his tires. When the stops were over, he managed to pass both Campana and La Rocca, who were also overtaken by Vittorio Ghirelli (Super Nova International) and Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) ending up outside the podium range.
Both Ghirelli and De Jong were off to some steady recovery drives - the Italian took-off from row three, while the Dutchman achieved a stunning podium finish after starting last. Campana wounded up fourth, followed by Race 1 winner Narain Karthikeyan. The Indian racer paid the price of an early contact with Ghinzani Motorsport's Robert Visoiu, who was later penalized.
In sixth, Hungarian Tamas Pal Kiss, driving for Ibiza Racing Team, recovered after suffering from a damaged front wing at the start to pass La Rocca in the closing stages. The Venezuelan rookie drove an aggressive race with no reverential awe towards his more experienced rivals, and ended up in 7th right in front of fellow rookie Michela Cerruti. At her series debut with the MLR71 team, the 26-year-old female racer brought the Italian squad back to the points zone, accomplishing the feature in both Race 1 and 2 despite her lack of experience with powerful open-wheel machinery.
Rounding out the top-10 were Andrea Roda (Virtuosi UK) and Kevin Giovesi (Ghinzani Motorsport). The latter was penalized 2-spots on the grid after the stewards found tape in an illegal position on his car. After losing contact with the frontrunners, the Italian racer could not repeat his Race 1 podium finish.