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SUPERSTARS: Audi RS 5 at the Hungaroring


Hungary’s blistering hot tarmac melts away Audi drivers hopes to snatch fifth 2012 Superstars win

Johan Kristoffersson slips from series’ lead to third spot after unlucky retirement in race 2, Gianni Morbidelli’s RS5 retires twice during a Top3 charge, Thomas Schoeffler stubbornly grabs two Top10 finishes in spite of ailing car in both races

In theory Hungaroring twisty layout seemed to have what it takes to suit the features of the four-wheel-driven RS5, albeit these have been hindered by being levied a heavier minimum weight (100 kilos) and a restrictor plate fitted to the engine since the Mugello meeting. It was not meant to be so…

At the mid-season mark meeting, the unlucky spell continues unabated for Gianni Morbidelli, and the contagion also seems now to have spread to Johan Kristoffersson, who after race 1 was still championship leader but after having being felled in the formation lap by a faulty battery was leapfrogged in the box score by race 1 winner Tonio Liuzzi and former Superstars champ Thomas Biagi. He now trails Liuzzi by eight points. Nevertheless, the RS5 driver who looked more likely to claim the fifth 2012 Audi win at the Hungarian venue was Audi Sport Italia’s Morbidelli. After having his previous meeting wiped by a race 1 pileup at Mugello’s turn one, Morbidelli’s overhauled Camozzi RS5 did not see the checker at Budapest either, after being felled by engine trouble with three laps to go in race 1 — while rounding out the Top3 — and again in race 2 as he looked set to snatch the top spot from Camilo Zurcher’s leading Mercedes.

At the outset of Race 1 every Audi driver relinquished some ground from their respective grid position, as Morbidelli and Schoeffler –who were both on row 2–dropped to P5 and P7 respectively, whilst Kristoffersson briefly skidded outside the Top10. Morbidelli, who had had a bad start due to early misfire problems, on lap 2 managed to get past Christian Klien, zeroing in on a Top3 spot in spite of ongoing misfire trouble. A few spots down the order, fellow Audi drivers Thomas Schoeffler and Kristoffersson staged a nail-biting show. It was up to Schoeffler to do the heavy lifting in trying to dislodge the Team Romeo Ferraris drivers from their spots, but he also proved to be clever and brand-conscious enough to not shut the door on the Swede when the KMS Audi driver was on the brink of running wide in the heat of the fray. Therefore Kristoffersson moved to the front line in the hot duel with the AMG Mercedeses, whilst a few moments later a braking problem forced the MTM Motorsport driver to run off dropping down to P11. Kristoffersson did not hide his wish to give AMG Mercedes pair Andrea Larini and Camilo Zurcher a run for their money, which he did eventually moving past both. This battle was meant for P6 at the time, as the top spot as an Audi driver in the standings still belonged to Morbidelli, who had snatched P3 from local hero Norbert Michelisz on Lap 4, disappointing the hot and vocal crowd. The leading pair of Liuzzi and Biagi was not look seriously threatened by the Camozzi RS5: on contrary the Pesaro-based driver had his hands full with his own car, which on lap 10 forced him to slow down and then a lap later fell silent, leaving the Italian driver no choice but parking it in a safe run-off area. With Morbidelli sidelined Kristoffersson moved up one spot to fifth, and the championship leader highlighted his Sunday posting the race fastest lap with three to go whilst chasing Christian Klien’s Maserati. Schoeffler in spite of an ailing car suffering a leak from a rear brake line managed to claim a Top10 finish, an accomplishment that had deserted him since Imola.

Kristoffersson’s fifth place kept him still leading the series by eight points after race 1, but jinx struck when he fired up the engine on the reversed grid for race 2: an alarm flashed a warning sign on his dashboard and the battery died during his formation lap. The start was way better for fellow Audi drivers Morbidelli and Schoeffler. A first corner melee spread panic across the field and helped Audi Sport Italia’s entry to move up form 13th place to P8 at the end of the opening lap, just one spot in front of MTM Motorsport RS5. By lap 2 he had overtaken also the lone Maserati and Jaguar, also setting the race fastest lap at the time. Then a lap later he grabbed from Biagi P3, and rushed past the BMW to catch up with race winner Liuzzi. He did so the ensuing lap, and his Camozzi RS5 soon lurked behind Zurcher’s AMG Mercedes. But on lap 5 his spare engine was was struck by lightning and the Audi fell by the wayside. The lone RS5 survivor, Schoeffler, boldly battled a host of M3s, and on lap 7 he reached P5, his best standings this season as yet, but he was not meant to be a Top3 finisher, as a front damper broke down and the 18-year old German had to nurse a hobbling car just to make sure to get the full haul of points for the rookies championship, where’s trailing Kristoffersson. As Zurcher was eventually uphold a 25-second penalty for nudging a Jaguar off, Austria’s Klien picked up Maserati’s 2012 first win, and Liuzzi and Biagi finished in the order after a late-race tangle. The afternoon Top3 ensures that the former F1 driver is the third 2012 Superstars leader after Massimo Pigoli and Kristoffersson.

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES 2012
Round 9 – Hungaroring, Hungary
Sunday, July 1st
1. Vitantonio Liuzzi (AMG Mercedes) 14 laps, 27’05.669s avg. speed 135.822 kph
2. Thomas Biagi (BMW) + 0.539s;
3. Norbert Michelisz (BMW) + 3.544
4. Christian Klien (Maserati) + 5.935s;
5. JOHAN KRISTOFFERSSON (AUDI RS5) + 10.664s;
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10. THOMAS SCHOEFFLER (AUDI RS5) + 57.591
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13. GIANNI MORBIDELLI (AUDI RS5) – 3 laps

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES 2012
Round 10 – Hungaroring, Hungary
Sunday, July 1st
1. Christian Klien (Maserati) 15 laps, 27’20.926 avg speed 134.560 kph
2. Vitantonio Liuzzi (AMG Mercedes) + 9.777;
3. Thomas Biagi (BMW) + 12.098;
4. Franco Fumi (BMW) + 14.547;
5. Stefano Gabellini (BMW) + 16.574;
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10. THOMAS SCHOEFFLER (AUDI RS5) – 4 laps
DNF GIANNI MORBIDELLI (AUDI RS5) – 10 laps
DNS JOHAN KRISTOFFERSSON (AUDI RS5)

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS SERIES 2012
Drivers points standings after 10 rounds:
1. Liuzzi 120 total points;
2. Biagi 114 pts
3. Kristoffersson 112 pts
4. Larini 78 pts
5. Sini 71 pts
6. Morbidelli 66 pts
7. Gabellini 63
8. Pigoli 54
9. Herbert 36
10. Klien 32
11. Schoeffler, Meloni and Boffo 28

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