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Karthikeyan claims pole on Super Nova debut ahead of Giovesi

by Peter Allen

Photo: Auto GP

Narain Karthikeyan achieved his maiden pole position in Auto GP on his first weekend with Super Nova at Silverstone, edging out GP2 racer Kevin Giovesi.

After topping both of Friday’s practice sessions, Karthikeyan posted a best time of 1m46.286s to maintain his advantage in qualifying.

“I’m proud to have achieved my maiden pole in Auto GP,” said the ex-F1 driver. “I immediately found a good chemistry with Super Nova International, and this car is so nice to drive, it really highlights the driver’s qualities. The goal for tomorrow is victory, no doubt about that. Considering that we still had some room for improvement today, I think it’s in our frame.”

Giovesi was a close second on his Auto GP debut, just 0.059s behind for the Ghinzani team.

“The team found an incredible set-up for this car and today’s results just demonstrate their commitment,” said the Italian. “I’m well-suited by the Auto GP car. This experience will definitely lay good foundations for my GP2 run later this month. However, we hope to improve our position even further tomorrow.”

Karthikeyan’s new team-mate and Hungaroring winner Vittorio Ghirelli held top spot early on but his session came to a premature end when he stopped with mechanical issues, dropping him to third by the end.

“I’m a bit disappointed to have stopped after just ten minutes while I was on top, but I’m very happy for the team as they won their second straight pole of the season,” said Ghirelli. “We ran pretty good and I’m sure I will have a shot at the top positions on race day.?

Hungarian Tamas Pal Kiss will line up fourth in his first race with Zele Racing in place of Karthikeyan, although he too was hit by mechanical problems in the form of a broken exhaust. Row three will be shared by Andrea Roda of Virtuosi and championship Kimiya Sato of Euronova, ahead of Dutch Manor MP Motorsport drivers Meindert van Buuren and Daniel de Jong.

Robert Visoiu in the second Ghinzani car and Virtuosi driver Max Snegirev completed the top ten ahead of Riccardo Agostini. Sato’s nearest championship rival?Sergio Campana had to settle for 12th after losing the second practice session to an engine change, while Luciano Bacheta – a double winner at Silverstone in F2 last year – and series returnee Fabrizio Crestani will have to make do with sharing the seventh row.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver? Team? Time? Gap?
1 Narain Karthikeyan Supernova International 1:46.286
2 Kevin Giovesi Ghinzani Motorsport 1:46.345 +0.059
3 Vittorio Ghirelli Supernova International 1:46.579 +0.293
4 Tamas Pal Kiss Zele Racing 1:46.843 +0.557
5 Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK 1:47.068 +0.782
6 Kimiya Sato Euronova Racing 1:47.232 +0.946
7 Meindert van Buuren Manor MP Motorsport 1:47.262 +0.976
8 Daniel de Jong Manor MP Motorsport 1:47.372 +1.086
9 Robert Visoiu Ghinzani Motorsport 1:47.489 +1.203
10 Max Snegirev Virtuosi UK 1:47.575 +1.289
11 Riccardo Agostini Manor MP Motorsport 1:47.659 +1.373
12 Sergio Campana Ibiza Racing Team 1:47.943 +1.657
13 Luciano Bacheta Zele Racing 1:48.450 +2.164
14 Fabrizio Crestani Ibiza Racing Team 1:48.504 +2.218
15 Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova Racing 1:48.909 +2.623
16 Francesco Dracone Supernova International 1:48.986 +2.700
17 Michele La Rosa MLR 71 1:50.296 +4.010