Sergey Afanasiev takes second Auto GP win at damp Oschersleben
Sergey Afanasiev withstood a late charge from Adrien Tambay to take his second Auto GP win in difficult damp conditions at Oschersleben on Saturday
Afanasiev's cause was helped when polesitter Fabrizio Crestani (Lazarus) was wiped out by Samuele Buttarelli (TP Formula) at the first corner, allowing the Russian to slip into the lead and build a gap of over four seconds before he and Tambay made their compulsory stops.
Tambay elected to stop earlier, and the undercut worked well as he rapidly closed on Afanasiev when the Russian emerged from the pits on fresh, but cold, rubber.
The gap fell to 0.3 seconds as Tambay took several looks down Afanasiev's inside, but the Russian's tyres slowly came back to him and a chain of fastest laps allowed him to keep Tambay at bay and take victory by 0.644s.
"It was lucky for me what happened to rivals, but it's very slippery and usually something happens," Afanasiev said. "After my stop the tyres were still cold and the balance was completely changed, but I held on and it feels awesome."
As was the case at the front, the battle for third closed significantly immediately after the pitstops, with Formula Renault 3.5 race-winner Kevin Korjus leading Kevin Ceccon (Ombra Racing) and Fabio Onidi (Lazarus) in a three-way fight.
The trio were often separated by less than one second, but DAMS driver Korjus did not put a foot wrong and was on his way to third until running a mechanical issue forced him to retire on the penultimate lap.
That left Onidi to challenge Ceccon for the final step on the podium, and the Italian took up the cause eagerly - only for a mistake on the final lap to drop him from Ceccon's rear, forcing him to settle for fourth.
Adrian Campos Jr, MP Motorsport's Daniel de Jong and TP Formula's Pasquale di Sabatino rounded out the top seven, with Giovanni Venturini (Durango) a lonely eighth.
Campos' Bruno Mendez finished one lap down after being handed a drive-through for a clash with Durango's Giuseppe Cipriani which forced the latter to retire.
The race stewards meanwhile called up Samuele Buttarelli and the TP Formula team manager immediately after the race and handed him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Valencia following his outlandish lap one collision with Crestani.
Results - 24 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Sergey Afanasiev DAMS 32m58.137s 2. Adrien Tambay Campos + 0.644s 3. Kevin Ceccon Ombra + 16.135s 4. Fabio Onidi Lazarus + 19.329s 5. Adrian Campos Jr Campos + 24.415s 6. Daniel de Jong MP + 28.249s 7. Pasquale di Sabatino TP + 31.690s 8. Giovanni Venturini Durango + 34.183s 9. Bruno Mendez Campos + 1 lap 10. Kevin Korjus DAMS + 2 laps Retirements: Francesco Dracone Emmebi 1 lap Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1 lap Giuseppe Cipriani Durango 0 laps Samuele Buttarelli TP 0 laps
Fabrizio Crestani takes pole for first Auto GP race at Oschersleben
Giovanni Venturini wins hard-fought Auto GP race two at Oschersleben