Paul Varhaug beats Adrian Quaife-Hobbs to win second Hungaroring Auto GP race
|By Peter Mills||Sunday, May 6th 2012, 12:29 GMT|
Virtuosi UK's Pal Varhaug claimed a thrilling Auto GP reversed-grid victory at the Hungaroring after a tense duel with race one winner Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
The result is Varhaug's second win of the season, following success at the Monza season opener, and propels the 21-year-old into second position in the drivers' standings, 43 points behind Quaife-Hobbs.
Enjoying his strongest showing of the year, Campos Racing's 46-year-old gentleman driver Giuseppe Cipriani led the early laps, before a patient Varhaug negotiated the Italian on the exit of Turn 10 on lap six. Up from eighth on the reversed grid, Quaife-Hobbs was quick to follow suit and outbraked Cipriani into Turn 1 on the following tour.
Super Nova racer Quaife-Hobbs swiftly closed down a 1.2-second deficit to the new leader, and hounded Varhaug over a stirring closing 12 laps.
Unable to find a clear passing opportunity on track, Quaife-Hobbs opted to attempt an undercut during the mandatory pitstops. On the approach to the pit entry at the conclusion of lap 13, the championship leader slid spectacularly sideways to achieve the pitlane speed limit.
Despite Quaife-Hobbs' impressive bravery on the brakes, two laps later Varhaug enjoyed a low 6s turnaround from his Virtuosi UK crew to rejoin the track with an apparently extended lead. But Varhaug struggled to control his car at the apex of Turn 1 on cold tyres, and was powerless to prevent Quaife-Hobbs immediately closing the gap.
The two cars ran side-by-side into Turns 2 and 3 but, with the advantage of the inside line, Varhaug held station. A mistake at the final corner on the penultimate lap allowed Quaife-Hobbs another half-chance, but Varhaug resisted to take victory by 0.789s.
Fresh from victory in the supporting Italian Formula 3 European series earlier on Sunday morning, Sergey Sirotkin claimed the final place on the podium. The Russian suffered disappointment in race one when he was denied a likely second position by a late race gearbox failure.
The Euronova Racing driver's task for race two was consequently made more challenging by a grid position of 14th, but a superb getaway and a strong pace after pitting on lap 10 assisted his progress.
In only the Estonian's second Auto GP start of the year, series returnee Sten Pentus finished a lonely fourth for Zele Racing.
Marrakech reversed-grid victor Chris van der Drift took fifth, ahead of Cipriani whose pitstop is under investigation by race officials.
Results - 19 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Pal Varhaug Virtuosi UK 32m02.890s 2. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Super Nova + 0.789s 3. Sergey Sirotkin Euronova + 2.765s 4. Sten Pentus Zele + 10.524s 5. Chris van der Drift Manor MP + 21.195s 6. Giuseppe Cipriani Campos + 25.445s 7. Sergio Campana MLR 71 + 25.903s 8. Antonio Spavone Euronova + 26.511s 9. Giancarlo Serenelli Ombra + 31.302s 10. Facu Regalia Campos + 31.759s 11. Maxim Snegirev Campos + 34.627s 12. Daniel de Jong Manor MP + 36.656s 13. Adderly Fong Ombra + 36.942s 14. Francesco Dracone Virtuosi UK + 41.504s Retirements: Victor Guerin Super Nova 4 laps Michele la Rosa MLR 71 1 lap