Meindert van Buuren tops first day of Jerez Auto GP test

Meindert van Buuren topped the first day of Auto GP's post-season test at Jerez on Monday for Super Nova

Meindert van Buuren tops first day of Jerez Auto GP test

The Dutchman was driving for the British squad - which won this year's teams' championship - for the first time after racing with Manor MP Motorsport in the series.

Van Buuren's fastest time of 1m31.776s was posted in the morning session.

Formula 3 European Championship graduate Tatiana Calderon ended the morning second fastest and best of the rookies.

The Colombian, fielded by Virtuosi UK, was just 0.4s adrift of van Buuren.

Michela Cerruti took third in the morning session for Super Nova, having spent the year in series as diverse as European F3, Auto GP and Italian GT.

Formula Abarth champion Alessio Rovera handled the step up to 550bhp capably and claimed fourth in the morning for Ibiza Racing, albeit 1.554s off van Buuren's benchmark time.

The Italian shaded Richard Gonda, the leader in the European F3 Open's Copa class, by 0.033s. Gonda consolidated his solid morning form by taking fourth in the afternoon.

Auto GP podium finisher Tamas Pal Kiss took over Calderon's Virtuosi car for the afternoon session and paced the field in 1m31.886s.

The Hungarian's effort edged out van Buuren by 0.107s and was the second fastest of the day overall.

Euronova Racing's 2013 runner-up Kimiya Sato was third in the afternoon. Team boss Vincenzo Sospiri expressed his satisfaction with the Japanese driver's set-up work, and with the progress of Formula Renault 3.5 racer Pietro Fantin - who was fifth in the afternoon and eighth overall.

"This morning we ran a race set-up and a lot of fuel, playing around a little bit," Sospiri told AUTOSPORT.

"In the afternoon we ran a little bit less fuel but the car still had a race set-up.

"Tomorrow, Fantin will drive the same car again, but in the morning we'll run Michele Beretta, who finished second with me in Formula Abarth."

Beretta drove for Ghinzani Motorsport on Monday, and was a constant factor in the top 10.

This year's Auto GP title-contender Sergio Campana was also present at the test, and evaluated a number of technical upgrades in development for the 2014 season.

Combined testing times, Day 1

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Meindert van Buuren Super Nova 1m31.776s 2. Tamas Pal Kiss Virtuosi 1m31.886s +0.110s 3. Tatiana Calderon Virtuosi 1m32.213s +0.437s 4. Kimiya Sato Euronova 1m32.521s +0.745s 5. Michela Cerruti Super Nova 1m32.712s +0.936s 6. Richard Gonda Zele 1m32.882s +1.106s 7. Alessio Rovera Ibiza 1m33.330s +1.554s 8. Pietro Fantin Euronova 1m33.817s +2.041s 9. Michele Beretta Ghinzani 1m33.941s +2.164s 10. Cameron Twynham Zele 1m34.190s +2.414s 11. Liam Venter Comtec/Virtuosi 1m34.612s +2.864s 12. Jordan Oon Ghinzani 1m34.819s +3.043s 13. Onofrio Triarsi Virtuosi 1m35.184s +3.308s 14. Ricardo Vera Ibiza 1m35.666s +3.890s 15. Zdenek Groman Super Nova 1m36.547s +4.769s
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Series Auto GP
Author Peter Mills