Front row for Bertolini's Quattroporte Evo
Despite the penalty-handicap assigned after his win and second spot in the previous round at Valencia, Maserati's official driver managed to set the second fastest time. His display for the private Swiss Team squad, saw him earn a place on row 1 for the two races at Portimao. The single qualifying session decides the grid order for both races.
Bertolini stopped the clock at 1'51"174, just 0"156 off the time set by Cerqui's BMW M3 E92 that took pole. Another bonus is that Bertolini posted his time using both his two sets of available tyres for just one timed lap to keep them in good shape for the races.
Bertolini's performance in the Quattroporte Evo was even more outstanding considering the 50kg ballast imposed on the Maserati. The handicap was the highest of all the cars and costs almost 1” a lap.
The Quattroporte Evo showed that it was quick right from the two free practice sessions at Portimao when Bertolini set the fourth and second best times, respectively.
For Swiss Team, it was more confirmation of the great work carried out during winter to develop the Quattroporte. These improvements were made in collaboration with Maserati Corse and came after the previous two years in which the team had prepared the car alone.
Bertolini will not be able to push too hard in the races. The weight handicap will have an effect on his car, especially the tyres, and so he will be on the defensive.
The other Swiss Team driver, Andrea Chiesa, had a little more trouble and finished 13th. Chiesa’s position was not a surprise as the ex-F1 driver was new in the Quattroporte Evo. The car was finished just before the weekend and had still to be test-driven, something that was done in free practice and qualifying. The Swiss team’s decision to field two cars in this season’s championship was only taken after the series’ first round and once they had seen how competitive this year’s Maserati was.