Morbidelli And Audi Double Up In Superstars At Donington

Gianni Morbidelli - Photo Credit: Superstars Series
Gianni Morbidelli - Photo Credit: Superstars Series

Gianni Morbidelli completed his dominant weekend in the International Superstars Series at Donington with a second victory in Race 2 after starting from eighth in his Audi RS5.

Romeo Ferraris Mercedes driver Andrea Larini started the day's second race from pole courtesy of the reverse grid, and successfully retained the lead while fellow C63 AMG driver Vitantonio Liuzzi moved into second.

The end of the first lap saw a coming together at the Melbourne hairpin that left Max Pigoli's Jaguar stranded on top of Stefano Gabellini's BMW, while Liuzzi's teammate Max Mugelli was also involved.

During the subsequent safety car, Larini visited the pits in need of attention under the bonnet, but was able to rejoin onto the back of the train.

When the race got going again, Liuzzi led ahead of Thomas Biagi, but benefiting from the drop-outs and up into third and fourth were Johan Kristoffersson and Morbidelli, whose Audi RS5 car had been quite clearly the class of the field all weekend.

Biagi made a mistake under braking at McLeans that caused him to run through the gravel and drop down the order, handing second to Kristoffersson. The Swedish youngster had led the points coming into the Donington weekend after his double win last time out in Imola, but missed practice and qualifying on Saturday as he was busy successfully defending his Scandinavian Touring Car Championship points lead in Sweden.

Together with Morbidelli, Kristoffersson quickly caught Liuzzi, with both of them getting past at Old Hairpin. Two laps later Morbidelli drove down the inside of his teammate, who was powerless to defend.

The Italian crossed the finish line with an advantage of 3.4 seconds over Kristoffersson, with Liuzzi completing the podium some further ten seconds behind. Morbidelli's fastest lap of the race was 2.4 seconds quicker than that of Chevrolet Lumina driver Francesco Sini, who finished fourth and set the fastest time for a non-Audi driver.

Home heroes Johnny Herbert and Tom Onslow-Cole had been fighting over fifth place until an incident at the final Goddards hairpin on lap six saw Maserati driver Herbert fall to 12th, while Onlsow-Cole went off into the gravel at Redgate and out of the race at the start of the following lap, meaning a double non-finish for the BTCC ace on his Superstars debut.

BMW privateer Paolo Meloni benefited to take fifth, while Biagi and Herbert recovered during the second half of the race from their mishaps to come home sixth and seventh. Larini also recovered from his problems to cross the line eighth, only to be given a 25 second penalty. This meant that Andrea Boffo (Mercedes), Mauro Cesari (Maserati) and Nico Caldarola (Mercedes) completed the top ten.

Kristoffersson retains his lead in the points, 16 ahead of Biagi, with Liuzzi and Morbidelli a further five and six points back respectively. Mugello hosts the fourth round of the season on 3 June.