Kristoffersson Claims Superstars Title At Chaotic Pergusa Finale

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Johan Kristoffersson - Photo Credit: Superstars

Johan Kristoffersson emerged as the 2012 International Superstars Series champion after a frantic couple of races at the season finale Pergusa.

The Swede led the standings coming into the weekend ahead of rival Vitantonio Liuzzi, but started the opening race down in 14th on the grid after his previously-dominant Audi RS5 struggled in qualifying due to success ballast preventing it from taking as much kerb as its rivals.

He would end up finishing the opening race in fifth though due to a high attrition rate, coming home just two spots behind Liuzzi and retaining a lead of six points going into the final race.

After claiming a shock pole position on his first weekend in the series, Raffaele Giammaria drove to victory in his Romeo Ferraris Mercedes C63 AMG. Max Pigoli had run second in his Ferlito Motors Jaguar for much of the race before he stopped, promoting Francesco Sini into second. Sini had previously benefited when his new teammate at Solaris Motorsport Simone Iacone pulled off on the opening lap.

Liuzzi had fellow CAAL Racing Mercedes driver Andrea Bacci finish just behind him, while Kristoffersson was some 1m18s behind the winner after fellow Audi driver Gianni Morbidelli allowed him through into fifth.

Luigi Ferrara ran third until hitting trouble on the last lap, only just managing to crawl across the line in seventh. Christian Fittipaldi spun out on his return in the Swiss Team Maserati, while Thomas Biagi was another of those whose car failed to make the finish.

Race two saw Giammaria fight his way through from eighth on the reverse grid to record a remarkable double victory, but the real drama surrounded the contest for the title.

Kristoffersson started a couple of places ahead of Liuzzi on the grid, and although he held him off initially the former F1 man soon found his way past. Things then got a whole lot worse for Kristoffersson though, as he was wiped out by an out-of-control Nico Caldarola in his Mercedes coupe, sending Kristoffersson hard into the tyre wall.

Once the damage was cleaned up, Liuzzi was up to third behind Giammaria and Ferrara, with Bacci having retired to the pits. Liuzzi had Iacone on his tail, but was released when Iacone came under pressure from, and eventually succumbed to, Andrea Larini.

Larini chased after fellow Mercedes driver Liuzzi, out-braking himself at a chicane, cutting across the gravel trap on the inside and then seemingly losing control as he rejoined the track in front of Liuzzi. Liuzzi was forced off and blocked by Larini’s stopped car, but did manage to get moving again. However, the front end of his car was damaged significantly and he was forced to retire to the pits, ending his title hopes.

That made Kristoffersson champion, having already secured top spot in the Italian and rookie classifications. It’s been a momentous year for the Swedish star, who has also won the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup titles in a busy 2012.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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