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Sonoma Auto GP: Sergey Sirotkin stays on top in second practice

Sergey Sirotkin, Euronova, Sonoma 2012Sergey Sirotkin underlined his strong start to the Auto GP World Series season finale at Sonoma by setting the fastest time in second free practice on Friday afternoon.

Valencia winner Sirotkin's lap of 1m27.808 was 0.074 seconds faster than his own benchmark time from practice one, and gives impetus to the Russian's bid to steal second position in the drivers' standings from Pal Varhaug.

Recently crowned Auto GP champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs repeated his morning position of second, just 0.085s adrift of Euronova driver Sirotkin.

Quaife-Hobbs is the lone Super Nova entry this weekend, as former team-mate Victor Guerin has opted to compete in the clashing Singapore GP2 race for Ocean.

The Briton headed the order after 10 minutes of action, and maintained his position at the top of the timing screens until being displaced by Sirotkin with three minutes of the half hour session remaining.

Mirroring the top-three order from practice one, Daniel de Jong took third. Former Italian Formula 3 champion Sergio Campana was fourth, ahead of series returnee Giancarlo Serenelli.

Campana's Zele Racing team-mate Antonio Pizzonia stopped with apparent technical difficulties at the asphalt infield of Turn 11 late in the session.

The Curitiba race winner, who is making only his second Auto GP appearance this weekend, was eighth fastest behind former GP2 men Giacomo Ricci and Varhaug.

Several drivers noted that the circuit was quite low-grip after first practice, and both Varhaug and Serenelli received warnings for breaching track limits in practice two.

Gentleman racer Giuseppe Cipriani was a spinner at Turn 4 but was able to rejoin the action.

The Italian's new Campos team-mate, former IndyCar racer Pippa Mann, encountered a problem exiting the pits towards the end of the session and was forced to stop.

In a change to Auto GP's usual format, qualifying for race one will be held on Saturday morning.

Pos  Driver               Team         Time       Gap
 1.  Sergey Sirotkin      Euronova     1m27.808s
 2.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Super Nova   1m27.893s  + 0.085s
 3.  Daniel de Jong       Manor MP     1m28.806s  + 0.998s
 4.  Sergio Campana       Zele         1m28.866s  + 1.058s
 5.  Giancarlo Serenelli  Ombra        1m28.957s  + 1.149s
 6.  Giacomo Ricci        MLR 71       1m29.411s  + 1.603s
 7.  Pal Varhaug          Virtuosi UK  1m29.489s  + 1.681s
 8.  Antonio Pizzonia     Zele         1m29.711s  + 1.903s
 9.  Kotaro Sakurai       Euronova     1m30.107s  + 2.299s
10.  Max Snegirev         Campos       1m30.459s  + 2.651s
11.  Pippa Mann           Campos       1m30.694s  + 2.886s
12.  Michele la Rosa      MLR 71       1m31.031s  + 3.223s
13.  Francesco Dracone    Virtuosi UK  1m31.149s  + 3.341s
14.  Antonio Spavone      Ombra        1m31.285s  + 3.477s
15.  Giuseppe Cipriani    Campos       1m31.306s  + 3.498s
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Sirotkin triumphs in Auto GP finale
Pizzonia awaits medical clearance
Varhaug takes Sonoma Auto GP win
Quaife-Hobbs takes Sonoma pole
Sirotkin leads first Sonoma practice