Rain disturbs Auto GP plans in Vallelunga

The rain was the most competitive rival for the teams and drivers of Auto GP, as they faced adverse condition in day 1 of the series' opening 2015 test at Vallelunga. During the early morning, an heavy rainfall forced the teams and drivers to stay into the pits, with the organization deciding to extend the length of the session.

In the end, the checkered flag fell at 13:00 instead of 12:30. In the earliest stages, and on a damp track, Francesco Dracone, driving for Super Nova, was the fastest man around circuit in 1'38"516. Unfortunately, due to the varying conditions, the comparison between cars was pushed back to Day 2. On the other hand, Luca Persiani will be missing. The Roman was supposed to go on-track in the morning, but his segment was canceled due to rain before having to leave for an Endurance test scheduled by Russian team SMP Racing at Le Castellet. Speaking of Russia, Nikita Zlobin made his debut aboard an Auto GP car with Virtuosi Racing. Nikita ended up being one of the most active men of the day. Eventually, a slight mistake put him out of contention in the closing stages, but he was consistent, logging 50 laps.

At the end of the day, the quickest man of the field was Ibiza Racing Team's Vittorio Ghirelli, who lapped in 1'25"807 and topped Dracone by 268 thousands of a second. The second car fielded by the Spanish squad ended up in fourth in the hands of Giuseppe Cipriani.

Taking third was Sebastian Balthasar, who worked hard at his debut for Manor MP Motorsport. Due to the travel delays that hit Antonio Pizzonia, Zele Racing focused on the sole Andrès Mendez, driving an Auto GP car for the first time. Fellow rookie Toby Sowery, the 2014 MRF Challenge champion, lined-up on the second Virtuosi Racing car, which will feature René Binder in Day 2. The Austrian will be racing in GP2 this season, and will be on-track as a preparation for the upcoming Abu Dhabi preseason test.


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