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Ghirelli secures title as Sato takes win five

by Valentin Khorounzhiy

Photo: Auto GP World Series

Super Nova International’s Vittorio Ghirelli became the 2013 Auto GP World Series champion by finishing fourth in race two at Brno, which was won by Euronova’s Kimiya Sato.

With a 15-point cushion over nearest rival Narain Karthikeyan, Ghirelli needed to finish sixth to put the title beyond doubt – a task which he completed with a collected, riskless drive.

Roberto La Rocca started the race from reverse-grid pole position, but got bogged down off the line, allowing fellow front row starter Andrea Roda to briefly take the lead. However, the Italian almost immediately surrendered first to Euronova’s Kimiya Sato, who made a lightning start from fifth on the grid.

Sato comfortably led the race after the opening lap, which presented a real threat for Ghirelli’s title hopes, as the Italian found himself in only eighth after the opening laps.

However, as it has been the norm in Auto GP, pit stop strategies ended up playing a huge part in how the field shaped up at the checkered flag. Both Karthikeyan and Ghirelli managed to make their ways up the field due to pitch perfect stops from their Super Nova squad, with the Indian slotting in behind Sato for the closing stages of the race.

Still, an expected challenge for the lead from the experienced Super Nova man failed to materialize, as he started to slow down significantly due to a loose front wing. As such, Sato comfortably cruised to a dominant fifth victory of the season, while Karthikeyan settled for second.

Sergio Campana, who opted for a late stop, rounded out the podium. Ghirelli, who was running fourth among those who stopped, found himself stuck behind Francesco Dracone in the late stages of the race, who held up the championship leader with some rather questionable defending before coming for his mandatory stop. From that point on, Ghirelli cruised to fourth and secured the title.

Roda recorded fifth place for Virtuosi, finishing close behind the newly-crowned champion. Tamas Pal Kiss and Kevin Giovesi finished sixth and seventh respectively, with poleman La Rocca taking eighth. Manor duo Daniel de Jong and Meindert van Buuren rounded? out the points.

UPDATE: Narain Karthikeyan has been excluded from the race results for failing to comply with an apparent black-and-orange flag. As such, the Indian racer will lose third in the final standings of the season to Sergio Campana.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Kimiya Sato Euronova Racing 16 laps
2 Sergio Campana Ibiza Racing Team +15.625
3 Vittorio Ghirelli Supernova International +21.678
4 Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK +22.647
5 Tamas Pal Kiss Zele Racing +25.126
6 Kevin Giovesi Ghinzani Motorsport +25.752
7 Roberto La Rocca Comtec by Virtuosi +27.015
8 Daniel de Jong Manor MP Motorsport +29.254
9 Meindert van Buuren Manor MP Motorsport +35.112
10 Max Snegirev Virtuosi UK +35.774
11 Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova +42.051
12 Josef Kral Zele Racing +43.703
13 Michela Cerruti MLR 71 +52.866
14 Francesco Dracone Ibiza Racing Team +59.312
15 Michele La Rosa MLR 71 +1:39.425
Not classified
Robert Visoiu Ghinzani Motorsport +9 laps
EX Narain Karthikeyan Supernova International +12.524
Championship standings
Pos. Driver Team Pts.
1 Vittorio Ghirelli Supernova International 222
2 Kimiya Sato Euronova Racing 213
3 Sergio Campana Ibiza Racing Team 197
4 Narain Karthikeyan Supernova International 195
5 Tamas Pal Kiss Zele Racing 99
6 Kevin Giovesi Ghinzani Motorsport 91
7 Daniel de Jong Manor MP Motorsport 77
8 Robert Visoiu Ghinzani Motorsport 67
9 Meindert van Buuren Manor MP Motorsport 57
10 Riccardo Agostini Manor MP Motorsport 53
11 Luciano Bacheta Zele Racing 49
12 Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK 45
13 Maxim Snegirev Virtuosi UK 24
14 Antonio Spavone Supernova International 22
15 Roberto La Rocca Comtec by Virtuosi 20
16 Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova Racing 20
17 Fabrizio Crestani Ibiza Racing Team 11
18 Christian Klien Zele Racing 6
19 Michela Cerruti MLR 71 5
20 Michele La Rosa MLR 71 4
21 Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza Racing Team 3