Superstars International Series 2012
ROUND 8, Pergusa: A thrilling finale
The final act in the International Superstars Series was worth the wait. The tension was in the air as the drivers played out the last round at the Sicily circuit. Going into the event, leader Johan Kristoffersson’s Audi was leading from Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Mercedes and Thomas Biagi BMW. After a topsy-turvy ride the title was eventually awarded to Kristoffersson.
The Swiss Team Maserati Quattroporte Evos also played a part in the action even though they were not in the title running. This year the Swiss team, having pocketed the 2011 Superstars crown with Andrea Bertolini, had opted to rotate a line up of ex-F1 drivers in one of its cars as a publicity bid. The team’s policy meant that the points total was a secondary concern.
At Pergusa Swiss Team once more fielded Christian Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi had already turned out at Imola, filling a role also taken by Mika Salo, Johnny Herbert, Christian Klien and Giancarlo Fisichella. In the second car was Mauro Cesari, the team’s regular driver. Cesari is improving all the time having only started competing in 2007.
Unfortunately, Fittipaldi crashed out early in Race 1; in Race 2 the Brazilian made up for things by taking fifth. His drive was all the more impressive as he came from the back of the field after his earlier KO. Cesari secured his best result of the season by taking eighth and sixth.
In the Team series, Swiss Team placed respectably in coming fourth out of the fourteen squads that took part in the series. Ahead of them were Dinamic (BMW), Caal (Mercedes) and Kms (Audi). The competitiveness of the team and its Quattroporte Evos was never in doubt, as Klien showed at the Hungaroring. The displays of Herbert at Mugello (2nd) and Donington (3rd) and Salo’s showing at Spa (3rd) proved this. Only crashes or mechanical problems denied the car a podium finish in the other races.
RACE 1: Fittipaldi’s comeback runs into the guardrail
It was a debut win for Giammaria in Race 1 as he led from start to finish. Pigoli troubled him to the very end but then rode a kerb badly and broke his suspension, leaving the door open for Sini to take second. It was a shame that Fittipaldi’s race ended as it did. He came back from thirteenth to seventh but careered into the guardrail after putting a foot wrong. On the plus side, Cesari did complete his comeback, from fifteenth to eighth.
RACE 2: Fittipaldi finishes fifth in an incident-packed race
Cesari, starting from pole as the grid is based on the inverted finishing order from Race 1 , was forced to give way to the bigger-engined and more powerful Mercedes driven by Bacci and Ferrara. Bacci then ran into technical trouble while Ferrara had tyre problems. This meant that Giammaria came from behind to steal the win. Kristoffersson and Liuzzi were rammed by Caldarola and Larini, ending their participation. Fittipaldi crossed the line in fifth with Cesari sixth.