“Sato climbs way to Auto GP victory”

Sato victorious in Hungary. © Auto GP World Series.
Sato victorious in Hungary. © Auto GP World Series.

Kimiya Sato stole a stellar Auto GP victory at the Hungaroring from 9th on the grid.

Driving the leading Euronova entry, Sato asserted himself against the thin field to win ahead of one-time leader Tamas P’al Kiss and podium debutante Andrea Roda.

It is understandable – Sato will miss the sixth round later this year duet to clashing commitments in the GP2 Series {note 1}.

The Japanese driver made a stunning start to grab five places on the opening lap, before setting his sights further up the table.
By lap seven, Sato had passed Sam Dejonghe into the tightening turn two and eventually did the same to Marcus Pommer, with race leader P’al Kiss surrendering the lead to Sato shortly thereafter.

With his tyres still strong, Sato built enough of a gap over P’al Kiss to emerge ahead of the Hungarian following his own stop on lap 20; however the Japanese driver fell back toward P’al Kiss as his own rubber faded.
As Sato’s fronts wore, Zele Racing’s P’al Kiss closed to with 1.2s, but could do no better than that, allowing the Euronova racer to claim his second victory of the season.

A calamitous stop from Pommer’s Super Nova crew (which included pitting one lap too late and a loose wheel flying into the fast lane of the pits) brought Roda into the podium fold and like Sato, he was struggling for grip toward the end; however he was too far clear of the chasing Kevin Giovesi to have to worry.

Giovesi passed Dejonghe at the two-third’s point, with the pair initially followed by Pommer. Unfortunately for the German driver, Pommer received a 35s post-race penalty, dropping him to 10th.
Pommer’s demotion gave positions to Yoshitaka Kuroda (6th, Zele), Michele La Rosa (7th, Euronova) and Super Nova duo Vittorio Ghirelli (8th) and Michela Cerruti (9th).

{note 1}
Should Kimiya Sato continue on his run and win the Auto GP World Series, he will become the first entrant since Romain Grosjean in 2010 to take the crown despite missing part of the season.

Sato proved decisive on track. © Auto GP World Series.
Sato proved decisive on track. © Auto GP World Series.

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