Superstars International Series 2012
ROUND 7, Vallelunga: A disappointing round
Round seven in the International Superstars Series turned out to be a testing one for Swiss Team and their two Maserati Quattroporte Evos. At Vallelunga the Swiss outfit had, as usual, set up two very competitive cars but the points haul was much lower than expected. In truth, the team deserved more as ex-F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella teamed up with the less experienced Mauro Cesari, Swiss Team’s regular driver for the season.
Fisichella, on his home circuit and in front of his fans, was all set to let his talent shine through but did not have a smooth run of things. In Race 2 he was involved in a clash with another driver that took him out of the running for a good finish. Apart from the inconvenience of damaging the car, he was also given a 25” penalty once the race was over. This meant that the Roman only came away with an eighth and an eleventh place.
It has to be said that Fisichella’s main priority is the FIA World Endurance series, one where he drives a Ferrari. He had just competed in the 6 Hours of Bahrain where he and his team-mates had brought the Constructors title back to Maranello. Fisichella turned up at Vallelunga with no experience in the International Superstars Series and without having even tested in the Quattroporte Evo. His inclusion was part of Swiss Team’s policy of fielding a different ex-F1 driver at every round. This decision was taken on the back of Andrea Bertolini securing the team the 2011 Drivers’ title and aims to draw more attention to the championship.
Cesari, on the other hand, has much less competition experience. Still, he battled hard in both races, making the occasional error, and managed to lap at a decent pace. In the end his tenth and twelfth places showed that he is improving.
RACE 1: Fisichella climbs to eighth to give Maserati pole for Race-2
The four-wheel drive Audi RS5s were again impossible to catch. Kristoffersson and Schoffler, respectively, wasted no time in moving into the top two positions, and stayed there until the end. Starting on tenth and slowed down by a crash ahead of him, and later by a piece of debris that jammed under his Quattroporte Evo, Fisichella climbed to eighth. This finish gave him pole for Race 2 while Cesari finished tenth having lined up in thirteenth.
RACE 2: Fisichella comes off worse in a clash with Zurcher and is penalised
It all went wrong for Fisichella. Starting in pole, given that the grid is decided by the finishing order from Race 1 but with the top eight places inverted, the ex-F1 driver was first nudged by Liuzzi and then Zurcher, as he edged past. Fisichella tried to retake his position from the Colombian but bumped into him, damaging the car. He ended up in eighth and was slapped with a 25” penalty. After a couple of slip-ups, Cesari improved on his initial fifteenth to finish in twelfth.