AutoGP Valencia Race 1, Afanasiev flag to flag

 Sergei Afanasiev is really on a charge in this final rounds of the Auto GP Championship. The Russian driver boasted a dominating performance, leading the race from flag to flag and becoming the first Auto GP driver to clinch a third win in 2011.

The DAMS driver had a very good start from pole, and thanks to that he managed to build a gap already in the first corners. Behind him the others were already fighting: with an amazing start Fabio Onidi passed from P5 on the grid to second place, passing Carroll, Ceccon and Tambay. The first two followed the Lazarus driver, while Adrien payed a very high price for a bad start, dropping from third place to P9, behind Rio Haryanto and Giovanni Venturini.

Then the pit-stops, mainly due to some mistakes, mixed-up the group. The first drivers to stop, on lap 4, where Ceccon, Haryanto, Tambay, Buttarelli and Filippi, and the tyre change brought bad news for the SuperNova driver: problems in mounting his right rear rim made his stop very long, demoting him to last place. The same issue did hit Carrol on lap 10, dropping the brit from P3 to ninth place.

Meanwhile, on lap 6, the team Lazarus staff was perfect in changing Onidi's tyres, allowing the Italian driver to keep second place and to close the gap on Afanasiev. Fabio got really close to Sergei despite being slowed down by Cipriani for a couple of laps. Traffic, anyway, was an issue also for Afanasiev who came out of his pit-stop behind Dracone and then had to fight his way past. On this occasion, Onidi managed to cut the gap to just 0”7, but once the pair passed Dracone the Russian of DAMS flew away again, crossing the line with a 4” advantage.Third was Kevin Ceccon, who in the final laps had to keep at bay Fabrizio Crestani and Rio Haryanto. Both had the pace to put pressure on the Series leader but the track layout didn't give much room for overtaking and they never had a real chance, ending the race in P4 and P5 respectively. Sixth was Tambay, who drove a good race after the bad start, ahead of Samuele Buttarelli: the TP Formula driver had qualified 5th but had to start from P10 due to the penalty he was given for the Oschersleben Race 1 crash. Despite this he drove a very consistent and thanks to this result he will start from second spot on tomorrow's reversed grid.

The poleman of Race 2 will be Adam Carroll, eight at the end of this race after his pit-stop issue. Closing the top ten were Daniel de Jong and Giovanni Venturini, the latter hampered by a slow pit stop.Sergei Afanasiev: “Being on the highest step of the podium again is great, and I really have to say thanks to DAMS for that. With rain disturbing us yesterday during the Free Practice, we didn't have much time to try different solutions, and we didn't do any test here during the season while others did. So, giving me such a quick car they did an incredible job. The race wasn't easy, the hot weather made it physically demanding and I had some tough moments, especially at the pit-stop and immediately after with Dracone slowing me down. Anyway he was fair and everthing went in the right way. I know that now I'm really close to the Series lead, but I want to wait for tomorrow before doing the maths”.  Fabio Onidi: “I'm really happy of this result. This year I had been on podium just once, winning in Monza, and the rest of the season was quite unlucky, with the injury in Donington as the lowest point. Today everything went fine right from the start, I had a very good paceand if it wasn't for the slow laps behind Cipriani maybe I could have passed Sergei when he pitted. Anyway I'm happy with 2nd, being on podium again in Race 1 is a sweet feeling”.Kevin Ceccon: “Another podium is a very good result, especially looking to Filippi's result. I know that Sergei is a bit closer now, but my balance is very good today. At the start I wasn't perfect but I was third, before getting surprised by Fabio's braking in Turn 1 and getting passed by Carroll. Anyway my team did maybe the best pit-stop of the season and brought me back to third, and from then on I just had to watch the mirrors to keep Crestani at bay. My read tyres got worn early, but Valencia is a track were passing is difficult, so I could keep my position easily”.Valencia, 3 September, Race 1 1   Sergei AFANASIEV    Dams 22 laps in 32:18.625, avg 163,61 km/h2   Fabio ONIDI    Lazarus    +4.385 3   Kevin CECCON    Ombra Racing   +16.231 4   Fabrizio CRESTANI   Lazarus    +16.5325   Rio HARYANTO    Dams     +17.392 6   Adrien TAMBAY    Campos Racing   +21.780 7   Samuele BUTTARELLI   TP Formula    +23.181 8   Adam CARROLL    Campos Racing    +26.949 9  Adrian CAMPOS JR   Campos Racing   +31.300 10   Giovanni VENTURINI   Griffitz Durango   +34.094 11   Pasquale DI SABATINO   TP Formula    +35.047 12   Luca FILIPPI   Supernova Racing   +44.096 13   Daniel DEJONG    MP Motorsport   +49.843 14   Francesco DRACONE  Ombra Racing   +1:02.253 15   Giuseppe CIPRIANI   Griffitz Durango   +1:03.581 Fastest LapLuca FILIPPI, Supernova Racing, 1:25.235, avg 169.15km/hDrivers Standings: 1. Ceccon 115; 2. Afanasiev 109; 3. Filippi 99; 4. Venturini e Tambay 76; 6. Onidi 74; 7. Crestani 70; 8. Buttarelli 69; 9. Lancaster 51; 10. Haryanto 39. Under 21 Standings: 1. Ceccon 186; 2. Venturini 125; 3. Buttarelli 115; 4. Tambay 110;  5. Haryanto 90; 6. Mendez 71; 7. de Jong 55; 8. Korjus 18; 9. Bizzarri 10.Teams Standings: 1. DAMS 187; 2. SuperNova 153; 3. Lazarus 143; 4. Ombra 121; 5. Campos Racing 116; 6. TP Formula 99; 7. Griffitz Durango 78; 8. Mp Motorsport 19; 9. Emmebi 1.