Race 2: One pole and two wins: what a triple!
After the pole position - which earned 1 point – came wins in Race 1 and in Race 2. Again it was Andrea Bertolini to take the chequered flag at the wheel of the Quattroporte Evo prepared by Giuseppe Angiulli’s Swiss Team.
With the Spa weekend wrapped up, Bertolini is now firmly in second spot, just 10 points off leader Luigi Ferrara and his Caal Racing Mercedes C63 AMG. At the difficult Belgian circuit, Andrea pulled off an amazing coup to make up for the disappointment of Misano. In the previous round, he was rammed by another driver, an incident that saw him fall from second to the back of the field. The clash also saw him slide into third overall.
Bertolini’s race was majestic. Starting on pole but with a 30kg weight handicap to deal with after his Race 1 win, the Maserati driver held off everything the Mercedes C63 AMGs could throw at him. He then built up an advantage that never dropped below 1.9 seconds over Massimo Pigoli, from Romeo Ferraris, the closest Mercedes driver. He then saw out the race, making sure that his tyres didn’t come in for too much stress. Bertolini was so much in control that when Pigoli closed in to within 1.9 seconds, the Maserati driver simply stepped on the gas to finish ahead of Pigoli and 7.6 seconds up on third-placed Luigi Ferrara.
Things did not go so smoothly for the other Swiss Team Quattroporte Evo driver by Alessandro Pier Guidi. Pier Guidi did brilliantly to hold off Ferrara, Bertolini’s direct rival, at the start. This inevitably meant that Pigoli snatched second spot. Pier Guidi then managed to move into second behind Bertolini but this didn’t last long as Pigoli, making the most of his car’s greater power, overtook the Maserati driver on the straight. Ferrara also did the same soon after thanks to the bigger engine that told on the climb through Eau Rouge – Radillon. Pier Guidi then went at it with Ferrara but soon had to throw in the towel with transmission problems.
In the end, Bertolini’s triple proved just how competitive the Maserati Quattroporte Evo is, even on demanding and tricky circuits like Spa. On tracks like this, having a well-balanced car in terms of weight and aerodynamics helps. This weekend’s results also show the benefits of the link-up between Swiss Team and Maserati Corse which, under the guidance Maurizio Leschiutta, has been supporting the development of the Quattroporte Evo since the start of the season”.
Race 1: Bertolini makes it five
For Maserati’s official driver, victory takes him back into second place overall behind Luigi Ferrara and his Caal Racing Mercedes C63 AMG.
Going into the race, Bertolini had openly declared that his only aim was a win. He would have to make up for the previous round at Misano when another driver collided into him in Race 1. Bertolini kept his promise even though things were a lot tougher than expected, both for him and his team mate, Alessandro Pier Guidi.
After Bertolini and Pier Guidi topped the timesheet in qualifying for both races, it was expected that the Swiss Team pair would take control of things and hold off their more powerful, bigger-engined Mercedes rivals.
Instead came the worst case scenario with the German cars sprinting away at the start and then putting their power into play along the Eau Rouge – Radillon climb and on the Kemmel straight. This meant that Herbert and his Romeo Ferraris C63 AMG took an early lead from Bertolini with Pigoli, the Englishman’s team mate, and Ferrara, overtaking Pier Guidi.
Bertolini was giving the ex-F1 driver a difficult time. Tracking him like a shadow, he feinted an overtake a few times. Pier Guidi was handing out some of the same to Pigoli, after Ferrara had got past him.
At the halfway stage, the battle between Bertolini and Herbert was really hotting up. Under pressure and with his brakes smoking at every turn, the Englishman made a mistake and cut across the chicane, slowed up and allowed Bertolini through so that he wasn’t penalised by officials. A little later, leaving his braking as late as he dared to keep Herbert and Ferrara off his back, the Maserati driver locked up the rear, careered off the track and tumbled into third. It was then Ferrara’s turn to stray of the track and then Herbert suddenly slowed up with an engine management problem.
Bertolini was now back in front and he went on to notch his fifth win of the season. Ferrara was second and Herbert third. For Pier Guidi, a short circuit on lap 7 brought an end to his race after the engine cut out. It was a shame as he had just pulled off a sweet overtaking move on Pigoli and was chasing down Ferrara.