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2013 champion Ghirelli leads first day of Auto GP Vallelunga test

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Auto GP

Photo: Auto GP

Ibiza Racing Team recruit Vittorio Ghirelli set the pace during the opening day of Auto GP’s pre-season test at Vallelunga.

The 2013 series champion, who has not found a full-time seat ever since taking his title, was quickest despite sitting out the morning session.

The lack of early mileage proved to be of little consequence for the Italian with the first half of the day taking place in wet conditions.

Five cars clocked in a lap in the rainy first run and it was series veteran Francesco Dracone who led for teams’ champions Super Nova. Debutant Toby Sowery, who clinched the F3 Cup and MRF titles in his first year of cars, was a close second for Virtuosi just 0.041s adrift, while his stablemate Nikita Zlobin was a second off in third.

On a dry track in the afternoon, Ghirelli reigned supreme, finishing the session two tenths clear of Dracone. Championship returnees Manor MP took third overall through 2013 German F3 Trophy champion Sebastian Balthasar.

Gentleman driver Giuseppe Cipriani led Sowery in fourth, while Andres Mendez and Zlobin rounded out the order.

The test will conclude with one further day of running tomorrow.

Combined session results
Pos. Driver Team S1 S2
1 Vittorio Ghirelli Ibiza Racing Team No Time 1:25.807
2 Francesco Dracone Super Nova International 1:38.516 1:26.075
3 Sebastian Balthasar Manor MP Motorsport 1:41.491 1:26.250
4 Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza Racing Team No Time 1:26.778
5 Toby Sowery Virtuosi UK 1:38.557 1:27.016
6 Andres Mendez Zele Racing 1:45.505 1:28.177
7 Nikita Zlobin Virtuosi UK 1:39.523 1:28.259

Personal best time in bold
Best time of session in italics