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Sergio Campana wins Auto GP curtain-raiser

by Jonathan Wallcroft

Photo: Auto GP

The last of the fifteen entrants to be confirmed was the first past the finish line at Monza this Saturday, with series returnee Sergio Campana becoming the first victor of the 2013 Auto GP season.

Having qualified opposite his successor to the Italian F3 crown Riccardo Agostini in second, Campana’s hopes would’ve been high ?for ?success and he used his experience to full advantage passing his compatriot at the end of the first lap.

That would not be the end of Agostini’s misery as Kimiya Sato passed him soon afterwards, followed by fast-starting Robert Visoiu and pre-season favourite Luciano Bacheta. Campana was rarely troubled by Sato who likewise was rarely troubled by those behind him as they extended their advantage to the end of the race to end up first and second.

However Visoiu had no such luck as an impressive Vittorio Ghirelli passed him (and ex-F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan) on the penultimate lap to snatch a podium, however despite unknown mechanical issues Visoiu was able to keep Karthikeyan and Antonio Spavone (who had narrowly survived a crash in-to the wall after touching his teammate) behind him.

The ill-fated pole-sitter Agostini finished up in seventh and secured another front row start for the reverse grid race alongside eighth placed Bacheta (down after pit-stop problems) with Giuseppe Cipriani and Maxim Snegirev completing the points paying positions.

Yoshitaka Kuroda was the last driver to finish after, also suffering from pit-stop issues, Michele La Rosa was classified in 12th despite retiring before the finish line. Meindert Van Buuren started a lap-down after stalling on the grid ?and whilst attempting to recover that time almost took-out the race-leader Campana and ended up stalling his car. Giacomo Ricci pitted after the first lap having sustained damage and never came back out and Andrea Roda beached his car on the gravel at the first corner from fifth.

Understandably this means that Sergio Campana will lead the title race with one of 14 races down.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Sergio Campana Ibiza Racing Team 14 laps in 23:40.402
2 Kimiya Sato Euronova Racing +7.575
3 Robert Visoiu Ghinzani Motorsport +18.895
4 Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova International +19.119
5 Narain Karthikeyan Zele Racing +19.409
6 Antonio Spavone Super Nova International +19.907
7 Riccardo Agostini Manor Mp Motorsport +20.700
8 Luciano Bacheta Zele Racing +23.739
9 Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza Racing Team +35.169
10 Max Snegirev Virtuosi Uk +44.079
11 Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova Racing +1:31.620
12 Michele La Rosa Mlr 71 +1 lap
Not Classified
Meindert Van Buuren Manor Mp Motorsport 4 laps
Giacomo Ricci Mlr 71 1 lap