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Ex-F1 driver Pizzonia ends Auto GP’s Jerez test on top

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Auto GP

Photo: Auto GP

Brazilian driver Antonio Pizzonia led the second day of Auto GP’s pre-season test at Circuito de Jerez.

Pizzonia, formerly an F1 driver with Jaguar and Williams, skipped the opening day of the event but still clocked in the fastest time of the weekend for Zele Racing.

An early morning fog delay meant the day was run as one continous seven-hour session. Much of it was led by Sebastian Balthasar, driving for returnees Manor MP.

However, while the German finished up his programme early, Pizzonia, who won two Auto GP races in 2012, moved up to the top, half a second in the clear.

Balthasar finished second, just 0.013s clear of day one pacesetter and 2013 champion Vittorio Ghirelli.

Rene Binder, replacing Toby Sowery at Virtuosi, took fourth, running in the test as preparation for his GP2 campaign with Trident. Ibiza Racing Team owner Giuseppe Cipriani followed in fifth.

Auto GP’s confirmed 2015 drivers Nikita Zlobin and Andres Mendez were sixth and eighth, split by Francesco Dracone.

Session results
Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Antonio Pizzonia Zele Racing 1:23.196 50
2 Sebastian Balthasar Manor MP Motorsport 1:23.727 0.531 45
3 Vittorio Ghirelli Ibiza Racing Team 1:23.740 0.544 53
4 Rene Binder Virtuosi UK 1:24.290 1.094 45
5 Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza Racing Team 1:24.535 1.339 59
6 Nikita Zlobin Virtuosi UK 1:24.998 1.802 51
7 Francesco Dracone Super Nova International 1:25.187 1.991 48
8 Andres Mendez Zele Racing 1:25.527 2.331 52