Historic double hat trick for BMW Team Italy in Portimao
23.05.2011: Historic hat trick for BMW Team Italy in Portimao (Portugal) in the third round of the International Superstars Series.
A first positive signal came from qualifying held on Saturday with the pole
Historic hat trick for BMW Team Italy in Portimao (Portugal) in the third round of the International Superstars Series.
A first positive signal came from qualifying held on Saturday with the pole position of the very young Alberto Cerqui (1'51.174), just eighteen years old, who took his M3 BMW ahead of everyone with Thomas Biagi third (1'51.519) and Stefano Gabellini fourth (1'51.536).
Cerqui started race one in a perfect way and took the lead, followed by Biagi who was skilled in his turn while overtaking Bertolini (Maserati), and Gabellini fourth. The couple at the lead set a very high race pace: during lap seven the leadership changed into the reigning champion's hands and the positions did not change until the second-last lap when Gabellini moved into third completing a whole BMW Italy podium. Remarkably, the fastest lap of the race was set by Biagi during lap eight.
Team's drivers confirmed their supremacy in race two that saw Cerqui getting authoritatively the lead at the start before succeeding first to Bertolini's attacks and then to Biagi's, with Gabellini pushed down into sixth in the heat of the start. A
fter the retirement of Maserati's driver, Biagi and Cerqui progressively pulled away while Gabellini started a strong recover ended in lap twelve when he obtained the third place. The chequered flag welcomed the second hat trick of the day for BMW Team Italy which was enthusiastically celebrated by drivers on the podium.
Roberto Ravaglia (Team Principal):
"Today we achieved two historic results thanks to the great work done by the whole team and to the performance of our drivers on a circuit favouring BMW cars: Biagi confirmed himself at the highest levels, he did not make the smallest mistake and harvested two important victories.
Cerqui amazed everyone: despite this being his first time in Portiamo he secured the pole position and was very competitive in the races. He has very good potential and we are very happy to see him growing within our team. I also liked Gabellini's races, after a good qualifying he took his M3 BMW twice on the podium with great determination".
In the classification of the International Series, Biagi is now leading the way with 76 points, 10 clear of Luigi Ferrara (Mercedes); Gabellini is fourth at 52, while Cerqui is fifth at 48 as well as leader of the rookies classification.
The Superstars Series will be back on track next 5 June in Misano Adriatico in a round valid for the Italian Championship only.
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