Samuele Buttarelli became the first repeat winner in this year's Auto GP season with a controlled lights-to-flag victory in the second race at Donington Park.
The TP Formula driver started from pole position courtesy of the reverse grid and kept hold of the lead at the start despite a strong getaway from Bruno Mendez. Adam Carroll would emerge as Buttarelli's nearest challenger, taking P3 from fellow series newcomer Daniel De Jong at the start and then passing Campos teammate Mendez for second later on the opening lap.
From there the Northern Irishman set about chasing down Buttarelli, but the Italian, who also won Race 2 in Brno, stretched his advantage to two seconds before taking the checkered flag.
“I'm really happy, two wins at this point of the season are an amazing tally, and winning in front of Carroll makes it even better,” said Buttarelli afterwards. “The race was difficult at the beginning because the guys behind had a great start and I had to defend my position.
“Once I did that the race became easy, I could really push easily and I quickly built a gap on Adam. From then on I was just in control, I could manage the race as the car was really perfect. So thanks again to TP Formula, they did an amazing job.”
Carroll's hopes of a victory on his debut weekend were not helped by an electrical problem that was causing misfires. Nonetheless, second place was a good reward for his weekend's work.
“Pole position and a second place are really satisfying results for a debut, even if I could have done better,” he said. “In this Race 2 I had some problems, probably some electrical glitch, that caused the engine to misfire. It was hampering because apart from slowing me down a bit, I never knew in what part of the circuit this was going to happen so getting a steady pace was very difficult.
“Anyway I managed to put some pressure on Buttarelli and he didn't do any mistakes, so he deserves to be congratulated. I'd also like to say thanks to Campos Racing for giving me this opportunity to come back to full time racing, I'm sure that there's more to come and that we'll see that already in Oschersleben.”
Fabrizio Crestani completed the podium just behind Carroll, repeating his third place finish from Race 1. Starting from sixth on the grid the Lazarus driver made up two places at the start. He then took third place from Mendez on lap six, capitalising on the Spaniard's slow exit from the chicane.
“Being on the podium again is great,” said Crestani. “The race itself was pretty fun, I had a very good start and I followed Carroll and Mendez in the first laps, then making the most of a slow exit by Bruno from the chicane to take P3.
“Looking at the championship the third podium finish in four races is good, it shows that our performance is top-notch. We still have a lot to do to climb the standings, but we will see race by race, as things are getting better and better”.
Supernova teammates Jon Lancaster and Luca Filippi fought with each other for the entire race as they moved through to fourth and fifth from the fourth row of the grid after their 1-2 finish in Race 1. Lancaster passed Filippi at Coppice on lap four, before Filippi took the position back at the last corner. Lancaster would get ahead of his teammate again on lap six, and held onto finish six tenths ahead of him.
This allowed Lancaster to score more points than anybody else over the course of the two races, bagging himself 60,000 euros in prize money. Filippi meanwhile has extended his championship leader over Kevin Ceccon to 18 points.
Ceccon came home in sixth place, albeit nine seconds adrift after being held up behind Giovanni Venturini until passing his fellow rookie at the hairpin on lap 15. De Jong took the final point in eighth despite a poor start as well as being hit by Rio Haryanto on lap 11. The Indonesian was handed a 25 second penalty after the race that dropped him to last place.
The next round of the season takes place at Oschersleben on 30/31 July.
Race 2 results – 17 laps:
|1||Samuele Buttarelli||TP Formula||22:36.788|
|2||Adam Carroll||Campos Racing||2.160|
|4||Jon Lancaster||Supernova Racing||3.585|
|5||Luca Filippi||Supernova Racing||4.139|
|6||Kevin Ceccon||Ombra Racing||13.543|
|7||Giovanni Venturini||Griffitz Durango||17.670|
|8||Daniel De Jong||MP Motorsport||23.588|
|9||Adrian Campos Jr||Campos Racing||24.331|
|10||Francesco Dracone||Ombra Racing||42.460|
|Ret||Bruno Mendez||Campos Racing||6 laps|
|Ret||Giuseppe Cipriani||Griffitz Durango||6 laps|
|Ret||Pasquale Di Sabatino||TP Formula||1 lap|
Drivers’ standings after 4 of 7 rounds:
1. Luca Filippi, 98 points
2. Kevin Ceccon, 80
3. Samuele Buttarelli, 62
4. Fabrizio Crestani, 57
5. Giovanni Venturini, 53
6. Jon Lancaster, 51