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Imola Auto GP: Michela Cerruti holds off Kevin Giovesi for win


Michela Cerruti took a popular victory in round 10 of the Auto GP series at Imola on Sunday.

The 27-year old Super Nova driver soaked up intense pressure from Kevin Giovesi throughout the 17-lap race to become the first ever female winner in AutoGP.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Cerruti despatched her team-mate Francesco Dracone for second place at Tamburello on lap three.

That instantly became the lead when pole sitter Giuseppe Cipriani spun in to the gravel ahead of her, just as she was completing the move.

With Giovesi also finding a way by Dracone's Super Nova Lola, Cerruti then managed to control the gap to around the one-second mark, right up until the mandatory pitstop.

Pitting on the same lap, Cerruti then left the pits with an enhanced lead thanks to a quick change of front slick tyres by the Super Nova team and Giovesi lost any chance of reeling her in with just three laps remaining.

Completing the podium was Pal Varhaug who showed increased pace throughout the weekend in his first Auto GP race of the year with the Virtuosi UK team.

The Norwegian just fended off a charging Kimiya Sato in the final laps of the race.

Sato further extended his advantage in the series table over Markus Pommer to 36 points for his fourth place finish. The Japanese driver also secured an extra point by setting the fastest lap of the race on the final tour.

Pommer took little consolation from a fighting drive from last on the grid to fifth today.

The Super Nova driver lost time in traffic in the opening laps and was left to rue a paltry point's haul this weekend despite showing impressive pace throughout the practice and qualifying sessions at Imola.

The returning 2013 champion Vittorio Ghirelli notched up a top-six position after a fraught weekend that saw him on the back foot after engine problems decimated his track time in the Eurotech Lola.

Zele Racing finished a weekend to forget with the tardy Christof von Grunigen placing seventh after a disastrous start from the front row and several off-track excursions blighted his race.

Team-mate Tamas Pal Kiss was again delayed in the pits and finished a distant ninth, the same position he achieved on Saturday after similar problems.

The Hungarian has thus slipped from third to fourth in the points standings.

Race one podium visitor Andrea Roda fell back during the race with a cracked exhaust and was disappointed to cross the line eighth in his Virtuosi UK Lola-Zytek.

Results - 17 laps:                                     
Pos  Driver                 Team             Time/Gap   
 1.  Michela Cerruti        Super Nova       27m17.493s
 2.  Kevin Giovesi          Eurotech         +0.529s   
 3.  Pal Varhaug            Virtuosi UK      +3.330s   
 4.  Kimiya Sato            Euronova         +5.368s   
 5.  Markus Pommer          Super Nova       +9.872s   
 6.  Vittorio Ghirelli      Super Nova       +15.022s  
 7.  Christof von Grunigen  Zele             +21.879s  
 8.  Andrea Roda            Virtuosi         +25.398s  
 9.  Tamas Pal Kiss         Zele             +26.076s  
10.  Franceso Dracone       Super Nova       +26.652s  
11.  Michele La Rosa        MLR 71/Euronova  +45.057s  
12.  Salvatore De Plano     Euronova         +1m44.830s
     Giuseppe Cipriani      Virtuosi         3 laps      
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