Max Pigoli drew first blood in the 2012 International Superstars Series by winning race one at Monza.
The Jaguar driver started from pole position and led every lap of the 30-minute race. But it was not as straightforward as that, with Andrea Larini pressuring the leader throughout the race, the final margin between the two standing at just 0.4 seconds.
Tonio Liuzzi finished third after what was undoubtedly the drive of the race. The ex-Formula 1 driver started on the 11th row of the grid thanks to a gearbox problem in Saturday's qualifying session. He charged through the field in the CAAL Racing Mercedes, finishing just 1.2s behind the leader.
Even more impressive was that Liuzzi was up to ninth by the end of the first lap, and sat in sixth when the safety car emerged mid-race after Riccardo Bossi hit the wall at the exit of the first Lesmo.
While Thomas Biagi finished fourth in the underpowered BMW, Johan Kristofferson was another big mover, proving the pace of the brand new Audi RS5 by coming from 14th on the grid to finish fifth. Gianni Morbidelli had a similar run through the field in the other RS5, coming from second last on the grid to finish seventh, with Mika Salo sandwiched between the two Audis.
Domenico Caldarola, Paolo Meloni and Massimiliano Mugelli rounded out the top 10.
Bossi's crash was not the only incident during the race, with the fast-starting Gian Maria Gabbiani and Francesco Sini clashing on lap one. Gabbiani ended up in the gravel, while Sini retired shortly after with a punctured tyre.
The second and final Superstars race of the weekend will be held later on Sunday.
Results - 13 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Max Pigoli Ferlito Jaguar 28m35.422s
2. Andrea Larini Romeo Mercedes + 0.414s
3. Tonio Liuzzi CAAL Mercedes + 1.243s
4. Thomas Biagi Dinamic BMW + 3.671s
5. Johan Kristoffersson Audi Italia + 3.699s
6. Mika Salo Swiss Maserati + 3.969s
7. Gianni Morbidelli Audi Italia + 7.010s
8. Nico Caldarola Roma Mercedes + 8.823s
9. Paolo Meloni W&D BMW + 24.276s
10. Max Mugelli CAAL Mercedes + 26.918s
11. Sandro Bettini Dinamic BMW + 31.037s
12. Thomas Schoffler Audi Italia + 34.137s
13. Walter Meloni W&D BMW + 43.780s
14. Leonardo Baccarelli Todi BMW + 46.135s
15. Marco Fumagalli Giudici BMW + 1m58.564s
Did not finish:
Mauro Cesari Swiss Maserati 9 laps
Stefano Gabellini Dinamic BMW 8 laps
Niccolo Mercatali MRT Chrysler 8 laps
Andrea Boffo Roma Mercedes 7 laps
Riccardo Bossi Giudici BMW 3 laps
Francesco Sini Solaris Chevrolet 2 laps
Gian Maria Gabbiani Ferlito Jaguar 0 laps
Simone Monforte MRT Lexus 0 laps
Francesco Ascani Todi BMW 0 laps