The Maserati showed how competitive it was thanks to the work carried out by Swiss Team, under the stewardship of engineer Giuseppe Angiulli. The car’s form was mirrored by Herbert as he demonstrated he has what it takes to stick with the leaders.
The qualifying session at the Tuscan circuit was a gripping one and saw the lead change hands more than once. In all, eleven drivers were bunched within less than a second of each other. After topping the timesheet with 1'57"678 on his first fast lap, the experienced Englishman improved on it twice, clocking 1'57"783 on the next lap and 1"57"687 two laps after that. He did all this on just the one set of tyres, giving him two fresh sets for the two races. This puts him at an advantage as most of the other drivers have kept just one set aside.
It was only towards the end that Thomas Biagi and Sandro Bettini, making the most of the fresh tyres fitted to their BMW M3 E92s, and Camilo Zurcher’s Mercedes C63 AMG managed to get the better of the Quattroporte Evo. They outdid Herbert but the top four came within two tenths of each other.
This was Herbert’s second time out in the Quattroporte Evo and in the International Superstars Series. He last appeared in the FG Group-run series in the last round, at Donington. This was his first time in the Maserati berlina and he posted the fourth best qualifying time.
Swiss Team’s other representative, Mauro Cesari, had a harder time of it and couldn’t better the 17th best time. Cesari, from Spoleto, suffered from understeer in free practice and couldn’t get the most out of either set of tyres he tried out in qualifying.