Imola - ITA

Race-2 : Fittipaldi's Maserati deals with an early scare to finish fourth

It was another action-packed race for Maserati in the second International Superstars Series race at Imola.

Christian Fittipaldi, in the Quattroporte Evo fielded by the private Swiss Team, managed to come home fourth despite being caught up in an early collision. The damage to the front left of his car was considerable but he battled on. Mauro Cesari, Fittipaldi's team mate, also did well to close out in ninth after starting from twelfth.

Everyone thought that Fittipaldi would have to call it a day after the accident. In the bunch on lap 1, the ex-F1 driver was rammed by Andrea Larini in the Romeo Ferraris Mercedes C63 AMG. The Mercedes was then ploughed into from behind by another car causing Fittipaldi to career into one of the cars in front of him.

Even with the aerodynamics on his Quattroporte Evo shot, the Brazilian somehow managed to stick with the leaders. On lap 3, he was holding fifth behind Andrea Boffo, in the Roma Racing Team C63 AMG, Sini's Chevrolet Lumina, from Solaris, and Gabellini and Biagi in the Dinamic BMW E92s.

On the next lap, an irresistible Johan Kristoffersson in the four-wheel drive Audi RS5 from Audi Sport Italia overtook Fittipaldi. The Audi had already pocketed Race 1 and went on to record its second win of the weekend. Still, Fittipaldi kept fifth when Sini retired. The Brazilian drove on the very edge trying to defend his position from Larini, completing some eye-catching controlled skids along the way. The tactic was working but then Larini made his C63 AMG's bigger engine count on one of the straights to overtake.

The Brazilian went on to fight off the repeated attacks launched by Thomas Schoffler in the Audi Mtm Motorsport RS5 to eventually finish fourth behind Kristoffersson, Biagi and Boffo. His placing came courtesy of overtaking Gabellini at Tosa and technical problems slowing down Larini.

Cesari, Swiss Team's other driver, also had a lively race. He took ninth spot after his one-on-one with Max Mugelli's Caal Racing C63 AMG ended when the Mercedes blew its front right tyre.

So, the Swiss Team Maserati Quattroporte Evo ended the second round of the International Superstars Series with decent placings. This weekend was Fittipaldi's first in what is a very competitive championship while Cesari is still learning after making his track debut in 2007; he only began driving the Quattroporte Evo this year.



Race-1 : Fittipaldi stars in Race 1

Christian Fittipaldi promised that things would be very different in the race and so it turned out.

In the second round of the International Superstars Series, at Imola, the Swiss Team driver steered his Maserati Quattroporte Evo into 5th spot. Fittipaldi did brilliantly to climb through the pack from 9th place in what was his first outing in the car and in the FG Group-promoted series. Mauro Cesari, in the team's other car, finished 12th, two positions up on his qualifying slot as he displayed his competitive edge.

The race was an exciting one. Johan Kristoffersson, started on pole in his four-wheel drive Audi RS5 from Audi Sport Italia, and took an early lead. Tracking him closely was Andrea Larini's Mercedes C63 AMG, from Romeo Ferraris, Gianni Morbidelli in another official RS5 from Emilio Radaelli's outfit, and by Biagi in the BMW M3 E92 from Dinamic.

Fittipaldi easily shook off Thomas Schoffler, in the third RS5, to move into the slipstream of Max Pigoli, seventh in the team Ferlito Jaguar XF/R5.0 S/C. The Brazilian wasted no time attacking the Jaguar ahead of him and swept inside at Ravizza on lap 4. Even though Pigoli tried to shut him out, Fittipaldi held his nerve, kept his foot on the gas, and edged past.

Up front Morbidelli had moved into second and was going at it with his team mate, Kristoffersson, while Fittipaldi had closed in on Vitantonio Liuzzi and his C63 AMG. With the Brazilian turning up the heat on him, the Caal Racing driver cut across turn 2 at the Variante Alta in an attempt to hold onto sixth. Still, he didn't have the advantage for long as Fittipaldi went on to cruise through at Rivazza.

With the clock running down, there was not much else for Fittipaldi to try but he moved up another spot when Morbidelli's bid for first ended in retirement: the oil cooler on his car was damaged, spilling oil onto his right front brake. With flames starting to emerge from his car, he had no option but to pull out. So, the Swede ended up crossing the line with his bumper hanging off. Behind him came Larini, Biagi and Francesco Sini, in Solaris' Chevrolet Lumina. Swiss Team's Fittipaldi came home an excellent fourth.

Cesari also made progress on his qualifying display even though he did not have an easy time of it. At the start he was powerless to hold off the more powerful C63 AMG driven by Max Mugelli for Caal Racing and dropped a place. With the Mercedes ahead of him and Ananda Mikola's potent Jaguar XF/R5.0 S/C tailing him, Cesari was boxed in. His rival in the Jaguar had the edge in the straights but the Maserati struck back in the curves. Then, once Mikola had pulled out, Mugelli overtook Meloni, followed by Cesari. With the track opening up ahead of him, Cesari improved his lap time to 1'51"977 - to better his qualifying lap - and crossed the finish line in 12th.