Photo: Superstars

Michela Cerruti wins and takes championship lead

Michela Cerruti made history in the opening round of the International Superstars Series, claiming her first career win in the series which makes her the first woman to win a race in the history of the championship.

After leading both free practice sessions, Cerruti conquered the third spot of the grid on Saturday. During the first race she brought her Mercedes C63 AMG up to second, as poleman Max Pigoli won the opening round of the season.

Luigi Ferrara completed an all-Mercedes podium, after a spectacular race in which he climbed up to third from 16th on the grid. The Caal Racing driver finished the race ahead of 2010 champion Thomas Biagi, who retained the fourth place he had conquered in qualifying.

Series rookie Alberto Cerqui had an interesing fight with Motorzone’s Armetta, claiming a good fifth in his first race in the series. The Italian was followed by his team-mate Gabellini and Armetta, as Romagnoli, Benedetti and former F1-star Johnny Herbert rounded up the top ten. Andrea Bertolini looked very strong in the new Maserati Quattroporte, but had to go back to the pits on lap 9 and retired from third.

At the start of the second race Pigoli and Cerruti took the lead, with the pink Mercedes defending from Andrea Chiesa’s Maserati. Ferrara took a fantastic start and climbed up to fourth, moving up to third at the end of the first lap as he passed Chiesa.

As Armetta went back to the pits for a drive through due to a collision with Campos Racing’s Tutumlu, Ferrara passed Cerruti and started chasing Pigoli for the lead. The Caal Racing driver managed to pass Pigoli, who had to retire later due to a puncture.

With just two minutes to go Ferrara hit a kerb and had to finish the race with a damaged suspension. Cerruti took the lead and thrilled the 24,000 people who were attending the race by spinning at the Ascari corner while downshifting. The lady retained the lead, challenged by Ferlito Motors’ Sini, who did not manage to pass her.

Cerruti took her first win in the Superstars Series, followed by Sini and Andrea Chiesa. Romagnoli came fourth ahead of Cerqui, Gabellini, Bettini and 2010 champion Biagi. Benedetti’s Cadillac and Ferrara’s damaged Mercedes rounded up the top ten.

Michela Cerruti now leads the championship with 35 points, ahead of her team-mate Max Pigoli. Alberto Cerqui is in third, 19 points shy of Cerruti. Sini and Ferrara are fourth with 15 points ahead of Romagnoli and Biagi, tied up in sixth with 13 points.

The Superstars Series resumes in four weeks time in Valencia.