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Rookie Venturini Wins Auto GP Opener At Monza

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Auto GP rookie Giovanni Venturini scored a debut victory in the first race of the season at Monza.

After taking pole position in Friday's qualifying session, the Durango driver held on to the lead at the start. Adrien Tambay (Gravity-Charouz/Dams) had made a strong start from third place on the grid and tried to go around the outside of Venturini at the first chicane but ran out of road and went across the grass.

Having taken the lead courtesy of his shortcut, Tambay tried to give the lead back to Venturini on the run down to the second chicane. However he was collected in the rear by Lazarus driver Fabrizio Crestani, the collision damaging his nose and Tambay's rear wing.

Crestani's teammate Fabio Onidi took third behind Tambay, but a slow pitstop saw him drop down behind Luca Filippi of Super Nova. Tambay's damaged rear wing eventually saw him called to the pits by the stewards, handing second place to Filippi.

Filippi put Venturini under pressure late in the race but the youngster held on to win.

“It's really difficult to explain how I feel now,” said Venturini afterwards. “Winning on my debut with such a performance, in my home race is a great feeling. I want to say thank you to my team, as they gave me a stunning car. From my side I just did a very good race, managing the pressure from Luca in the best possible way. Now I hope that I will do the same tomorrow.”

Filippi said: “In order to clinch a win our race had to be perfect, and simply it wasn't. I also did a mistake, slowing to come in the pits a lap earlier than planned. When the team asked me to stay out I got back on the throttle but a couple of second were gone, and that was enough to lose the race. Anyway I also want to congratulate Giovanni, he did a great race.”

Another rookie, Samuele Buttarelli, finished in third for TP Formula having passed Sergei Afanasiev at mid-distance. 17-year-old newcomer Kevin Ceccon took fifth for Ombra Racing, with Marco Barba sixth for Campos Racing.

Pasquale di Sabatino finished seventh for Ombra, with Onidi ending up eighth. Bruno Mendez (Campos) and Francesco Dracone (Emmebi) completed the top ten as the last runners on the lead lap. Adrian Zaugg began the race late from the pit lane, while Rio Haryanto and Giuseppe Cipriani were eliminated by a first corner incident.

Final results after 16 laps:

1.   Giovanni Venturini  Griffitz Durango    26:43.146
2.   Luca Filippi    Supernova Racing   + 1.184
3.   Samuele Buttarelli   TP Formula    +5.688
4.   Sergei Afanasiev   Dams     +11.130
5.   Kevin Ceccon   Ombra Racing   +15.870
6.   Marco Barba    Campos Racing   +16.883 
7.   Pasquale Di Sabatino  Ombra Racing   +22.474
8.   Fabio Onidi    Lazarus    +27.425
9.   Bruno Mendez   Campos Racing   +30.036
10.  Francesco Dracone  Emmebi Motorsport  +53.376
11.  Adrian Zaugg   Supernova Racing   + 6 laps
12.  Adrien Tambay   Gravity – Charouz Dams  DNF 
13.  Fabrizio Crestani   Lazarus    DNF 
14.  Giuseppe Cipriani   Griffitz Durango   DNF
15.  Rio Haryanto   DAMS    DNF

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