As rookie Raffaele Giammaria scores two Superstars wins for Mercedes
Di Benedetto (Audi R8) and Benedetti (Corvette Z06) share GTSprint honours
The Sicilian racetrack of Pergusa, near Enna, provided a picture-perfect frame for the final round of the SUPERSTARS INTERNATIONAL SERIES. In an highly-spectacular Race Day, Swede Johan Kristoffersson clinched both the International Series and the Italian Championship titles plus the “Rookie of the Year” competition.
Kristoffersson had already clinched the Italian championship in addition to the rookie one by the end of Race 1, although he was leading by only six points in the International series’ standings. The crown went up for grabs in Race 2, and the Audi Sport KMS racer succeeded after an unexpected turn of events forced his main rival Vitantonio Liuzzi to retire. The Italian, fielded aboard a works-supported Mercedes C63 AMG for CAAL Racing, settled for second at the end of an exciting season-long battle. Kristoffersson did not have it easy though, as he was involved in a crash with Nico Caldarola (Mercedes C63 Coupé) and forced to follow most part of the race from the sidelines. At that point, Liuzzi only needed a top-5 position to seal the deal but it was not done yet. While Kristoffersson seemed unhopeful, a crash with fellow Mercedes man Andrea Larini put Liuzzi out of contention, trigger ing a surprising finale for 2012. Kristoffersson prevailed by just four points over Liuzzi, with Thomas Biagi scoring third place in the International standings and second place in the Italian ones. He also swept the “Rookie of the Year” competition and the longed-for 100.000-euro money prize for the 2013 SUPERSTARS season.
The two SUPERSTARS races were won by Raffaele Giammaria, who made an outstanding series debut aboard a Romeo Ferraris-prepared Mercedes C63 AMG. The roman provided his team with a perfect performance. In Race 1 he topped Pescara-based Francesco Sini, running with the Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Lumina and Liuzzi. In Race 2, the podium was rounded out by Luigi Ferrara, who also ran for Mercedes at his second 2012 comeback in the series, and Team BMW Dinamic’s Thomas Biagi, who battled with Simone Iacone for third. Eventually, the Chevrolet driver was penalized for making contact with Biagi and lost the final podium position.
With the overall title already in the hands of Andrea Palma (Ferrari 458 Italia), the last round of the GTSPRINT INTERNATIONAL SERIES featured two-brand new winning packages. In Race 1, victory went to the Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 driven by Davide Di Benedetto. The Sicilian racer topped Mario Cordoni (Ferrari 458 Italia – Ombra Racing) and Glauco Solieri (Porsche 997 – Autorlando). The GTS Cup Trophy win ended up in the hands of Domenico Guagliardo, who drove an Antonelli-prepared Porsche 997 to the class honours. On the other hand, Steven Goldstein (M-Racing) resisted to some mechanical woes and collected the points he needed to secure the category’s crown. In Race 2, a sensational battle involved the Corvette Z06 R of Roberto Benedetti (RC Motorsport) and the Porsche of Solieri, while Michele Merendino rounded out the podium for Audi. The GTS Cup class was won by Gianfranc o Bocellari, driving a Ferrari 430 for Kessel Racing.
SUPERSTARS Race 1 (top-5): 1. Raffaele Giammaria (Mercedes C63 AMG – Team Romeo Ferraris) 14 laps, 27’38”005; 2. Francesco Sini (Chevrolet Lumina – Solaris Motorsport) 5”988; 3. Tonio Liuzzi (Mercedes C63 AMG – Caal Racing) 46”581; 4. Andrea Bacci (Mercedes C63 AMG – Caal Racing) 48”814; 5. Johan Kristoffersson (Audi RS5 – Audi Sport KMS) 1’18”093.
SUPERSTARS Race 2 (top-5): 1. Raffaele Giammaria (Mercedes C63 AMG – Team Romeo Ferraris) 13 laps, 27’33”024; 2. Luigi Ferrara (Mercedes C63 AMG – Roma Racing Team) 11”213; 3. Thomas Biagi (BMW M3 –Team BMW Dinamic) 14”430; 4. Simone Iacone (Chevrolet Lumina – Solaris Motorsport) 15”079; 5. Christian Fittipaldi (Maserati Quattroporte – Swiss Team) 35”806.
INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES: 1. Kristoffersson 185 pts; 2. Liuzzi 181; 3. Biagi 161; 4. Morbidelli 128; 5. Sini 92.
CAMPIONATO ITALIANO SUPERSTARS: 1. Kristoffersson 124 pts; 2. Biagi 100; 3. Liuzzi 92; 4. Sini 72; 5. A. Larini 71
GTSPRINT Race 1 (top-5): 1. Davide Di Benedetto (Audi R8 LMS Ultra – Audi Sport Italia) 17 laps, 31’11”209; 2. Mario Cordoni (Ferrari 458 – Ombra Racing) 3”318; 3. Glauco Solieri (Porsche 997 – Autorlando) 4”263; 4. Mario La Barbera (Porsche 997 – Antonelli Motorsport) 58”865; 5. Mimmo Guagliardo (Porsche 997 – Antonelli Motorsport) 1’15”209.
GTSPRINT Race 2 (top-5): 1. Roberto Benedetti (Corvette Z06 R – RC Motorsport) 18 laps, 31’31”825; 2. Glauco Solieri (Porsche 997 – Autorlando) 0”922; 3. Michele Merendino (Audi R8 LMS Ultra – Audi Sport Italia) 31”823; 4. Gianfranco Bocellari (Ferrari 430 – Kessel Racing) a 1 giro; 5. Giuseppe Trinca (Porsche 997 – Antonelli Motorsport) 1 giro.
GTSPRINT INTERNATIONAL SERIES: 1. Palma 251 pts; 2. Cordoni 159; 3. Solieri 134; 4. Benedetti-Del Castello 133; 5. S. Pellegrinelli 90.
GTS Cup Trophy: 1. Goldstein 186 pts; 2. Bocellari-Delli Guanti 182; 3. Bagnasco 157; 4. Casè 101; 5. Galassi 80.
THE 2012 CHAMPIONS
INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES: Johan Kristoffersson | Audi RS5 | Audi Sport KMSCAMPIONATO ITALIANO SUPERSTARS: Johan Kristoffersson | Audi RS5 | Audi Sport KMSROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Johan Kristoffersson | Audi RS5 | Audi Sport KMSSTAR DRIVERS: Nico Caldarola | Mercedes C63 AMG | Roma Racing TeamTEAM: Team BMW Dinamic
INTERNATIONAL GTSPRINT SERIES
INTERNATIONAL GTSPRINT SERIES: Andrea Palma | Ferrari 458 Italia | Black TeamGTS CUP TROPHY: Steven Goldstein | Porsche 997 | M RacingTEAM: Black Team
DIVISIONSGTS2: Andrea Palma | Ferrari 458 Italia | Black TeamGTS3: Mario Cordoni | Ferrari 458 Italia | Ombra RacingGTS OPEN: Ennio Ricci e Angelo Schiatti | Porsche 997 | GDL Racing