- Audi Sport Italia’s RS5s post 1-2 wins in both British rounds as Swede points leader Johan Kristoffersson backstops the Italian driver success after brilliant comeback effort
The sky may have been grim over Donington Park, but definitely the Audi Sport Italia garage wasn’t, as RS5s sparkled this weekend at the historical Leicestershire venue taking 1-2 courtesy of Morbidelli and points leader Kristoffersson in both Race 1 and Race 2. Morbidelli definitely can not be blamed for holding his cards close to his chest throughout the meeting. The Pesaro, Italy-born driver topped the time charts in all available practice on Saturday, claimed both wins and moreover his Camozzi RS5 posted fastest laps in round 5 an 6 of the FG Group-run series.
After qualifying on the pole yesterday he led all the way with apparent effortless ease in the morning to score his first 2012 in front of Kristoffersson, ending his 2-year Superstars winless streak. The previous success for Morbidelli in an Audi seat dates back to the 2008 Valencia round. Race 2 was way more entertaining as both the Camozzi RS5 and the series leading Audi had to move from row 4 and challenged each other till lap 7, when Morbidelli took the lead for good.
The V8 Superstars Sunday at Donington Park had started in the morning with Morbidelli managing to enter first his RS5 at Redgate corner and just watching all the ensuing action from his mirrors, closing the opening lap with a 3.7s edge that proved to be the tiniest of the 17-lap race on the closest pursuer. It was up to Kristoffersson to provide most of the exciment, as the Swede had to move from the last row as a result of his clashing committment at Swedish venue Knutstorp, where he successfully fended off an attack to his STCC leadership — yes, leading there too — from the charging Chevrolet Cruzes. The additional challenge and the 60 kilos success ballast that he had to fit to his race car didn’t faze the driver from Arvika. On lap 1 Kristoffersson had already made up five spots, and two laps later the No 46 RS5 was breaking in to the Top10. It then took only as long as lap 7 to see his Audi snapping at the the back of the XF Jaguars which were then rounding up the Top3. On lap 8 the KMS driver went past both Tom Onslow-Cole and Max Pigoli to grab the runner-up spot, that he safely kept to the chequered flag.
Another Audi, the RS5 entered by MTM Motorsport, ignited another brilliant come back race as 18-year old Thomas Schoeffler dropped from the grid front row to the pit lane traffic light after his car refused to fire up just seconds before the green flag was waved. None the less the German quickly made up ground also posting a fastest lap that was only beaten by fellow Audi driver Morbidelli. On lap 13 Schoeffler sneaked back in P8, a spot that ensured he’d have the privilege to start from the front rows in race 2 — which has a mandatory reversed grid for the morning round Top8 finishers. However, Schoeffler didn’t call it a day and added another couple of overtaking manoeuvres to clinch P6. Sadly the starter felled his car just before Race 2 got going and the unlucky Schoeffler had to watch the event from the sidelines.
The early stages of Race 2 were hindered by a safety car period needed to remove three cars involved in a melee at the hairpin. When the green flag was waved Kristoffersson and Morbidelli could be spotted chasing the runner-up place then in the hands of former V8 Superstars champ Thomas Biagi. The latter’s BMW went soon wide while trying to fend off pressure from the KMS Audi. Then on lap 6 both RS5s went past the leading AMG Mercedes of former F.1 driver Tonio Liuzzi. That’s when Morbidelli could make the best of his Audi –which unlike the KMS RS5 wasn’t carrying any success ballast– and one lap of chase proved enough for him to study the moves of his fellow Audi driver, that the Italian overtook on the inside of McLeans corner on lap 7. Morbidelli then treated himself to the second fastest lap of day, to seal a perfect weekend that never saw the former Ferrari driver fall off the top of any available chart. Kristoffersson was more than happy with his runner-up position to cap a weekend that had him in the Top3 five times… commuting over the Northern Sea between Sweden and UK! The 23-year hold maintains a 16-point lead in the series on Biagi, who wound up in P6 in Race 2. Liuzzi is third, 21 point adrift of the Scandinavian driver and one point in front of Gianni Morbidelli.
INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES
Sunday May 20, 2012.
Round 5 – Donington Park, United Kingdom :
1. GIANNI MORBIDELLI (AUDI RS5) 17 laps, average speed 149.488 kph
2. JOHAN KRISTOFFERSSON (AUDI RS5) + 6.971
3. Johnny Herbert (Maserati) + 8.976
4. Thomas Biagi (BMW) + 9.997
5. Tonio Liuzzi (AMG Mercedes) + 13.980
6. THOMAS SCHOEFFLER (AUDI RS5) + 14.195.
INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES
Sunday May 20, 2012.
Round 6 – Donington Park, United Kingdom :
1. GIANNI MORBIDELLI (AUDI RS5) 15 laps, average speed 131.951 kph
2. JOHAN KRISTOFFERSSON (AUDI RS5) + 3.469
3. Vitantonio Liuzzi (AMG Mercedes) + 13.893;
4. Francesco Sini (Chevrolet) + 15.341;
5. Paolo Meloni (BMW) + 29.493.
DNS THOMAS SCHOEFFLER (AUDI RS5)
INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES 2012
Drivers points standings after 6 rounds:
1. KRISTOFFERSSON 85 points;
2. Biagi 69 pts.;
3. Liuzzi 64 pts.;
4. MORBIDELLI 63 pts.;
5. Larini 53 pts.;
6. Pigoli 45 pts.;
7. Sini 40 pts.;
8. Boffo 25 pts.;
8. Gabellini 23 pts.;
9. SCHOEFFLER 22 pts.
[Source: Audi Sport Italia]