Competing in the third round of the International Superstars Series, at Donington, the ex-F1 driver’s race was far from straightforward but, in the end, he came through to finish seventh. Just two places further back was Swiss Team’s other representative, Mauro Cesari, who had also put on a fighting performance.
After securing a brilliant third spot in Race 1, for Race 2 Herbert was further down the grid (as the top eight positions are inverted for the second race). He was also nudged into a spin by Tom Onslow-Cole’s Jaguar XF/R5.0 S/C and dropped to the back of the field, a position from which he launched his comeback.
The private battle between Herbert and ex-champion Thomas Biagi, and his Dinamic BMW E92, was an engaging one. The duel lasted right up to the line with Biagi just edging it.
Mauro Cesari, ninth across the line, can be proud of his placing as he started from thirteenth on the grid. He has shown that he is learning all the time, given that he only took up competitive driving in 2007 and that this is his first drive in a car as competitive as the Maserati Quattroporte Evo.
Race 2 again showed how much of an advantage the Audi RS5 holds because of the balance of performance regulations. The cars have still not been evened out in terms of their displays on the track and changes must be made. Gianni Morbidelli and Johan Kristoffersson, driving for Audi Sport Italia and Audi Sport KMS, respectively, collected another one-two. Even though they lined up in eighth and seventh at the start, they were so much quicker that third-placed driver, Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi and his Mercedes C63 AMG, was 13"8 off the pace.
On his home track, the ex-F1 driver put on a great show in the private car from Swiss Team, a squad led by Giuseppe Angiulli. The Englishman started from fourth and negotiated the early stages of the race well in dodging the lively Jaguar XF/R5.0 S/Cs driven by Tom Onslow-Cole and Max Pigoli, how had started ahead and behind him, respectively.
Herbert moved up to third after the two team Ferlito drivers strayed off the track and Onslow-Cole damaged his suspension. On the downside, Johnny couldn’t hold off Johan Kristofferrson’s KMS Audi RS5. The Audi had missed qualifying and started from the back of the field but managed to finish behind the poleman, the super-quick Gianni Morbidelli in an Audi fielded by Audi Sport Italia.
All things considered, Herbert’s third place has to be viewed in a positive light given the embarrassing superiority displayed by the Audis at Donington. This imbalance was evident in previous races and is down to balance of performance regulations that fail to even out the cars. Changes need to be made soon.
Mauro Cesari, in the other Swiss Team Quattroporte Evo, didn’t live up to expectations in Race 1 after the problems he suffered in practice. Starting from 15th, Cesari lost ground at the off after Nico Caldarola, in the Roma Racing Mercedes C63 AMG, spun right in front of him. The Swiss Team driver had to step on the brakes to avoid him and lost 3-4 seconds. He then mounted a comeback but couldn’t better 13th.