Larini Escapes Start Melee To Score First Superstars Win

by Peter Allen
Superstars Mugello - Photo Credit: Superstars Media

Bettini (left) eliminated Biagi (second left) and Zurcher (lead), while Larini (behind) escaped with the lead - Photo Credit: Superstars Media

Andrea Larini took his first win in the International Superstars Series after escaping a first corner shunt in the first of the two Mugello races.

The Dinamic BMW duo of Thomas Biagi and Sandro Bettini started the race from the front row, but it was debutant Camillo Zurcher who used the brunt of the engine in his Mercedes to take the lead heading down into turn one.

Gentleman driver Bettini had a poor start but at the braking point for turn one he swerved into the Mercedes of Larini to his left. Bettini then clattered into his teammate Biagi, who in turn collected Zurcher as he spun. With Zurcher, Biagi and Bettini all in the gravel, Larini scampered away into the lead, seemingly sustaining little more than cosmetic damage from the initial contact from Bettini.

The safety car was scrambled for to clean up the wreckage, with the Audi of Gianni Morbidelli also eliminated after Bettini had rolled back onto the track and into the path of the oncoming traffic.

Larini built up a good margin over Johnny Herbert at the restart, and although the Maserati Quattroporte reeled the Mercedes man back in, Larini, the younger brother of former F1 and WTCC driver Nicola, held on to win.

Vitantonio Liuzzi held third place in his Mercedes early on, but came under pressure late on from the sole remaining Dinamic BMW of Stefano Gabellini as well as points leader Johan Kristoffersson, driving the Audi RS5 that had dominated the previous two rounds but was now being made to run heavier and with an air restrictor.

Both eventually managed to get by the ex-Formula 1 ace, with Gabellini clinching the final podium spot. Max Pigoli was sixth in his Jaguar, ahead of the Chevrolet Lumina of Francesco Sini.

Indonesian Ananda Mikola grabbed eighth and the reverse grid pole in his first race in a Roma Racing Team Mercedes, having previously raced the Jaguar at Imola. But that was only after he had punted Max Mugelli out of seventh on the penultimate lap, the Italian having run fourth behind teammate Liuzzi earlier on before slipping back.

Paolo Meloni took ninth, with Mauro Cesari tenth in the second of the Maseratis.

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