Navarra, Race 2: Grosjean takes win and Series lead
Third Auto GP win for Romain Grosjean: the frenchman dominated the second race on the Navarra Circuit, winning easily despite starting from P6 on the grid. Today's comeback allowed him to put an end to his chase for the championship lead: he now stands 1st, with an one point gap on Piscopo.
Anyway, the first part of the race wasn't easy for Grosjean, who had to avoid a slow starting Jonny Reid and followed Luca Filippi, behind Giacomo Ricci and Natacha Gachnang.
The young swiss driver of Charouz-Gravity Racing, at her first pole start in Auto GP, was very good off the line and then was a tough nut for her opponents: after being passed by Ricci on lap 2, she raced on a good pace and was able to keep 2nd place until lap 8, when she was passed by Grosjean, ho started chasing the Italian. He succeeded on lap 14, coming on the tail of the RP Motorsport car and easily passing Ricci on the main straight, and from then on the steadily stretched his lead, lapping 1" quicker than anybody else.
Behind him, a great fight for second place went on between Ricci and Jan Charouz: while the Italian driver was struggling with worn rear tyres, Charouz closed the gap on him after an amazing recovery from 9th place. The Czech driver was clearly quicker than Ricci and passed him on lap 16 on the last corner; unfortunately he than had a gearbox glitch and the Italian was able to pass him again. Charouz did put a lot of pressure on him and in the final lap the pair ran side by side in the last corner: under the checkered flag Ricci was second in an Indycar style finish, with just a 0.017 gap on Charouz.
Just below the podium was Duncan Tappy, taking advantage from a race incident caused by Alexander Sims: the British rookie was very aggressive diving inside of Jan Charouz and Luca Filippi: he nearly made hit but he lost the rear of his car on the corner exit, hitting the SuperNova driver and putting an end to his race. It was a pity because in just 7 laps Sims was 6th despite starting from P11.
Tappy finished ahead of Adrien Tambay, who climbed from 13th place to get 2 points with a very consistent race, and Johnny Reid. It was an unlucky day for Race 1 winner Julian Leal: the Colombian was hit by Piscopo on lap 2 and had to retire, while the Italian had to serve a drive through penalty: with his race ruined he at least got the fastest lap of the race, worth one point.
Today's result means also that DAMS is the Auto GP team champion: the French outfit leads the standings with a 54 points gap, too many for Charouz-Gravity Racing to catch them.
Romain Grosjean: "It's amazing, yesterday I couldn't believe that I was 3rd starting from 8th place, and today it was the same, I didn't think that winning was possible from 3rd row. Anyway DAMS gave me a great car and I could drive as I liked. Obviously apart from the win I'm very happy to be leading the championship, now I will do my best to stay on top.
I also want to congratulate Natacha Gachnang, my team-mate in Fia GT. She had a great start and then she managed to keep us at bay for a long time, closing all the doors in the right way. She drove a really good race".
Giacomo Ricci: "I had a good start and as soon as I passed Gachnang I tried to build a big gap. Unfortunately my tyres became too worn very early, so when Grosjean catched me he was able to pass me easily. With Charouz it was a great fight and I'm happy that I made it, RP Motorsport deserves this good result".
Jan Charouz: "It was a good fight but I'm disappointed, I was quicker than Ricci and I should have been second. Anyway the gearbox had some problem and he managed to pass me easily. It's a real pity".