Sicilian fans set for breath-taking race day action
The Superstars International Series featured a spectacular qualifying session on Saturday at Pergusa. Three different car brands shared the top-three at the fast Sicilian venue, hosting the final round of the 2012 season. The pole went to championship newcomer Raffaele Giammaria, who set a fastest mark of 1’42″589 to edge Jaguar’s Max Pigoli, running for Team Ferlito aboard an XF model.
Another rookie proved equally impressive: Simone Iacone lined-up on the second Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Lumina and ended up with a valuable top-3 position as all the top championship contenders faced unexpected trouble.
Current points leader Johan Kristoffersson, fielded on the Audi Sport KMS RS5, took only 14th while his main contender, Vitantonio Liuzzi, settled for seventh aboard his manufacturer-supported Mercedes C63 AMG. As a consequence, the title challenge has become even more unpredictable than expected. Thomas Biagi, campaigning a BMW M3 for Team BMW Dinamic, has not surrendered by any means as he’s determined to take full advantage of his championship chances on Race Day – Race 1 will be taking-off at 11:15 AM, followed by Race 2 at 16:15 PM.
In the GTSPRINT INTERNATIONAL SERIES, the pole ended up in the hands of the RC Motorsport stable. Roberto Del Castello and Roberto Benedetti will take-off out front in their Corvette Z06 while Andrea Palma, who clinched an early overall title at Spa-Francorchamps, paced the Black Team-prepared Ferrari 458 GTS2 to a front row position. Local racers Michele Merendino and Davide Di Benedetto were third overall with their Audi R8 LMS Ultra despite a late mechanical issue. Another newcomer from Sicily, Francesco La Mazza, scored fourth on the Black Team Ferrari 430 while Palermo-born Vittorio Bagnasco sailed to the GTS Cup pole with the GDL Racing Porsche. Race 1 of the GTSPRINT Series will take-off at 9:40 AM, followed by Race 2 at 14:45 PM.
In addition to all the weekend’s regular activities, a press conference was held to preview the return of international racing at Pergusa. The conference featured speeches from FG Group President Maurizio Flammini and Ente Autodromo di Pergusa President Tullio Lauria. A salute also came from Enna’s Mayor Paolo Garofalo and from Enna Province President Giuseppe Monaco. The conference offered a great occasion to reunite the series promoters, the track’s representatives and the local authorities in what has become a sensational comeback for top-notch car racing in Sicily.
SUPERSTARS INTERNATIONAL SERIES (top-5): 1. Raffaele Giammaria (Mercedes C63 AMG – Team Romeo Ferraris) 1’42”589; 2. Max Pigoli (Jaguar XF-R – Team Ferlito) 1’43”158; 3. Simone Iacone (Chevrolet Lumina – Solaris Motorsport) 1’43”562; 4. Andrea Larini (Mercedes C63 AMG – Team Romeo Ferraris) 1’43”649; 5. Thomas Biagi (BMW M3 E92 – Team BMW Dinamic) 1’43”915.
GTSPRINT INTERNATIONAL SERIES (top-5): 1.Benedetti-Del Castello (Corvette Z06 R . RC Motorsport) 1’41”822; 2. Andrea Palma (Ferrari 458 Italia – Black Team) 1’41”968; 3. Merendino-Di Benedetto (Audi R8 – Audi Sport Italia) 1’43”847; 4. Francesco La Mazza (Ferrari 430 – Black Team) 1’43”902; 5. Glauco Solieri (Porsche 997 – Autorlando Sport) 1’44”543.