Max Pigoli won the inaugural race of the International Superstars Series at Monza. The Jaguar driver finished ahead of Andrea Larini and Vitantonio Liuzzi in an action packed race, after controversially cutting the first chicane with three laps to go.
The start saw no major incidents, with Pigoli retaining his lead ahead of Andrea Larini, Tomas Biagi and Mika Salo. Gianmaria Gabbiani, who had to cut the first chicane on the opening lap, rounded up the top five. However the Jaguar was soon out of contention as Gabbiani made contact with Francesco Sini and was beached in the gravel at the Parabolica, while the Solaris Motorsport driver soon had to retire due to damages to his Chevrolet Lumina when he was under investigation for the contact.
Pigoli and Larini immediately started to fight for the lead as Biagi defended from Mika Salo and Andrea Boffo, who later dropped down the order. Meanwhile, at the end of the first lap, Vitantonio Liuzzi was already 11th after starting from the back of the grid due to a puncture in qualifying.
On the fourth lap of the race Riccardo Bossi crashed on the inside barrier of the Lesmo 1 bend, causing the Safety Car to be deployed. As the Safety Car was on track, Pigoli was leading from Larini, Biagi, Salo, Max Mugelli, Kristofferson and Liuzzi, who had gone up to seventh by this time.
At the restart Salo sent Mugelli into a spin, the latter dropping down the order before making contact with Boffo, causing the young Formula Renault champion to retire. Meanwhile, at the front, Larini started immediately to attack Pigoli for the lead, causing the pair to slow down and letting Liuzzi, now in third, Biagi, Kristofferson and Salo to catch up.
With three laps to go Pigoli cut the chicane, gaining an advantage which Larini wasn’t able to make up for. Biagi and Kristofferson battled it out for fourth until the very last meters, the Italian preceding the Audi Sport Italia driver just by inches.
The race was therefore won by Pigoli ahead of Larini and Liuzzi, who made his way up the field from the eleventh row of the grid. Biagi and Kristofferson came fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Salo and Morbidelli, whose differential seemed not to work at its best accordingly to the former Ferrari driver. Nico Caldarola, Paolo Meloni and an unlucky Max Mugelli rounded up the top ten.
Next race will start at 16.15 (CET), with Nico Caldarola on pole due to the reverse grid. Morbidelli will start from the front row ahead of Salo and Kristofferson.