Saturday, June 8, 2013

Superstars: Dismal Saturday for Audi Sport Italia at Slovakia Ring

Audi Sport Italia Press Release

Audi Sport Italia's first visit to Slovakia Ring has in store dismal Saturday for the team's Superstars Series drivers


Audi Sport Italia's two RS 5s will start from 7th and from 13th on the grid for tomorrows 5th round of the 2013 International Superstars Serie at Slovakia Ring, just a short drive from the Country's capital city, Bratislava. At the flat Slovakian venue there was no drag up the hill for the two Audis, as it had been the case at Brno, but the long straights sufficed as hurdles to be cleared for the choked powerplants of the German four-wheel-driven RS 5s, cars which also have to come to grips with a beefy mandatory minimum weight. Drivers Gianni Morbidelli and Nando Geri were quite aware of this, and therfore they've spent most of their Saturday eying their Sunday chances rather than fancing the unlikely dream of being a contender today. This afternoon the Pesaro-based driver was among the most conservative in making use of tyres, putting in 6 laps as polesitter Vitantonio Liuzzi chalked up 10.

Morbidelli, who earlier had finished 4th and 5th in free practices, had his first try spoiled by one of several red flags being waved at the Ring, and the best he could post on his Camozzi-liveried RS 5 was 2:11.291s, 0.433s adrift of then leader Liuzzi and 3 thousandths of a second away from Max Mugelli's BMW. By then the beefier Mercedeses and the swifter BMWs had Morbidelli's number, as Gigi Ferrara, series leader Thomas Biagi, Brno hero Giovanni Berton and even Fabrizio Giovanardi's Panamera managed to pip the former F.1 driver.

The qualifying session, though, was set to offer another fellow former F.1, Liuzzi, a chance to go into overkill mode, as the AMG Mercedes sedan shredded (2:09.552) then-pole position lap set by Ferrara's coupe by a whopping 1.084s, an achievement that was even more impressively as over half a second of his edge was built in Sector 3, which boils down to a corner and two straights.

Tomorrow's meme then will be to steer clear of trouble, especially near the guillotine-like chicane at the end of Sector 1. Tomorrow the field will be expected by marshalls hoisting yellow flags on a regular basis, but the area could still trigger armageddon on any given lap. Something that Morbidelli will keep in mind and even more so his team mate Geri, who at Slovakia Ring claimed his best Superstars starting position as yet, moreover the best available to drivers who are entered in the Star Drivers standings, which lists top notch amateurs.

Slovakia Ring, Qualifying :
1. Liuzzi (AMG Mercedes) 2:09.552;
2. Ferrara (AMG Mercedes) 2:10.636;
3. Berton (BMW) 2:10.683;
4. Mugelli (BMW) 2:10.784;
5. Giovanardi (Porsche) 2:10.857; 
7 . MORBIDELLI 2:11.291;
13. GERI 2:15.730.

Drivers points standings after 4 rounds:
1. Biagi 73 points;
2. Liuzzi 52 pts;
3. Berton 46 pts;
4. Ferrara 44 pts.;
5. MORBIDELLI 39 pts.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia