Imola Superstars: Tonio Liuzzi resists Gianni Morbidelli in rain
|By Andrew van Leeuwen||Sunday, September 29th 2013, 10:49 GMT|
Tonio Liuzzi won the first Superstars International Series race of the weekend at Imola, holding on to beat Gianni Morbidelli's four-wheel-drive Audi in atrocious weather conditions.
With the first 10 minutes of the race taking place behind the safety car, Liuzzi wasted no time making a break when the race was properly underway.
It took the Romeo Ferraris Mercedes driver just a lap to clear polesitter Luigi Ferrara's Roma Racing Mercedes, and once in front he set about controlling the race.
Morbidelli, meanwhile, was stuck back in the pack in his Audi Sport Italia RS5. Despite having superior grip, it took almost another 10 minutes for him to find enough space on the track to start eating into the gap to the leaders.
With seven minutes to go Morbidelli finally started a proper charge from fourth place, regularly lapping more than a second faster than the three Mercedes of Liuzzi, Ferrara and Thomas Biagi.
By the final lap Morbidelli was on the lead pack, and set about piling the pressure on title rival Biagi. In trying to keep Morbidelli behind him, Biagi managed to have a high-speed spin, and wound up beached at Piratella.
With Biagi out of the race, Morbidelli was able to cruise to second place and a 16-point championship lead.
Ferrara finished third, ahead of Davide di Benedetto in the second Audi Sport Italia RS5.
Giovanni Berton, Andrea Bacci and Max Mugelli survived the conditions to finish fifth through seventh.
Eighth place went to Francesco Sini and his Solaris Chevrolet, while Giuseppe Cipriani had a wild ride to ninth place in the third Audi, lucky to continue after hitting the wall during a mid-race spin.
Camilo Zurcher rounded out the top 10 in his Todi Corse BMW.
Results - 12 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Tonio Liuzzi Ferraris Mercedes 27m58.153s 2. Gianni Morbidelli Audi Italia +2.394s 3. Luigi Ferrara Roma Mercedes +7.695s 4. Davide di Benedetto Audi Italia +12.980s 5. Giovanni Berton Dinamic BMW +30.132s 6. Andrea Bacci CAAL Mercedes +37.610s 7. Max Mugelli Dinamic BMW +38.988s 8. Francesco Sini Solaris Chevrolet +39.315s 9. Giuseppe Cipriani Audi Italia +1m07.822s 10. Camilo Zurcher Todi BMW +1m15.224s 11. Alessandro Battaglin MRT Chrysler +1m15.898s 12. Gianni Giudici Giudici BMW +1m47.885s Retirements: Thomas Biagi Ferraris Mercedes 11 laps Leonardo Baccarelli CAAL Mercedes 9 laps Mauro Trentin Dinamic BMW 5 laps