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April 22nd, 2012
Johan Kristoffersson survived a late-race reliability scare to clean-sweep the second round of the 2012 International Superstars Series at Imola.
The rookie of the year contender backed up his race one win by taking the second victory of his short career in race two, although he came dangerously close to not making it to the flag.
Having started eighth (the top eight from race one having been reversed for the start of the second race), Kristoffersson carved his way through the field in the first 15 minutes of the race, eventually taking over the lead with six minutes to go.
But with just one lap remaining his Audi Sport RS5 started to smoke heavily from the exhaust, a serious oil leak putting the certain win in jeopardy. Rather than playing it safe and pitting, Kristoffersson stayed out, making it two wins from two starts and putting himself in pole position for the €100,000 prize on offer for the top rookie.
Thomas Biagi finished second, the Dinamic BMW driver having charged his way past polesitter Andrea Boffo with just three minutes to go. But with Kristoffersson’s Audi spewing oil all over the circuit, Biagi never had a chance of challenging for the win.
Boffo (Roma Mercedes) held on for third, the best finish in his short Superstars career, while Christian Fittipaldi (Swiss Team Maserati) and Thomas Shoffler (Audi Sport) rounded out the top five.
Tonio Liuzzi started well and was running third in the early stages, however his CAAL Racing Mercedes pitted with a gearbox problem on just the third lap of the race, and never returned to the track.
Gianni Morbidelli had a very eventful race. The Audi Sport driver was forced to start from the back of the grid after his last-lap DNF in race one, and looked set on forcing his way through the field in the opening laps. However, the stewards deemed he was a little too forceful, particularly while passing Max Pigoli, and slapped the former Formula 1 driver with a drive-through penalty. His day continued to go downhill when his RS5 suffered an engine failure just three minutes from the end of the race.
Francesco Sini was another driver to have his race ruined by a mechanical problem. The Solaris Chevrolet was right in the hunt for the win early on, but an engine failure left Sini out of the running on just the fifth lap.