Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Superstars: Audi Sport Italia and Gianni Morbidelli gear up for Portugal



Audi Sport Italia Press Release

Audi Sport Italia and Gianni Morbidelli gear up for the challenges of the long hauls


Audi Sport Italia and Gianni Morbidelli travel to Portugal for round 9 and 10 of the 2013 International Superstars Series riding on the coattails of a double 1-2 win at Zolder. They both know that it's impossible that things go their way as they did in Belgium: to start with, the Pesaro-based driver will not have a team mate this weekend -- as for the first time this season the four-ring Superstars operation will have a lone RS 5 involved --. Moreover insane clashing schedules will force the team owned by former rallying co-driver Emilio Radaelli to stretch thin its resources. On the same weekend, besides the Camozzi-liveried RS 5, two GT3 R8 LMS ultras will be fielded at Imola, which hosts an Italian Gran Turismo race meeting. As the latter is supported by the domestic importer the precedence in allocating resources will go to GT3, but this does not mean that the Audi Sport Italia camp will relinquish any will to fight, just the opposite: they're ready to use the runner-up spot as a springboard to improve in the tables. However -- as it's common in motorsports that more often than not things may crop up that alter plans even in ideal condition -- being forced to a plan-B for both the Portuguese and then again the forthcoming Donington Park meeting is something that team and driver would have been keen to avoid. 

But these are the cards and Morbidelli and his lean squad are ready: as a matter of fact the Portuguese venue even looks a good playing field, on the paper. Unfortunately the former F.1 driver will have to toil with 60 additional kilos that came along his Zolder's twin victories. Moreover the Series’ Tech Bureau has levied to the lone four-wheel-driven car a provision that will have the V8 engine fitted with a 85-mm air restrictor, something that Morbidelli and Vanthoor were indeed spared in Belgium.

Surprisingly, tables' provisonal leader Thomas Biagi and title contender Vitantonio Liuzzi offered little resistance to title-chasing Morbidelli at Zolder, taking a back foot even to fellow AMG Mercedes drivers. But for all the C63s the ride heigth set for the initial rounds has been restored, and this may well help them on the flowing lines of the Algarve racetrack. BMWs and Panameras, which are renowned for having an asset in their chassis, may well spring up to the top of the standings, especially on Saturday. But the lone Audi driver has not made his mind only to sit on his position throughout the weekend waiting for others to experience problems. Moreover this meeting also has an added value: scoring points towards both the International and the Italian Superstars standings.

Int'l drivers points standings after 8 rounds:
1. Thomas Biagi  119 points,
3. Giovanni Berton 91 pts.,
4. Vitantonio Liuzzi 90 pts.,
5. Luigi Ferrara 71 pts.,
6. Andrea Bacci  42 pts.,
8. Francesco Sini 32 pts.,
9. Fabrizio Giovanardi 31 pts.,
10. Max Mugelli  27 pts.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia