Andrea Bertolini wins 2011 Superstars Series with Maserati Quattroporte Evo

We'll forgive you if you haven't heard of the Superstars Series. It's only been around since 2004 (the International category since 2007) and all of the races take place in Europe – in fact over half took place this season in Italy. But similar to other national touring car championships – Germany's DTM, Japan's Super GT and Australia's V8 Supercars come to mind – the Superstars Series packs some serious racing machinery.

Take the Maserati Quattroporte EVO, for example. If that sounds badass to you, just look at the thing, because it is. It's based, of course, on the Trident marque's four-door model, which is already desirable enough on its own, but has been race prepped with an extreme wide-body kit and all the trimmings. It's the car with which Andrea Bertolini – a long-time Ferrari and Maserati factory driver who took the FIA GT1 championship in the MC12 he helped develop – and his Swiss Team just clinched the championship.

It's the first time that a Maserati has won the series title, previous champions having raced cars based on the BMW M3, Audi RS4 and Jaguar S-Type R. The formula calls for V8 engines, no turbos, based on four-seaters with two doors or four, and the rest of the field is made up of everything from the Chevy Lumina (a rebadged Holden) and Cadillac CTS-V to the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Porsche Panamera S. All in all, ten marques are represented, but this year Maserati was crowned champion of them all. Check out the machine with which they did it in the high-res image gallery and the press release after the jump.
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Bertolini crowned Superstars champion with his Maserati Quattroporte EVO
14/10/2011 - Vallelunga

A stunning double win on the Vallelunga track in the International Superstars Series gave victory to Swiss Team's Andrea Bertolini in his Maserati Quattroporte EVO.

The Modena-born driver adds another trophy to his cabinet almost a year after winning the FIA GT1 World Championship in the Maserati MC12. Proof, if it were needed, that Bertolini and Maserati have a winning partnership. It is worth noting that over its long and award winning lifetime, this is the first racing title captured in the Maserati Quattroporte, placing it amongst the historic ranks of Maseratis which have triumphed both on road and track.

Bertolini seized victory in the Superstars Series in the very last race of the season (on Sunday 9 October), staging a glorious comeback against Luigi Ferrara (Mercedes AMG C63) and Alberto Cerqui (BMW M3 E92), who enjoyed advantages of 20 and 9 points respectively on the eve of the race at Vallelunga. But Bertolini soon bridged the gap with his double win, notched up after taking pole position in the qualifying rounds on Saturday afternoon.

Everything went Bertolini's way in the morning sunday race, which saw him take the lead from the first bend. He also recorded the fastest lap, earning another crucial point for the standings. Maserati's domination was made even more emphatic thanks to Alessandro Pier Guidi, Bertolini's Swiss Team team-mate, who took second place.

In race two, Bertolini had to fend off Gianni Morbidelli (Audi RS4), who made a last-gasp attempt at victory, challenging the Modenese driver for the lead. Also on the podium was the other Swiss Team Maserati driven by Pier Guidi. Luigi Ferrara, who encountered mechanical problems during the trials, failed in his attempt to defend his position, while Cerqui and Biagi, the other two drivers vying for the title, failed to give the Maseratis any real worries.

The result was nonetheless suspended for several hours due to an appeal lodged by the CAAL Racing team against the Modenese car. After the necessary checks, the race officials confirmed Maserati's win as legal, only for Luigi Ferrara's team to make a further appeal against their decision. At this point, the National Court of Appeal must decide on the matter, which will thus be investigated in the near future. Bertolini is champion of the International Superstars Series 'sub judice', pending appeal.

Andrea Bertolini: "It's totally amazing! I live for racing and my aim is always to win. It's almost a year since I won the FIA GT1 championship and this season I've changed team, format and car. I spent the winter working hard, focusing on one thing only: doing everything I could to win this championship. Now I've succeeded, but it's down to a huge team effort. I always dedicate my first wins to my family but this time I want to add Guido Bonfiglio too (Swiss Team manager) and the whole team. It was a tough championship for us because we raced one weekend fewer than our rival teams. It's true that there were some difficult moments, but we managed to remain focused throughout. We did really well in terms of managing the situation and putting pressure on our rivals. We're used to risking everything for victory in the last race, which is why we didn't make any mistakes. Now we have to put this win behind us and start working towards next year's championship, where all eyes will be on us".

Alessandro Pier Guidi: "I joined Swiss Team with the championship already underway, nonetheless I'm really pleased with the results we've achieved and I would certainly draw up a positive report. I had some lucky and some not-so-lucky moments, but what matters is that we never for a second failed to be competitive. I'm happy for Andrea and for the team, for the title we've taken. I'd like to thank Maserati and Swiss Team for their hard work and support. Next year I'll try to do even better".
The prize-giving ceremony is scheduled for the next motorshow in Bologna, on Sunday 4 December.

RACE 1
1 Andrea Bertolini - Maserati Quattroporte EVO
2 Alessandro Pier Guidi - Maserati Quattroporte EVO + 3.992
3 Alberto Cerqui - BMW M3 E92 + 5.409

RACE 2
1 Andrea Bertolini - Maserati Quattroporte EVO
2 Gianni Morbidelli - Audi RS4 + 0.538
3 Alessandro Pier Guidi - Maserati Quattroporte Evo + 5.150

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS FINAL STANDINGS
1 Andrea Bertolini - 178 points
2 Luigi Ferrara - 165 points
3 Alberto Cerqui - 163 points