Sato Takes Commanding Race 1 Victory at Imola

Kimiya Sato took victory in race 1 of the Auto GP World Series round at the Italian circuit of Imola after pole sitter and main championship rival Markus Pommer was forced to retire on the opening lap after a mechanical issue.

It was Japanese driver Sato’s fourth win of the season, and it extended his championship lead to 33 points over German Pommer despite sitting out the previous round at Monza.

Pommer led away when the lights went out but got no further than Aquae Minerale when his Super Nova International machine lost all power, with Euronova Racing driver Sato inheriting the lead that he never relinquished, eventually winning by almost eight seconds from Eurotech Engineering’s Kevin Giovesi, the leading Italian.

Virtuosi UK duo Andrea Roda and Pal Varhaug finished nose-to-tail in third and fourth, with Roda having to defend the final podium spot from his team-mate on the final lap as the Norwegian driver chased him down.

Michela Cerruti finished fifth, continuing her 100% record of scoring points in every race of 2014, while her Super Nova International team-mate Francesco Dracone was sixth. He held off the challenge of Zele Racing’s Christof von Grunigen at the flag, with the Swiss driver missing out on sixth by 0.421s.

Giuseppe Cipriani was eighth for Ibiza Racing Team, which would mean reverse grid pole for race two on Sunday, but the Italian is under investigation for cutting the Variante Alta chicane towards the end of the race. Any time penalty will likely see Tamas Pal Kiss inherit eighth, after the Hungarian struggled for pace all day in his Zele Racing machine. The final point went to Vittorio Ghirelli for Eurotech Engineering.

Imola Race 1 Result

1 Kimiya Sato JAP Euronova Racing 32m01.697s
2 Kevin Giovesi ITA Eurotech Engineering +7.938s
3 Andrea Roda ITA Virtuosi UK +15.118s
4 Pal Varhaug NOR Virtuosi UK +16.023s
5 Michela Cerruti ITA Super Nova International +20.176s
6 Francesco Dracone ITA Super Nova International +27.179s
7 Christof von Grunigen SWI Zele Racing +27.600s
8 Giuseppe Cipriani ITA Ibiza Racing Team +53.686s
9 Tamas Pal Kiss HUN Zele Racing +55.202s
10 Vittorio Ghirelli ITA Eurotech Engineering +1m06.216s
11 Salvatore de Plano ITA Euronova Racing +1 Lap
RET Michele La Rosa ITA MLR71 by Euronova 12 Laps
RET Markus Pommer GER Super Nova International 0 Laps