DONINGTON AUTOGP: WINS FOR GHIRELLI AND KARTHIKEYAN
Race 1: Vittorio Ghirelli (Super Nova International) wins, takes first 2013 Auto GP Title.Vittorio Ghirelli, running for Super Nova International, is the first champion of the 2013 Auto GP Season. As he cruised to victory in Race 1 at Donington, the Rome-based racer was able to lift the Under 21 trophy with three races to spare. On the other hand, thanks to the points he scored on-track, he also nailed the overall series' lead with a 9-point advantage on his closest rival.
Second place was taken by pole-sitter and Ghirelli's team-mate Narain Karthikeyan, who topped Ghinzani Motorsport's Kevin Giovesi. The Italian seemed set to fight for victory until he entered the pits for his scheduled stop. Unfortunately, a problem in securing his front left tire cost him valuable time in the process and forced him tto content with a - still very positive - podium position. The team, owned by former F.1 racer Piercarlo Ghinzani, was able to celebrate a good overall result with Romanian Robert Visoiu scoring fourth place after leaving a good impression in practice.
Missing the beat in Race 1 was Japanese Kimiya Sato. The Euronova Racing driver had nailed the strategy thanks to an early stop. Although he had a clean track and scored the fastest lap of the race, he spun on his own on lap 19, ending up his run into the gravel. Taking full advantage from that, Ibiza Racing Team's Sergio Campana managed to trim his gap by 10 points in what is now an extremely tight top-3 situation in standings.
Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) took sixth as he won a race-long battle with Tamas Pal Kiss (Ibiza Racing Team), while thanks to his 8th place, fellow MP Motorsport Dutchman Meindert Van Buuren collected the pole position for this afternoon's Race 2.
The points zone was completed by Andrea Roda (Virtuosi UK) and Yoshitaka Kuroda (Euronova Racing), while Roberto La Rocca (Comtec by Virtuosi) was forced to take-off from the pits.
Vittorio Ghirelli:“I'm very happy to have scored a win here at Donington. Being the first champion of the 2013 AutoGP makes me very proud because it rewards the efforts made by me and the team. Now I have to focus on the future and I want to fight for the overall championship”.
Narain Karthikeyan:“I suffered from some graining after the pit-stop and that impacted on our performance. In the first part of the race I had a good pace and I managed to keep the rest of the pack behind. The great recovery by Vittorio shows how quick we are and now I'm looking forward to score more points in Race 2”.
Kevin Giovesi:“We had a pit-stop issue in tightening a wheel and it eventually cost us second place, but I also made a mistake while chasing Karthikeyan and lost ground on Ghirelli. Unfortunately, it happens when you're pushing to the limit”.
Race 2: Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) gets his crown in the UK.Narain Karthikeyan (Super Nova International) scored a powerful victory at Donington Park today as he took the Auto GP Race 2 honours at the East Midlands venue.
The Indian racer, who was back at Donington 13 years after his experience in the 2000 British F.3 series, showed not to have lost his touch, ending up as the best driver of the weekend overall. Thanks to an early pit-stop strategy, that enabled him to turn the fastest lap of the race, Karthikeyan managed to move on Meindert Van Buuren (MP Motorsport), who was starting from the pole position. The Dutchman drove a solid race to end in second place, scoring his first podium of 2013, while Kevin Giovesi (Ghinzani Motorsport) rounded out the top-3 once again, replicating his positive Race 1 result.
Race 1 winner Vittorio Ghirelli, also driving for Super Nova International, delivered a good comeback performance after starting in 8th due to the reversed top-8 grid from Race 1's results. Despite some alternating gearbox issues that slowed him down, the Roman was even able to bolden his lead in standings. With his car finally getting back in full shape, he topped both Kimiya Sato (Euronova Racing) and Sergio Campana (Ibiza Racing Team) as they respectively finished in 5th and 6th. The Italian went for a really late pit-stop and once back on-track he found himself right behind Van Buuren. In an attempt to move past his rival, he ended up off-track, losing positions.
On the other hand, Roberto La Rocca, fielded by the Comtec By Virtuosi team, enjoyed a good run as he recovered up to the 7th spot from the back of the grid. The points zone was completed by Tamas Pal Kiss (Ibiza Racing Team), Yoshitaka Kuroda (Eurova Racing) and Max Snegirev (Virtuosi UK).