Home Featured PaddockScout Awards 2013: Title Fight of the Year

PaddockScout Awards 2013: Title Fight of the Year

by Formula Scout

Auto GP Campana Sato GhirelliAuto GP

Vittorio Ghirelli, Kimiya Sato, Sergio Campana and Narain Karthikeyan

The 2013 Auto GP season featured what was in, all likelihood, the most diverse group of title contenders. Alongside the only sophomore driver with a title shot – Sergio Campana, the series saw the arrival of young Formula Renault 3.5 graduate Vittorio Ghirelli, F3 veteran Kimiya Sato and ex-F1 pilot Narain Karthikeyan. The quarter of racers produced a thoroughly entertaining title fight that would not be resolved until the final race.

As Ghirelli was coming to grips with the car and Karthikeyan was kicking off his season in the midfield with Zele, early signs were pointing to a duel between Sato and Campana. The latter scored two early feature race wins, but it was Euronova’s Japanese leader who remained on top of the standings for the majority of the first half of the year, finding the answer to his rival’s strong but uneven performances in superb consistency.

After three rounds, Karthikeyan switched from Zele to Super Nova and immediately started setting the pace, while his new teammate Ghirelli was still reliably within reach of the leading duo. The two-driver fight suddenly expanded to four.

Sato maintained the lead until the penultimate round of the season at Donington, but a critical mistake in race one denied him points and allowed Ghirelli to seize the lead with his second win. Coming into the final round, the Italian led Sato by 11 points, with Campana a further six down. Importantly enough, Karthikeyan was also finally within reach, less than one race win away from first.

So, it all came down to the Brno finale. Qualifying saw Ghirelli end Karthikeyan’s pole streak (one that spanned since the Indian’s arrival at Super Nova), but a poor start allowed his teammate to take the win. However, the Italian got it together for the sprint race decider and comfortably claimed the title.

Valentin Khorounzhiy