Mugello - ITA

Maserati on the front row

Maserati has made the front row for the two races in the International Superstars Series at Mugello. In what is the seventh and penultimate round of the season, the Quattroporte Evo, fielded by the private Swiss Team, clocked the second best time in the qualifying session that decides both grids.

Alessandro Pier Guidi put in a great lap of 1'54"523, just three tenths down on Alberto Cerqui who took pole in the BMW M3 E92 from BMW Italia. The Maserati driver showed he meant business right from his first timed lap of 1'55"117 after his rolling start; he then posted 1'55"084 before setting his fastest time on lap seven.

Pier Guidi’s performance was not a surprise: the Swiss Team driver had been competitive in free practice and was quickest in session two with a time of 1'54"221. The lap was nine tenths lower than the next driver in the standings, Gianluca De Lorenzi and his Movistar BMW M3 E90.

Still, not everything went the Swiss squad’s way in qualifying. Pier Guidi could have clocked an even faster time if he hadn’t been held up by slower drivers and by the yellow flag that came out after a series of crashes. For Pier Guidi’s team mate, the session ended badly after an avoidable error by the team.

Maserati’s official driver had his time scrubbed off during the post-qualifying checks after officials noticed that the car’s control sensor had not been mounted properly. As the part does not have any influence on the car’s performance, it was an oversight by the team and one that the officials could not ignore.

For Bertolini, who lies second in the championship just 10 points off leader Luigi Ferrara and his Caal Racing Mercedes C63 AMG, the Tuscan round has not got off to the best of starts.

Bertolini had managed to put in the eleventh best time of 1'56"508 despite having a problem with his brakes and with a 60kg weight handicap on board – the heaviest allowed. This ballast was assigned after he collected a one-two in the previous round at Spa.

Bertolini faces an uphill struggle as he will have to start from the back of the grid in both races. It will be tough to pick up any points in such a competitive championship and with such combative rivals in the form of Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Jaguar and Mercedes.