Oschersleben: Crestani pips Afanasiev to AutoGP pole
Fabrizio Crestani grabbed pole position for the Oschersleben round of Auto GP. The Lazarus driver was the quickest after a thrilling session, stopped with 3 minutes to go due to an accident for Francesco Dracone. Qualifying saw many lead changes: Adrien Tambay topped the sheets with the first set of tires, then at mid-session with the second set Kevin Ceccon took the lead first, then pipped by Sergei Afanasiev.
Both improved a few times but Fabrizio Crestani, who had been in the top spots for the whole session, did his best lap with 4 minutes to go, posting an impressive 1'17"084. This, apart from being the new official track record, was enough to leave Afanasiev behind by just one tenth: it was an impressive performance for Crestani, that already clinched three podium finishes in the last four races. From his side, the Russian driver of DAMS didn't have the best luck: "when the red flag came out my first sector was 29.7, four tenths better of the lap that was worth P2. So pole was definitely in my sight and I was a bit unlucky. On the other side, making the most of the potential was up to me and I wasted my first set of tires following slower cars, so I also did some mistakes".
Ceccon was third behind Afanasiev, just 0.008 adrift: the Italian driver of Ombra Racing never went below P3 today, this meaning that he will surely be a strong contender for the win tomorrow. Besides him, on second row, Fabio Onidi will start from 4th place, crowning an incredible recovery: "Some days ago I was still wondering if I would have been able to race, and now I qualified 4th, it's amazing. Anyway now I must rest, after three sessions I'm starting to feel some pain, three set of new slicks were tough for my hand".
Proving how close this qualifying was, Giovanni Venturini was 5th with just a 0.05 gap from Onidi, with Samuele Buttarelli just 0.02 adrift, an hint for some great racing tomorrow. Seventh place and fourth row for Adrien Tambay, who wasn't happy given the potential he had shown in the Free Practices: "with my first set I was on top - he said - but then with the second one I broke my front wing, probably on a curb, and I didn't realize that immediately. I felt that the car had less grip, but I thought that it was just due to the track, so I went nearly to the end with that handicap. Behind him was newcomer Kevin Korjus, thanks to an amazing job by DAMS: the French team changed the gearbox of the #2 car between FP2 and Qualifying, and Kevin entered the pit-lane while the others were still on the track. With this premises, P8 is a great result. Closing the top 10 were Bruno Mendez and Adrian Campos Jr., the only ones to improve in the last 3 minutes of the session.
Fabrizio Crestani: "I'm really happy because this is the confirmation that now we have a really huge potential. Furthermore, on a track like this overtaking is really difficult, so clinching pole is really important. I'm very satisfied with the job we did with the team: in session two I was not happy with the car, so instead of putting new rubber I decided to keep working to get a better feeling, keeping all the new sets for qualifying. It seems it was a good choice".
Oschersleben, 29 July, Qualifying
1 Fabrizio CRESTANI Lazarus 1:17.084
2 Sergei AFANASIEV Dams 1:17.193
3 Kevin CECCON Ombra Racing 1:17.201
4 Fabio ONIDI Lazarus 1:17.387
5 Giovanni VENTURINI Griffitz Durango 1:17.432
6 Samuele BUTTARELLI TP Formula 1:17.452
7 Adrien TAMBAY Campos Racing 1:17.456
8 Kevin KORJUS Dams 1:17.891
9 Bruno MENDEZ Campos Racing 1:17.946
10 Adrian CAMPOS-JR Campos Racing 1:18.492
11 Daniel De JONG MP Motorsport 1:18.554
12 Pasquale DI SABATINO TP Formula 1:18.984
13 Giuseppe CIPRIANI Griffitz Durango 1:20.218
14 Francesco DRACONE Ombra Racing 1:20.447