Superstars International Series 2012 - Monza
ROUND 1, MONZA: More excitement with Maserati
The International Superstars Series kicked off at Monza with Maserati among the contenders. Having collected the 2011 title courtesy of the Quattroporte Evo, fielded in collaboration with Swiss Team and with Andrea Bertolini on board, Maserati confirmed its participation in this year’s FG Sport-run championship.
The top-drawer opposition, in the form of Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Jaguar and Mercedes, played a role in this decision but, this year, the marque opted for a less-direct involvement.
This season the entire operation will be looked after by the Swiss outfit, one headed by Guido Bonfoglio, with the engineer Giuseppe Angiulli looking after the technical side of things. Swiss Team was to compete with two Quattroporte Evos but the aim, in 2012, was to improve the championship’s brand image and make it more exciting.
With the title not an objective, the hotseat in the number 1 car was taken by a series of ex-F1 drivers. At Monza it was Mika Salo who got behind the wheel, a man with 111 GPs in his locker driving for Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota.
Mauro Cesari was in the number 2 car for the whole season; a gentleman driver who was getting better all the time and who was a Superstars veteran. Cesari was Italian champion in 2009 and came 3rd in the International series for drivers of cars that were at least four years old.
At Monza the season started off well. Even though he had never stepped into a Quattroporte Evo before, Salo managed to learn enough about it during free practice. He ended up on row two for the first event, with the fourth best time, and eventually crossed the line in sixth. In Race 2 Salo missed out on the podium with a broken suspension arm. Cesari’s car suffered the same fate in Race 1, something that was due to it riding the new, higher kerbs.
RACE 1: Salo’s podium hopes vanish with the safety car and he finishes sixth.
The entrance of the safety car in Race 1 of the International Superstars Series stopped the Maserati Quattroporte Evo from grabbing a certain fourth spot. A position on the podium was also within reach for the Evo in the season’s opening race at Monza.
RACE 2: Suspension problems halt Salo’s attack on leader Liuzzi
Salo moved into second, 2”7 off lead driver Liuzzi. The Finn closed the gap, setting the race’s second best time. Then, on lap nine when in the Mercedes’ slipstream and preparing to launch an attack, the suspension arm broke. The hitch opened the door for Liuzzi. Cesari finished tenth after failing to find the right set up.