|Race 1: Kimiya Sato (Euronova) wins and extends championship lead.
It’s been a winning comeback for Kimiya Sato (Euronova) in the fifth round of the 2014 AutoGP championship. The Japanese racer cruised to win Race 1 at Imola in a commanding fashion but also took advantage from a first-lap technical mishap happened to German pole-sitter Markus Pommer (Super Nova).
Once in the lead, Sato never looked back. A consistent Kevin Giovesi ended up in second for FMS and edged fellow Italian Andrea Roda (Virtuosi UK), who moved past his Norweigian team-mate Pal Varhaug at Acque Minerali. It was a good comeback for Varhaug too: the 2012 runner-up performed well all-around. Michela Cerruti, driving for Super Nova, quickly made up for the ground lost in the opening laps. The Italian female racer kept the same pace as the winner for most of the day and recovered 12 seconds, before rounding out the top-5 in Varhaug’s slipstream. Despite Pommer’s retirement, Super Nova was also able to celebrate for Francesco Dracone’s sixth place. The Italian got the nod of a spectacular battle with Swissman Christof von Grunicen.
Giuseppe Cipriani, driving for Ibiza Racing, ended up in 8th and will start from the pole in Race 2 thanks to the reversed top-8 grid format. The points zone was completed by Tamas Pal Kiss (Zele Racing) who was slowed down by a pit-stop issue, and Vittorio Ghirelli (FMS) who was forced to a second stop.
At his first race in the series, Euronova’s Salvatore De Plano drove consistently to end the race with no mistakes.
Race 2: Michela Cerruti (Super Nova) scores historic win.
The Auto GP championship celebrated an historic race 2 at Imola. Italian female racer Michela Cerruti cruised to her maiden win in the Coloni-promoted series in a spectacular fashion. The 27-year-old from Milan scored the first open-wheel win for a female racer in the last 5 years, and the first with an high-power open-wheel car in the European modern era.
Michela started well from fourth place, then chased team-mate Francesco Dracone (Super Nova) and Ibiza Racing’s Giuseppe Cipriani, who was leading the race. She took full advantage from a slow start by Christof Von Grunigen, who dropped several spots, and dived on Dracone to get second place with an outstanding pass. Then, at Tamburello, she took the lead when Cipriani spun and never looked back.
Kevin Giovesi scored a good second place for FMS, as he attacked Dracone on lap 4 before following Cerruti under the chequered flag. He also scored some really valuable points that allowed him to tie with Super Nova’s Markus Pommer for second in the championship standings, and also move on Tamas Pal Kiss (Zele Racing).
Returning Norwegian Pal Varhaug, driving for Virtuosi UK, scored the trophy for third place in a positive comeback to edge Kimiya Sato (Euronova) who extended his lead in points. While he’s aware that he will miss the round at Zeltweg due to the same-day commitment in the GP2 Series, in Germany, he kept his name atop the standings with a clean margin.
An exhaust issue slowed down Virtuosi UK driver Andrea Roda, who scored 9th between the two Zele cars, while the final points-paying position went to Dracone.