Silverstone Auto GP: Giovesi beats Karthikeyan for debut win
GP2 racer Kevin Giovesi scored a shock debut win on the Auto GP World Series' maiden visit to Silverstone
The Italian produced a faultless performance to hold off charging former grand prix driver Narain Karthikeyan on a high-pressure final lap.
The result rewarded Auto GP newcomer Ghinzani Motorsport's expansion to two cars at Silverstone to accommodate Giovesi.
"It's fantastic," said reigning European Open Formula 3 Cup champion Giovesi. "We're talking to sponsors, so perhaps after the weekend we'll find out if I can stay in Auto GP for some more rounds."
Starting from the front row, the Lazarus GP2 driver kept pace with polesitter Karthikeyan in the early laps.
The pair had the measure of the field for pace, extending an eight-second lead over the third place battle between Tamas Pal Kiss and the slow-starting Vittorio Ghirelli by the race's mid-way mark.
Super Nova's new recruit Karthikeyan pitted for his mandatory tyre change with a 1.6s advantage on lap 12 of 14. But the Indian was a delayed by a problem fitting the front-left wheel, costing him an estimated four seconds.
Giovesi made his stop on the following tour, and funnelled out of the pits into Becketts with superior track position.
Struggling with front tyre temperature, Karthikeyan recovered ground sufficiently to make a lunge for the lead into Brooklands and Luffield on the last lap. But Giovesi survived to take victory by 0.318s.
"I had a big go at the complex and at Club on the last lap," said Karthikeyan. "I am a bit disappointed, but I am sure we will win soon. The trouble on the last lap was my fronts were taking time to heat up."
Hungaroring winner Ghirelli executed a superb passing manoeuvre around the outside of Kiss at Stowe to steal third on lap nine.
Kiss dropped to a distant fourth, ahead of lead Manor MP Motorsport man Daniel de Jong and series returnee Fabrizio Crestani.
Substituting for injured Ibiza Racing owner Giuseppe Cipriani, Crestani was one of several drivers to receive a black and white warning flag for breach of track limits.
Championship leader Kimiya Sato took seventh, while title rival Sergio Campana picks up Sunday's reversed-grid pole courtesy of eighth place.
Virtuosi UK racer Andrea Roda was an early retirement after having one of his strongest runs of the season, in fifth, on the opening lap.
Results - 14 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Kevin Giovesi Ghinzani 25m47.090s 2. Narain Karthikeyan Super Nova + 0.318s 3. Vittorio Ghirelli Super Nova + 8.170s 4. Tamas Pal Kiss Zele + 14.375s 5. Daniel de Jong Manor MP + 16.030s 6. Fabrizio Crestani Ibiza + 17.280s 7. Kimiya Sato Euronova + 19.311s 8. Sergio Campana Ibiza + 23.270s 9. Meindert van Buuren Manor MP + 23.967s 10. Robert Visoiu Ghinzani + 24.925s 11. Luciano Bacheta Zele + 25.778s 12. Maxim Snegirev Virtuosi UK + 29.881s 13. Yoshitaka Kuroda Euronova + 45.256s 14. Michele La Rosa MLR 71 + 1m30.352s Retirements: Riccardo Agostini Manor MP 10 laps Francesco Dracone Super Nova 6 laps Andrea Roda Virtuosi UK 1 laps
Silverstone Auto GP: Karthikeyan takes pole on Super Nova debut
Silverstone Auto GP: Karthikeyan elevated to win as Giovesi penalised