Braselton GA (16 September 2018) – Hurricane Louise made landfall early on Sunday morning, ensuring a steady delivery of rain throughout the day. With drivers weighing championship implications and – for some – the upcoming transit to Italy for the Finali Mondiali, some elected to play it safe in the treacherous conditions. For those who braved the conditions, they were rewarded with a healthy haul of points that in some cases significantly affected their championship odds, and the satisfaction of competing at one of the fastest and most challenging circuits in the country in such treacherous conditions.
Trofeo Pirelli. The traditional competitive order was most affected in Trofeo Pirelli. What had been Cooper MacNeil’s (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) category, was utterly dominated by his closest rival, Peter Ludwig (Wide World Ferrari) by a final margin of 36 seconds. While the outcome was certainly affected by Cooper’s desire to keep things safe, his final finishing position of 4th was still surprising. Instead, Benjamin Hites (The Collection) and Christopher Cagnazzi (Ferrari of Long Island) took the remaining steps on the podium. Naveen Rao (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) pushed Cooper hard, but ultimately was not able to make the necessary impression.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) completed the double at Road Atlanta, winning the second race of the weekend after holding off Murray Rothlander (Ferrari of Vancouver) and John Boyd (Ferrari of Denver) in a race-long duel. All three drivers, however, demonstrated excellent restraint and respect with none of the overly aggressive lunges for position that could have so easily gone wrong on the slippery circuit. CHAMPIONSHIP IMPLICATIONS
Coppa Shell. Geoff Palermo (Ferrari of San Francisco) claimed his first win of the 2018 season, leading the way over Mark Fuller (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) and Chris Carel (Ferrari of Beverly Hills). While the latter two steps of the podium were typical for the season , Thomas Tippl’s (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) race was marked by a significant note of caution. Having secured the Coppa Shell championship in thoroughly dominant fashion, the rookie pilot decided to compete but to take things easy in the wet caution session and subsequent race – finishing in 5th and ending his streak of XX consecutive wins.
Coppa Shell AM. John Megrue (Ferrari of Long Island) took the win over Dale Katechis (Miller Motorcars) and Bradley Smith (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari South Bay) in a race that was marred by significant wrecks at the mid point and conclusion of the race – the first of which caused an extended red-flag period while clean-up was enacted. Fortunately in both cases, the drivers involved were just fine, though the concrete walls at the edge of the Atlanta circuit did no favors to the 488 Challenge cars involved.
458 EVO. Trevor Baek (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) and James Walker (Ferrari of Houston) put on the battle of the day as they were the first to navigate the treacherous conditions. While James consistently made runs forward and several times looked to the inside of Trevor on the approach to the high-speed turn 1, both maintained strong respect and excellent racecraft on their way to a one-two finish. So dominant was their pace that they lapped the entire 458 field at an average speed of 146.1 kph, 10kph faster than their nearest competitor. The podium was completed by Tony Ferraro (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale) who finished ahead of another epic scrap between Phil Trigiani (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale) and Bill Kemp (Ferrari of Palm Beach). As Martin Burrowes (Ferrari Ft. Lauderdale) secured the championship at the prior race on Saturday, he, along with several other 458 EVO drivers declined to take part in the wet race.
Fianli. Approximately 30 North American competitors will make the journey from Road Atlanta to the Fianli Mondiali in Monza, Italy. Racing action will be on the first weekend of November.