Karthikeyan Triumphs in Auto GP Series
Last weekend (June 1-2) saw round four of the global Auto GP series fought out around the fast sweeping turns of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit and produce wins for the former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan and Japanese campaigner Kimiya Sato. It is the first of two visits Auto GP will make to the UK this year, a series for which Kumho supply all the tyres. As in F1, they are always produced in two different compounds, both of which have to be used during the event.
Karthikeyan was making his debut with the renowned Norfolk-based Super Nova International team, and what an arrival it turned out to be, with the popular Indian driver gaining pole position for race one and going on to take his maiden victory in the series.
Rookie Kevin Giovesi had in fact taken the chequered flag first, but was dropped to 13th place for performing his pit stop outside the official window. This heralded Super Nova’s first 1-2 in the series as, making up for a poor start, Karthikeyan’s team mate Vittorio Ghirelli had finished next in line. Said Karthikeyan: “I’m happy to have scored my maiden Auto GP win. I found a great feeling with the car and track combination and on such a tough circuit like Silverstone I feel I managed to take the best out of our package. Both compounds of the Kumho tyres gave good grip and were very consistent throughout the race distance.”
Sato started race two from the second row of the grid, but eased his way to the front for another well-judged victory, and therefore the retention of his championship lead – he now leads Sergio Campana by 126 points to 113. The next round is at Mugello over the weekend of July 13-14. The series returns to the UK for the penultimate round, which will take place at Donington Park on August 31-September 1.
Said Kumho’s European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson: “We are delighted to be supplying all the tyres for the Auto GP series for the second year running. As a proving ground for the next generation of F1 drivers it requires us to provide similar-style ‘soft’ and ‘medium’ compound tyres for each car. Both products performed well in the warm conditions, on a track that is notoriously demanding in regard to tyre performance.”