Adrien Tambay took a lights-to-flag victory in the first race of the Auto GP season finale at Mugello, after keeping Luca Filippi at bay. The Italian has closed on points leader Kevin Ceccon to set up a four-way title battle for the final race on Sunday.
The race had a chaotic beginning, when Samuele Buttarelli moved before the lights went out and then stopped, with a clutch issue to blame. Having caused Adam Carroll to stall behind him, the start was aborted.
At the second attempt Tambay got away well from pole position, while behind him Filippi took second place from fourth on the grid and Fabio Onidi moved up into third place.
Filippi kept hold of Tambay throughout the race but was never given the opportunity to get a way past.
“It wasn't an easy win, especially from a physical standpoint,” he said. “In Mugello Auto GP proved to be really tough, and managing my effort was as important as managing the car and the tyres.
“Apart from this the car was really good, but Luca was always very close so I had to keep an eye in the mirror. To be honest I was managing the situation and he never got a real chance, but it wasn't easy anyway.”
The victory was the Frenchman's first since being dropped by Gravity and joining up with Campos Racing.
“I'm really happy of this win, especially because it comes at the end of the season that for me seemed to be over two months ago. I have to say thanks to Mr. Campos and some other supporters, and this is the best way to do that. It's good to know that there are still such good people in motorsport.”
Onidi finished on the podium in third after keeping Ceccon behind him. Ceccon had dropped as far back as eighth at the start but recovered to finish ahead of Rio Haryanto and title rival Sergei Afanasiev.
Fabrizio Crestani was seventh, with Adam Carroll recovering to eighth after being demoted to the back by the start incident. The Ulsterman took advantage of a clear track by pitting late to claim pole for race two.
Filippi's second place reduces Ceccon's points lead to nine points. Afanasiev is still only two points further behind, but things are harder for Tambay who is 18 points behind with 19 left up for grabs.
Race results – 16 laps:
1 Adrien Tambay Campos Racing 26:22.153
2 Luca Filippi Supernova Racing +0.635
3 Fabio Onidi Lazarus +8.549
4 Kevin Ceccon Ombra Racing +9.502
5 Rio Haryanto Dams +12.223
6 Sergei Afanasiev Dams +14.184
7 Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus +17.045
8 Adam Carroll Campos Racing +17.697
9 Pasquale Di Sabatino TP Formula +31.454
10 Samuele Buttarelli TP Formula +33.752
11 Giovanni Venturini Griffitz Durango +37.555
12 Michele La Rosa Ombra Racing +1 Lap
13 Giuseppe Cipriani Griffitz Durango +5 Laps
14 Francesco Dracone Ombra Racing +7 Laps