Superstars International Series 2012
ROUND 5, Hungaroring: Victory for Maserati and Klien
Maserati scored its first win in the International Superstars Series at the Hungaroring. In round five, Christian Klien steered the Swiss Team’s Quattroporte Evo to victory. The Austrian claimed the win in Race 2 after collecting a good fourth in the first event.
This was Klien’s first outing in the FG Group-run series. He was invited to continue the branding policy adopted by Swiss Team this season: following Andrea Bertolini’s 2011 title, the squad has opted to increase the series’ visibility by rotating F1 drivers in one of its two cars. Christian, who drove for Red Bull in 2005, went on to become Peugeot’s official Endurance driver. He follows in the footsteps of Mika Salo, Christian Fittipaldi and Johnny Herbert in driving the Evo this year.
Klien’s win was all the more impressive as it came in the harder event where the grid positions are reversed (Race 2 grids are based on the Race 1 finishing order with the positions inverted). This meant that Klien occupied slot five but had slipped two places by turn one after being forced wide to avoid the predictable traffic.
From there, Klien mounted his comeback. His lap times bettered those posted by race leader, Mercedes’ Zurcher. As things turned out, it was a good call not to interfere in Liuzzi and Biagi’s private feud for second because the two later clashed, opening the door for Klien to step through. In the end, Klien inherited top spot after Zurcher was slapped with a 25” penalty for provoking an early crash involving Ferlito.
Klien’s performance was another confirmation of the Maserati’s competitiveness under the guidance of technical director Giuseppe Angiulli and track engineer Emilio Battistini. With a top driver on board for the entire season, the car would have been in with a shot at the title.
RACE 1: Klien shoots off, mounts a comeback and ends up fourth
Klien got off to a speedy start to climb from 6th to 4th and stick to the leading three. Hounded by Morbidelli’s Audi RS5, with its four-wheel drive, he had to move aside. The Italian later pulled out with technical problems and the Austrian took fourth. Things did not go so well for Cesari in the other Quattroporte Evo as his bevel gear broke during practice.
RACE 2: Another Klien comeback seals the Quattroporte Evo’s maiden 2012 win
Klien lined up in fifth, gained two spots but then slipped down to 7th. He was lapping faster than lead driver Zurcher to move into 5th, then 4th when Morbidelli pulled out, and finally into 2nd when Liuzzi and Biagi clashed ahead of him, The 25” penalty handed to Zurcher saw the win go to Klien. Meanwhile Cesari’s bad luck continued as his car could still not be repaired.