Hungaroring - HUN

Klien among the leaders in the Quattroporte Evo

The Maserati Quattroporte Evo showed just how competitive it was in the first track session at the Hungaroring.

In round five of the FG Group-managed International Superstars Series, the car was one of the quickest in the first free practice session and set the second fastest time in session two. Klien came sixth in qualifying but this was down to a qualifying set of tyres that were not set up 100%. Still, he proved that he was pacy and this bodes well for the races to come.

In the driving seat was Christian Klien after agreeing terms with the Swiss outfit only on the eve of the event. This meant that he turned up at the Hungaroring without any test sessions under his belt.

The Austrian is in the Swiss Team Quattroporte Evo previously driven by Mika Salo, Christian Fittipaldi and Johnny Herbert. Choosing ex-F1 drivers in part of Swiss Team’s policy this season as it seeks to attract attention and add to the already exciting International Superstars Series. Last year the squad run by Guido Bonfiglio took the title courtesy of Andrea Bertolini.

Klein felt at home in the Quattroporte Evo right away. In qualifying the Austrian could have done even better if he had been more familiar with the car and not modified the tyre pressure. Klein went safety first in what were, admittedly, sweltering conditions, with the track temperature reaching 54°.

Mauro Cesari, Swiss Team’s other driver, didn’t have such a happy time of it. He had to pull out of the second free practice session with a broken bevel gear. No-one expected this particular part to go as it had only recently been replaced and had not run many miles. As Cesari had to skip qualifying too, he will line up at the very back of the grid in both races.

Both Swiss Team drivers will have to go for it in this fifth round. Things will be very tight. The four-wheel drive Audis, the lightweight BMWs (helped by the regulations), and the Mercedes driven by Vitantonio Liuzzi, in pole, will be right up there challenging. The C63 AMG’s performance was a bit of a surprise. Everyone thought that the car’s more powerful engine would not suit the medium-fast Hungaroring, with its wide curves, S sections and rapid changes of direction, because the car is not that sprightly.