Gianni Morbidelli returns Superstars winning ways


October 30 2012

Audi Sport Italia’s RS5s post 1-2 wins in both British rounds

Gianni Morbidelli returns to V8 Superstars winning ways in dominant fashion today at Donington Park

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 cannot 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. 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 runnerup 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.

Spa rain-soaked meeting confirms Audi RS5 as 2012 Superstars most winning car, as Gianni Morbidelli sweeps wins

Audi teams unpacked their haulers at Spa on Friday hoping for a change of fortune after a dismal outing in previous Superstars race meeting at Hungaroring.

The rain front hovering above Francorchamps throughout the weekend meant that this time out unlike the previous meetings the Audi camp didn't had to toil too much with weight ballast and air restrictor-choked engines as rain offset these hindrances and drivers were keenly able to squeeze the most from their quattro drivetrains, whilst rear-wheel driven opposition was left to struggle with the slippery tarmac. As it turned out teams were allowed to temporarily shelf their grooved-tyre inventory just once, on Saturday: after two wet free practices easily led by Johan Kristoffersson and Gianni Morbidelli, the latter grabbed his second 2012 pole position.

The former F1 driver edged Kristoffersson to make it an all-silver front row as racing lines were drying up in the sun. But on Sunday morning rain was back in full swing and the Audi Sport Italia star just had to wait a bit more than usual to make the most of his starting position and open up a gap over the field in the treacherous conditions. Behind Morbidelli the 23-year old Swede confirmed his speed keeping up with the leading Camozzi-sponsored Audi. Race 2 reversed grid lodged in the front row Mugello winner Andrea Larini alongside Schoeffer, whilst Morbidelli and Kristoffersson were moving from row 4.

They met opposite fates as Morbidelli took a blindly fast start, one that propelled him in P3 by Turn 3, whilst the KMS Audi was faultlessly caught in a melee at La Source corner alongside a couple of AMG Mercedeses. As the KMS RS5 had reached its pit Morbidelli had already grabbed P1, as he had aggressively moved past Liuzzi and Larini. Fearing rain could wind down soon triggering tyre wear, Morbidelli was poised to get a comfortable cushion over the opposition.

He was able to do so and as rain gained again strength in the second half of the race his fourth 2012 win wasn’t even threatened by tyre issues. Morbidelli’s second perfect weekend after Donington Park helped him to rally in the points standings to fourth, although 39 points behind leader Liuzzi.