Super Nova International had a challenging two Qualifying sessions on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria with drivers Michela Cerruti and Marcus Pommer qualifying sixth and tenth respectively.
Markus's pace was good in the first session when he set the second fastest time, just three-tenths off pole man (and Championship leader) Kimiya Sato. He was confident after the session that there was more to come in the second session and was therefore frustrated not to be able to take part because of an engine sensor problem.
Because Markus was unable to run in the "top ten shoot-out" second qualifying session, he was left tenth on the grid for Race One, while Michela's second session time put her sixth to start the first race.
Red Bull Ring Race One in Austria on Sunday morning saw Super Nova's Pommer start from the last row of the grid with team-mate Michela Cerruti starting ahead of him in sixth.
Michela made a good start as the lights went out and was looking to take fourth place as the pack raced to the first corner, however an impatient Giuseppe Cipriani misjudged his braking and he jumped the inside curb, ramming Michela's right rear tyre which pitched her into a spin. Michela was an innocent victim of an unfortunate racing incident, which resulted in her immediate retirement.
For Markus, Super Nova's strategy was to pit him early to minimise time loss and gain track position when the cars in front pitted later. Unfortunately a clutch problem resulted in a lengthy pit stop for the German, which scuppered the effectiveness of the team's strategy. Despite the delay, Markus was in a determined mood and he set a string of fastest laps as he fought through to finish an impressive fifth.
With the top eight finishers from Race One reversed for the Race Two starting grid, Markus started fourth. As Michela had been forced to retire from Race One she started from last place for the second race. As the field set off on the formation lap Salvatore De Plano and Shinya Michimi (who were to start tenth and third respectively) both stalled on the dummy grid, forcing them to start from the pit lane.
Markus was a little slow to react to the lights and lost a position off the line, but he recovered quickly and had good pace as he battled with Andrea Roda and Tamas Pal Kiss for position, however the technical problems that had plagued him all weekend forced him into retirement on the second lap.
Michela made a storming start, which saw her up to sixth place by the end of the first lap. The team again opted for an early pit stop strategy, which coupled with Michela's fast pace and consistent laps, rewarded the Italian with a fine third place.
Despite failing to finish the first race Michela still holds sixth place in the Drivers Championship, while Markus has dropped to fifth; eight points behind Giovesi due to his Race Two retirement. Super Nova maintains their Championship lead with a 28 point advantage over their nearest rival.
"After the bad luck from Race One I am really happy to have this podium!" Commented Michela. "It was a hard weekend for us so for sure we deserve this."
Team manager John Sears took a pragmatic view of the weekends challenges, "It hasn't been one of our better weekends, but I have no doubt that we'll bounce back at the next race where I am confident Markus and Michela will both be strong contenders."
The battle resumes at round seven of the Championship at Nurbergring on 16 August.