Auto GP Marrakech: Sergio Campana takes series lead with win

Sergio Campana survived a nervous final lap in a faltering car to deliver his second Auto GP victory of the season in Marrakech

Auto GP Marrakech: Sergio Campana takes series lead with win

The Italian appeared to be in control of proceedings, but a comfortable five-second lead over GP2 racer Daniel de Jong wilted on the last lap as his machine developed a cracked exhaust and oil leak.

A rough exhaust note entering his mandatory pitstop on lap 13 was the prelude to a smokescreen being emitted from the rear of Campana's Ibiza Racing Lola.

His margin of victory stood at just 1.6s over de Jong at the chequered flag.

The Manor MP racer had his own scare on the way to the grid, when he was forced to change from a favoured set of soft-compound Kumhos onto supersofts.

The move followed the discovery of a puncture caused by a paperclip embedded in the tyre.

Monza reversed-grid race winner Kimiya Sato produced an attacking drive from sixth on the grid to take his third consecutive podium position, albeit one that caused him to lose the points lead to Campana.

Sato was in a minority of drivers to opt to start the race on soft tyres, and was fastest in the middle portion of the race.

A wild moment at the final chicane, during which the Japanese Euronova driver avoided brushing the wall by inches, tempered Sato's charge.

Fourth-placed Riccardo Agostini lost control in a heated early fight for second with Narain Karthikeyan and made gentle contact with a tyre barrier.

The Italian Formula 3 champion pitted at his first opportunity at the conclusion of lap seven, but charged up the order.

Super Nova's Antonio Spavone produced a consistent display to take a lonely fifth place, four seconds clear of Karthikeyan, who was in the thick of the action throughout.

Karthikeyan held second in the early laps, and defended his position from first Agostini, and later Robert Visoiu.

Visoiu grabbed second when Karthikeyan got sideways exiting a chicane, but slid wide as both entered the pitlane for their tyre changes and ceded the place back.

Front-tyre delays for both during their stops dropped them down. While Visoiu would retire on the penultimate lap, Karthikeyan slid to sixth.

After an impressive display in free practice, Manor MP rookie Meindert van Buuren was an opening-lap retirement with driveshaft failure.

Results - 19 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Sergio Campana Ibiza 29m06.179s 2. Daniel de Jong Manor MP + 1.033s 3. Kimiya Sato Euronova + 1.778s 4. Riccardo Agostini Manor MP + 3.752s 5. Antonio Spavone Super Nova + 10.906s 6. Narain Karthikeyan Zele + 14.810s 7. Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova + 35.947s 8. Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK + 36.767s 9. Luciano Bacheta Zele + 37.054s 10. Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza + 38.034s 11. Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova + 42.954s 12. Michele la Rosa MLR 71 + 44.336s 13. Max Snegirev Virtuosi UK + 50.696s 14. Robert Visoiu Ghinzani - 2 laps Retirements: Meindert van Buuren Manor MP 0 laps 
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Series Auto GP
Author Peter Mills