Superstars International Series 2012
ROUND 6, Spa: Salo’s Maserati on the podium
Maserati has collected another podium in the International Superstars Series. After Christian Klien’s success in the Swiss Team Quattroporte Evo at the Hungaroring, this time it was Mika Salo who secured an important result at Spa. The Finn claimed third spot in Race 2 during the sixth round of the season. The action took place on a semi-fast track where the set up and handling of the Evo were fundamental in doing well.
For Salo it was a positive return to the Quattroporte Evo. Ferrari’s ex-F1 driver had challenged in the first round in the championship, at Monza, before Christian Fittipaldi, Johnny Herbert and Christian Klien occupied the hotseat. Swiss Team’s policy this year is to rotate top-drawer drivers in a bid to make the FG Group series more exciting and draw attention to the already competitive events.
In taking third, Salo made up for his bad luck at Monza where a podium place twice slipped away: in Race 1 after swerving to avoid a pile up; in Race 2 because a mechanical problem forced him to retire just as he was about to attack the leader.
At Spa it was a whole different story. Race 1 started in driving rain and none of the leading drivers wanted to take too many risks. Salo started and finished in fifth in a race where the superiority of the Audi RS5s was almost embarrassing. Benefiting from their four-wheel drive, the Audis secured a one-two by a healthy margin with Morbidelli winning and Kristoffersson second.
Even in these poor conditions the Maserati was competitive: Salo’s Quattroporte Evo posted the second best time set by a two-wheel drive car (2'55"325); he had been quickest on the track over the first three laps on a wetter surface.
RACE 1: The four-wheel drives dominate as Salo takes fifth
Race 1 started in driving rain and none of the drivers were willing to take any risks: the top six places on the grid were identical to those at the finish. In the wet the Audi RS5s, the only four-wheel drive entrants, scored a one-two courtesy of Morbidelli and Kristoffersson. Salo, in a Maserati, came home fifth while the less-experienced Cesari crossed the line 17th.
RACE 2: Salo third after a tight duel with Liuzzi
The rain came down again in Race 2 as Salo shone. He started on fourth but quickly moved into second behind Larini. It wasn’t long before Morbidelli’s four-wheel drive Audi RS5 took the lead with Liuzzi easing into third. Larini then had to drop out with mechanical difficulties, sparking the fight between Liuzzi and Salo for second spot. In the end it was the rain that brought an end to the spectacle.