Michimi Tops Sato in Austrian Auto GP Practice

In the sole practice session around the Red Bull Ring, Shinya Michimi led a Japanese-driver 1-2 ahead of Kimiya Sato as Euronova Racing dominated ahead of this weekends six round of the Auto GP World Series. Michimi and championship leader Sato were the only drivers to set a lap time beneath the 1:21s barrier.

Sato was not even scheduled to race this weekend due to a clash with GP2 at Hockenheim, but was given dispensation by his Campos Racing employees to race at the Red Bull Ring due to him leading the championship. His rivals were hoping to get some points back on the Japanese driver, but will now need to do that on track against him rather than without him.

Tamas Pal Kiss was the best of the rest in third on his first weekend driving for Virtuosi UK after leaving Zele Racing, and got within 0.006s of Sato ahead of him. One of Sato’s main championship rivals Markus Pommer was fourth for Super Nova International, just ahead of team-mate and Imola race winner Michela Cerruti in fifth.

Kevin Giovesi was sixth for FMS Racing, just ahead of the second Virtuosi UK entry of Andrea Roda, while Christof von Grunigen placed eighth in the sole entry of Zele Racing, who are racing in their home event. Three Italian Gentlemen drivers propped up the eleven car field, with Ibiza Racing Team’s Giuseppe Cipriani ninth, MLR71 by Euronova’s Michele La Rosa tenth, and Salvatore Del Plano of FMS Racing eleventh and last but over seven seconds off the ultimate pace.

Qualifying takes place later this afternoon, with both races scheduled for Sunday.

Red Bull Ring Practice Times

1 Shinya Michimi JAP Euronova Racing 1:20.872
2 Kimiya Sato JAP Euronova Racing 1:20.998
3 Tamas Pal Kiss HUN Virtuosi UK 1:21.004
4 Markus Pommer GER Super Nova International 1:21.241
5 Michela Cerruti ITA Super Nova International 1:21.505
6 Kevin Giovesi ITA FMS Racing 1:21.610
7 Andrea Roda ITA Virtuosi UK 1:21.751
8 Christof von Grunigen SWI Zele Racing 1:21.894
9 Giuseppe Cipriani ITA Ibiza Racing Team 1:22.576
10 Michele La Rosa ITA MLR71 by Euronova 1:23.065
11 Salvatore Del Plano ITA FMS Racing 1:28.436