Monza – The clouds broke to reveal a glorious sunset while the first day of racing action at the Finali Mondiali concluded with Race 1 of the European leg of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. The largest grid of the weekend at 39 cars took to a track that started wet and remained wet for the entire 30 minute run-time.
Trofeo Pirelli. Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) demonstrated once again why he is the Trofeo Pirelli Champion in Europe. Despite starting further down the grid, by the end of the first lap he had regained his leadership position, and by the time it came to the finish, he had established a 12 second gap to second and third. Thankfully, second and third provided race-long drama as Formula Racing’s Jens Liebhauser and Louis Prette had a race-long fight. The battle was not decided until the very last lap and the very last corner when Jens held off his challenger through Parabolica. The final gap was only eight tenths of a second.
Trofeo Pirelli Am. Chris Froggatt (Ferrari GB – H.R. Owen) continued his impressive run of form, winning the Trofeo Pirelli AM category without too much trouble over his nearest competitors. He led home Jack Brown (Ferrari GB – Graypaul Nottingham) and Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa). Trofeo Pirelli AM polesitter Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126) was shuffled down the order and ultimately finished fifth in the category but did capture the Ladies’ Cup with her performance.
Coppa Shell. Christophe Hurni (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne) took an important win in Race-1, holding of his chief championship antagonist, Eric Cheung (Formula Racing) by seven and one-half seconds. The result had critical championship implications as Christophe was only 7.5 points ahead of Eric going in to the weekend. Today’s victory extended his points margin and will make his race on Saturday much less stressful. Christan Kinch (Gohm Motorsport BB) took the final step on the podium.
Coppa Shell Am. Laurent De Meeus (Ferrari GB-H.R. Owen) claimed his first win of the season on the back of an excellent performance at the Temple of Speed. Surviving a consistently damp race, he was able to claim victory with very little margin to spare. His nearest competitor in the Coppa Shell category was only 1.9 seconds behind. That nearest competitor was Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing), who was able to turn second place into a championship victory in Coppa Shell-AM. Dusan Palcr (Scuderia Praha) advanced well from the 18th row on the grid to finish third in the category.
Schedule. The European leg of the Ferrari Challenge will conclude tomorrow, starting at 9 for qualifying, and concluding with Race-2 at 12.55.