In a quality drive from start to finish Super Nova‚Äôs Michela Cerruti won her first Auto GP race at Imola today and her first win in single seaters.¬† She made a great start from fourth, avoiding bogged down second place starter Christof Von Grunigen.¬† Michela followed teammate Francesco Dracone before overtaking him for second on the third lap, just as leader Giuseppe Cipriani spun leaving Michela to inherit the lead.
Teammate Dracone immediately came under pressure from Kevin Giovesi for second but lost the battle with Giovesi who was quickly onto Michela‚Äôs tail.¬† Michela kept a cool head, and controlled the gap to Giovesi as she drove a very clean race.¬† The pair both came in for a late pit stop with four laps remaining on lap 13, but Super Nova‚Äôs slick, fast pit stop gave Michela the advantage and she exited the pits still leading and with an extended gap to second place man Giovesi, which she held to the flag.
‚ÄúI knew I had good pace,‚ÄĚ said Michela.¬† ‚ÄúWe were expecting that I would be quick today.¬† Again the car was really good, the pit stop was perfect.¬† I really want to thank my team and my engineer for this good strategy because everything was really perfect.‚ÄĚ
Having made a good start, Francesco was running in third place until his pit stop on lap 11.¬† The pit stop was slightly slower than the team would have liked and on his out lap after the stop Francesco was hit from behind by Ghirelli which caused rear wing and tyre damage.¬† The damage to Francesco‚Äôs car had an immediate effect on his pace which meant he was only able to hang on for tenth place in the end.
After Markus Pommer‚Äôs disappointing half-lap race yesterday, he was forced to start from the back of the grid.¬† Markus made a cautious start, determined to avoid trouble in traffic as the pack rushed to the first corner.¬† Team strategy meant an early stop for Markus and after rejoining he made his way through the pack, to chase down Championship rival Kimiya Sato, and was able close the gap to just over four seconds at the flag.¬†
Markus was consistently setting fastest laps in his pursuit of Sato, however, Sato responded on the final lap to take fastest lap and the single bonus point.¬† Despite his strong charge from the back, Markus finished fifth behind Sato.¬†
Markus commented; ‚ÄúMy pace was good and I‚Äôm still second in the Championship.¬† I was not the only driver with an early pit strategy so the best result I could do was fifth.‚ÄĚ
A strong team performance throughout the weekend means Super Nova have extended their Teams Championship lead to fifty-eight points.
Team Manager John Sears was delighted with the result; ‚ÄúWhat a fantastic first victory for Michela, not only in Auto GP but also in single seaters!¬† She has worked very hard with the team to achieve this and we have known all season she had the pace.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt was a frustrating weekend for Markus as we knew he had the best pace out there and could have closed the gap in the Championship, but he did a good job today coming from the back.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe first half of Francesco‚Äôs race was good, but the unfortunate incident after his pit stop destroyed his race.‚ÄĚ
Markus maintains his second position in the Drivers Championship, thirty-six points behind Championship leader Sato. Michela now has eighty-five points and has narrowed the gap to fifth place Andrea Rhoda, while Francsco remains thirteenth with twenty-two points.¬†
The next round of the Auto GP Championship will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, 28 & 29 July 2014 with the team confident of continuing their form.