Markus Pommer took his second victory of the 2014 Auto GP season at Monza, converting his pole position into a comfortable win on Saturday afternoon.
The Super Nova driver resisted initial pressure from Eurotech's Kevin Giovesi in the first three-quarters of the 17-lap sprint.
That pressure dissipated after Giovesi was significantly delayed at his mandatory pitstop when a recalcitrant left-rear wheel caused the Italian to tumble down the order, eventually finishing in a lowly eighth position. There was some solace for Giovesi though as he will start Sunday's second race from pole position.
Pommer headed home Tamas Pal Kiss in the Zele entered Lola by just over a second and the German always looked in control during the final laps despite the Hungarian closing to within a second at one stage.
Pommer's only scare came immediately before the start of the race when a recurrence of his free practice paddle shift selection issues left Super Nova working furiously to ensure changes to the settings and a clean getaway.
Completing the podium at her home track was Pommer's team-mate Michela Cerruti.
An impressive first portion of the race where she held her third place starting position looked momentarily to have been spoilt after a slow pitstop.
But after repelling Andrea Roda forcefully but fairly at the Rettifilo, Cerruti took a well-deserved podium despite losing a piece of her bodywork at the Parabolica on the final lap, a legacy of the Roda battle. It was Cerruti's best finish of her 2014 campaign so far.
Front row starter Christof von Grunigen (Zele) endured a tough Auto GP debut as he struggled to get away from the line cleanly and was swamped by the pack.
A second lap collision with Loris Spinelli's Eurotech car sent the Swiss racer skating off into the Parabolica gravel with a damaged left rear wheel. The incident also accounted for Spinelli's subsequent retirement.
Series debutant Shinya Michimi looked set to finish in fourth place but a late mechanical failure parked his Euronova Racing Lola at the first Lesmo, completing a miserable race for the Vincenzo Sospiri-led team.
Michele La Rosa inherited fifth place after briefly leading during the pitstops, while Francesco Dracone came home sixth despite a lurid moment when he outbraked himself at the first chicane.
Follow the second Auto GP race from Monza as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live, starting at 10.20am UK time on Sunday
Results - 17 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Markus Pommer Super Nova 28m20.934s 2. Tamas Pal Kiss Zele +1.027s 3. Michela Cerruti Super Nova +15.100s 4. Andrea Roda Virtuosi +15.747s 5. Michele La Rosa MLR 71/Euronova +29.066s 6. Francesco Dracone Super Nova +37.534s 7. Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza +40.124s 8. Kevin Giovesi Eurotech +40.734s 9. Samin Gomez Zele +47.245s 10. Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova +56.231s Retirements: Shinya Michimi Euronova 15 laps Loris Spinelli Euronova 1 lap Christof von Grunigen Zele 1 lap
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