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Sa Silva holds off Regalia to claim maiden Auto GP win at Silverstone

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Paul Davies Photography

Photo: Paul Davies Photography

Angolan racer Luis Sa Silva completed a Zele Racing sweep of the second Auto GP round at Silverstone, as he won race two.

Sa Silva held off Argentinian Facu Regalia at the checkered flag to secure his first win in his sixth Auto GP start.

Seven cars were set to line up on the grid, with Andres Mendez on reverse-grid pole, but the start was called off when Antonio Pizzonia stalled after the formation lap.

The rare aborted start was followed by an even rarer second aborted start when the same fate befell Nikita Zlobin, with both drivers eventually getting their cars fired up in the pitlane.

Giuseppe Cipriani beat poleman Mendez to lead off the line, but then allowed Sa Silva to ease past later in the lap.

The Angolan began to pull away out front, while Cipriani refused to yield to Regalia, keeping him at bay for several laps.

He eventually surrendered and was also picked off by Pizzonia, who had cleared three cars in one sector earlier in the race.

After finally getting up to second, Regalia ramped up the pace, shaking off Pizzonia and rapidly closing in on the race lead.

He was right up with Sa Silva with two laps to go and tried to immediately pass the Angolan, but was denied. Regalia then looked every which way to get around the Zele car.

However, Sa Silva held on, winning by 0.048 in a side-by-side sprint to the line.

Regalia was extremely unhappy after the race, stating in the podium interviews that Sa Silva “forced him off” when he caught up to the Angolan.

He also insinuated that the Angolan was “protecting” his teammate Pizzonia in terms of championship points.

“I don’t think I pushed him”, responded Sa Silva.

Pizzonia coasted to third, with Cipriani in fourth and race one non-starter Christof von Grunigen salvaging some points in fifth.

Zlobin finished sixth on track, but was relegated to seventh, behind Mendez, due to a time penalty for track limits infringements.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Luis Sa Silva Zele Racing 8 laps in 14:38.384
2 Facu Regalia FMS Racing +0.048
3 Antonio Pizzonia Zele Racing +2.383
4 Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza Racing Team +9.593
5 Christof von Grunigen Paolo Coloni Racing +9.827
6 Andres Mendez Zele Racing +27.228
7 Nikita Zlobin Virtuosi UK +49.778*

* – 25-second penalty