Superstars International Series 2012 - Imola
ROUND 2, IMOLA: Maserati twice in the top five
The private Swiss Team and its Maserati Quattroporte Evos took to the track for round two of the International Superstars Series, at Imola, with a new line up.
At Monza, the Swiss team had fielded Mika Salo and Mauro Cesari; at Imola the Italian was flanked by another ex-F1 star in Christian Fittipaldi. The latest driver to link up with Swiss Team was a real coup: the Brazilian competed in F1 for three seasons, 1992-95. He also appeared in the Cart series, then the top single-seater category in the US, between 1995 and 2002, and has taken part in the Nascar Stock Car, Grand Am and American Le Mans Series; all top-drawer championships.
Imola did not start off that well for Swiss Team and Qualifying did not go as planned: Fittipaldi was getting to know the car in the practice sessions as he had never driven the Evo before. He also had to familiarise himself with the Imola circuit as he had not driven it since 1994 and the F1 GP. Neither the Brazilian nor Cesari managed to get the most out of the Quattroporte Evo because the traffic stopped them making a clean run.
It was a different story in the races proper. Fittipaldi, true to his word, pulled out all the stops in Race 1. He drove spectacularly to close out 5th after starting on 9th. Cesari placed 12th, two spots up on his starting berth, and proved just how pacy and competitive he could be.
Race 2 was a tense affair. Fittipaldi closed out in a decent 4th, coming through a crash that damaged the front-left of his car. Mauro Cesari scrapped hard to come home 9th from 12th on the grid.
RACE 1: Fittipaldi outfoxes Liuzzi to climb from 9th to 5th.
With Kristoffersson leading from start to finish, Fittipaldi set off from 9th to mount a comeback. The Brazilian pulled off an eye-catching overtaking move on Pigoli that saw him earn 7th. Then came a battle with Liuzzi, which forced an error from his adversary, before taking 5th when Morbidelli retired. Cesari, lapping faster than in qualifying, climbed from 14th to 12th.
RACE 2: Fittipaldi finishes fourth after a scary bump for the Maserati
Larini collided with Fittipaldi at the start, a clash that saw the Evo come off with considerable damage to its front-left end. The car’s aerodynamics were compromised but the Brazilian managed to see out the race, one taken by an uncatchable Kristoffersson. Cesari climbed from 12th to 9th after a testing duel with Mugelli.