Auto GP Brno: Vittorio Ghirelli takes crucial pole at final round
|By Peter Mills||Friday, October 4th 2013, 15:54 GMT|
Auto GP championship leader Vittorio Ghirelli secured a crucial pole position ahead of the first race of Brno's title-deciding final round of the season.
The Super Nova driver, who claimed an all-important bonus point for his achievement, increased his series lead to 12 points over Kimiya Sato with now just 47 remaining for the weekend's pair of races.
Ghirelli was the only driver to break under the one minute 43-second mark.
The Italian recorded a time of 1m42.833s three minutes before the end of the half-hour session, and his bid for pole was assisted when the red flags came out following an incident involving series debutant Josef Kral.
The Czech's Zele Racing machine was beached in a dangerous position in the gravel at Turn 7.
The hopes of Ghirelli's title rivals Sato, Sergio Campana and practice pace-setter Narain Karthikeyan of toppling the Italian, were as good as done at that point, as with just three minutes left on the clock, there was insufficient time for drivers to work their tyres up to optimum temperatures after the restart.
Karthikeyan had particular reason to be frustrated, as he was setting purple sectors on the lap on which the red flags were produced and appeared likely to capture pole.
The Indian, Ghirelli's Super Nova team-mate, suffered further dramas when his car became stranded at the pit exit while attempting to join the track on the restart, ending his opportunity of starting at the front.
He was third fastest, one spot behind Kevin Giovesi, who held pole for a few seconds near the end of the session, only to be demoted by Ghirelli, who was following close behind.
Fourth fastest was Giovesi's Ghinzani team-mate Robert Visoiu while early-season points leader Campana was over a second in arrears of Ghirelli's benchmark in fifth.
The Italian was still three places better off than the last of the title contenders, Sato, in eighth.
Tamas Pal Kiss completed the top six for Zele Racing, ahead of Meindert van Buuren.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova 1m42.833s 2. Kevin Giovesi Ghinzani 1m43.082s +0.249s 3. Narain Karthikeyan Super Nova 1m43.337s +0.504s 4. Robert Visoiu Ghinzani 1m43.809s +0.976s 5. Sergio Campana Ibiza 1m43.991s +1.158s 6. Tamas Pal Kiss Zele 1m44.134s +1.301s 7. Meindert van Buuren Manor MP 1m44.362s +1.529s 8. Kimiya Sato Euronova 1m44.404s +1.571s 9. Daniel de Jong Manor MP 1m44.440s +1.607s 10. Andrea Roda Virtuosi 1m44.611s +1.778s 11. Roberto La Rocca Comtec/Virtuosi 1m44.933s +2.100s 12. Maxim Snegirev Virtuosi 1m45.363s +2.530s 13. Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova 1m45.828s +2.995s 14. Josef Kral Zele 1m46.150s +3.317s 15. Francesco Dracone Ibiza 1m46.300s +3.467s 16. Michela Cerruti MLR 71 1m47.381s +4.548s 17. Michele La Rosa MLR 71 1m48.622s +5.789s