Maiden Auto GP Pole for Championship Leader Sato

by Paul Hensby

Kimiya Sato took his maiden Auto GP World Series pole position at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The Japanese driver set a best time of 1:20.363s in the second session to take top spot by 0.278s from Hungarian Tamas Pal Kiss of Virtuosi UK.

Sato and FMS Racing driver Kevin Giovesi set the initial pace in the session, trading fastest lap times, but ultimately it was Sato that took pole position. Unfortunately for Giovesi, he slipped to fourth at the chequered flag, falling behind Pal Kiss and Sato’s Euronova Racing team-mate Shinya Michimi.

Andrea Roda was fifth in the second Virtuosi UK entry ahead of Michela Cerruti in the leading Super Nova International machine; the only female driver in the field ending up over a second off the blistering pace set by Sato up front.

Giuseppe Cipriani of Ibiza Racing Team managed to qualify just ahead of Swiss driver Christof von Grunigen of Zele Racing in seventh, while Michele La Rosa was ninth for MLR71 by Euronova.

A mechanical issue for one of Sato’s main championship rivals Markus Pommer means the German will have to start the first race tomorrow morning from tenth place on the grid in the second Super Nova International machine.

The final driver on the grid, and the only one to be eliminated after the first part of qualifying, will be Salvatore de Plano, with the FMS Racing driver suffering a spin that saw him stop on track. He was almost five seconds off the pace.

Red Bull Ring Qualifying Result

1 Kimiya Sato JAP Euronova Racing 1:20.363
2 Tamas Pal Kiss HUN Virtuosi UK 1:20.641
3 Shinya Michimi JAP Euronova Racing 1:20.852
4 Kevin Giovesi ITA FMS Racing 1:20.865
5 Andrea Roda ITA Virtuosi UK 1:20.910
6 Michela Cerruti ITA Super Nova International 1:21.513
7 Giuseppe Cipriani ITA Ibiza Racing Team 1:22.105
8 Christof von Grunigen SWI Zele Racing 1:22.408
9 Michele La Rosa ITA MLR71 by Euronova 1:22.774
10 Markus Pommer GER Super Nova International No Time

*Eliminated in Qualifying 1*

11 Salvatore de Plano ITA FMS Racing 1:25.210


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