Sato Wins Crazy Auto GP Opener

Euronova Racing’s Kimiya Sato won the opening round of the 2014 Auto GP World Series around the streets of Marrakech as carnage hit the Morocco Race.   Joining him on the podium were Italian’s Michele La Rosa and Giuseppe Cipriani, something that was not thought possible before the race began.

Kevin Giovesi led away from pole position but fellow front-row starter Markus Pommer stalled, enabling the Zele Racing drivers Tamas Pal Kiss and Sergio Campana to slip into second and third, ahead of Sato, Virtuosi UK’s Andrea Roda and La Rosa.

Lap seven saw a coming together of Giovesi and Pal Kiss up front, eliminating them both from the race. Pal Kiss had overtaken Giovesi on the start/finish straight, and the Italian then tried an overly ambitious manoeuvre to reclaim the lead at the first turn. His car snapped sideways, and Pal Kiss took avoiding action but hit the barrier, while Giovesi ended up launching himself over the kerb and also into the wall. Giovesi was blamed for the incident and has received a ten-place grid penalty for race two tomorrow for the offence.

The incident saw the introduction of the safety car, and drivers made their mandatory pit stop. Unfortunately, Campana stalled in the pits, and lost the lead to Sato. A few laps later after the safety car was withdrawn, the Italian broke his right front wheel at a chicane, eliminating the second Zele Racing machine.

At the restart, Sato pulled ahead of Roda and Pommer, who battled away for second place. On lap 15, Super Nova International driver Pommer broke too late trying to overtake Roda, spun and stalled. He would finish in eighth one lap down. Roda himself crashed at the final chicane on the final lap, handing the MLR71 by Euronova’s La Rosa second place, and Cipriani’s Ibiza Racing machine third.

Michela Cerruti finished fourth for Super Nova, while rookies Sam Dejonghe (Virtuosi UK) and Loris Spinelli (Puma 3 M-Sport by Eurotech) were fifth and sixth, while Roda was classified seventh.

But it was Sato’s day, and he takes the championship lead into race two, where Pommer and Roda will share the front row.

Morocco Race 1 Race Result

1 Kimiya Sato JAP Euronova Racing 36m52.629s
2 Michele La Rosa ITA MLR71 by Euronova +12.573s
3 Giuseppe Cipriani ITA Ibiza Racing Team +35.373s
4 Michela Cerruti ITA Super Nova International +1m19.862s
5 Sam Dejonghe BEL Virtuosi UK +1m24.584s
6 Loris Spinelli ITA Puma 3 M-Sport by Eurotech +1m45.240s
7 Andrea Roda ITA Virtuosi UK +1 Lap
8 Markus Pommer GER Super Nova International +1 Lap
RET Francesco Dracone ITA Ibiza Racing Team 17 Laps
RET Sergio Campana ITA Zele Racing 12 Laps
RET Richard Gonda SVK Virtuosi UK 11 Laps
RET Tamas Pal Kiss HUN Zele Racing 6 Laps
RET Kevin Giovesi ITA Puma 3 M-Sport by Eurotech 6 Laps