Hungaroring Auto GP: Ghirelli charges to victory in race two
Vittorio Ghirelli claimed his maiden Auto GP victory after producing a charging performance from seventh on the reversed grid at the Hungaroring
The Fasano racer had been the class of the field in round three, and was only denied a comfortable win in Sunday's first race through a delay during his mandatory pitstop.
"It has been a fantastic weekend," said Ghirelli. "Of course in the first race we had the issue in the pits, but the car was always really well-balanced and I could get everything out of it."
Sergio Campana came closest to matching Ghirelli for pace, and the 2013 double victor claimed a strong second.
After non-scoring in the last round in Marrakech owing to a first-lap multi-car tangle, the result keeps former Italian Formula 3 champion Campana in touch with championship leader Sato in the points race.
Camapana's competitive race showing marked a turnaround in form for the Ibiza Racing driver, after struggling for set-up direction in practice.
Riccardo Agostini completed an all-Italian podium. Adopting a different strategy from the top two men, Agostini opted for an early pitstop.
The reigning Italian F3 champion emerged on top in a tough Kumho-to-Kumho battle with reversed-grid polesitter Narain Karthikeyan and crowd favourite Tamas Pal Kiss.
Karthikeyan had made a perfect start to lead Manor MP Motorsport men Daniel de Jong and Meindert van Buuren on the opening lap. But rookie van Buuren's promising run would end when his car pulled to a halt two tours later, promoting Ghirelli into third.
Super Nova racer Ghirelli was unfazed by an early off-track moment at the uphill left-hand Turn 4 to become the early man on the move.
He swiftly picked off de Jong for second on the exit of Turn 1 before asserting pressure on Karthikeyan.
The lead was secured into Turn 2 on lap eight, and thereafter Ghirelli's only worry was caused by lapped traffic as he extended an eight-second winning margin.
Race one winner Sato made limited progress from eighth on the reversed-grid and claimed sixth.
Sato leads the standings on 97 points, five clear of Campana. Ghirelli is third on 83, 32 clear of fourth-placed Agostini.
Results - 19 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova 31m11.327s 2. Sergio Campana Ibiza + 7.994s 3. Riccardo Agostini Manor MP + 10.262s 4. Narain Karthikeyan Zele + 13.504s 5. Tamas Pal Kiss MLR 71 + 14.084s 6. Kimiya Sato Euronova + 19.001s 7. Daniel de Jong Manor MP + 19.342s 8. Maxim Snegirev Virtuosi UK + 25.356s 9. Luciano Bacheta Zele + 35.774s 10. Robert Visoiu Ghinzani + 36.736s 11. Francesco Dracone Super Nova + 53.189s 12. Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK + 1m07.457s Retirements: Michele La Rosa MLR 71 15 laps Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova 13 laps Giuseppe Cipriani Ibiza 11 laps Meindert van Buuren Manor MP 2 laps
Hungaroring Auto GP: Sato snatches unlikely victory from Ghirelli
Narain Karthikeyan leaves Zele Auto GP team