1) Kimiya Sato
Kimiya Sato’s main focus in 2014 was meant to be his GP2 Series campaign with Campos Racing, but by mid-season, the Japanese driver’s aims had changed, and he sealed the Auto GP World Series Championship with races to spare.
The Euronova Racing driver started the season in perfect fashion, taking the opening win at Marrakech and finishing runner-up in race two. Paul Ricard was the only time all year when he didn’t win at least one race, although he finished third in both races in France.
In Hungary, he did the rare double, taking two amazing victories after having to come through the field on both occasions. He started at the back for race one but had moved into fourth by the end of the first lap, and then took advantage of the pit stops to move into the lead. Starting eighth for race two, he took victory to become only the third driver in Auto GP history to complete the double, after Antonio Pizzonia and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
He was forced to miss Monza due to his GP2 commitments, but returned at Imola to take victory number four of the season, with victory number five arriving at the Red Bull Ring in Austria before retiring for the only time all year in race two, a broken suspension ending his race through no fault of his own.
He ended his own season with a victory and a third place at the Nurburgring, but he’d done enough to secure the title and was able to miss the finale safe in the knowledge he was the 2014 Auto GP World Series Champion.
It is quite possible Auto GP has seen the last of Kimiya Sato, at least as a title challenger. With his first points in the GP2 Series in the bag, and with his confidence high after taking the title in Auto GP, he should be able kick on now and make himself a genuine podium and race-winning challenger.