Challenge Europe – Barcelona smiles upon Hurni, Nussbaumer, Nielsen and Froggatt
Ferrari 488 Challenge drivers Nicklas Nielsen, Chris Froggatt, Christophe Hurni and Alexander Nussbaumer won the first races of the Barcelona round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe 2018. Froggatt also sealed the Trofeo Pirelli Am title, the first to be decided this season.
Coppa Shell. The Coppa Shell race opened the day with Christophe Hurni (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne) warding off the attack of a rampant Manuela Gostner (Ineco-MP Racing) to hold onto the top spot he gained in qualifying. Fons Scheltema was third in the 488 Challenge of Kessel Racing. Further back, Erich Prinoth (Ineco-MP Racing) embarked on an ordeal that saw him lose positions and valuable points. Hurni sealed his third career win in the Ferrari Challenge Europe ahead of Manuela Gostner, who recorded her third second place finish. Behind Scheltema came championship leader Eric Cheung (Formula Racing), who still tops the standings albeit less than 10 points ahead of Hurni.
Shell Am. Alexander Nussbaumer pulled off a perfect race in the Coppa Shell Am: starting from second, the Formula Racing driver passed poleman Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing) and went on to win. However, the Turk has reason to celebrate as he now leads the championship standings courtesy of the retirement of Ingvar Mattsson (Scuderia Autoropa). Only 2.5 points separate Murat and Nussbaumer, now his closest rival. Third place went to Dusan Palcr in the 488 Challenge of Scuderia Praha, who did well to overhaul Malaysia’s David Lim (Formula Racing), who nevertheless achieved his career’s best result.
Trofeo Pirelli. The afternoon saw the Trofeo Pirelli race in which Danish driver Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) held onto first position at the start ahead of Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126). Behind them though all hell broke loose with rookie Oliver Grotz losing control of the 488 Challenge of Formula Racing and smashing into teammate Sean Hudspeth and John Sawbridge (Ferrari GB – HR Owen), both forced to retire. Nielsen won ahead of Grossman in second, while third place went to Jens Liebhauser (Formula Racing) followed by Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing).
Pirelli Am. In addition to Hudspeth, Grotz’s mistake at the start also knocked out John Sawbridge who waved goodbye to his run of consecutive finishes in the points. All this made it even easier for championship leader Chris Froggatt, whose only challenger was Jack Brown (Ferrari GB – Graypaul Nottingham). Third place went to Danish driver Claus Zibrandsen (Formula Racing) while a seventh win gave Froggatt, the season’s dominator, mathematical certainty of the title also courtesy of a crash that involved Scuderia Autoropa’s Martin Nelson and Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126). The race ended behind the Safety Car.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Nicklas Nielsen champion on dream day for Manu Gostner
Manuela Gostner became only the second woman to win a Ferrari Challenge Europe race, with victory today in Race-2 of the Coppa Shell. Murat Cuhadaroglu, Chris Froggatt and Nicklas Nielsen also won, with the latter sealing the 2018 Trofeo Pirelli title with a round to go.
Coppa Shell. In the Coppa Shell, polewoman Manuela Gostner, set off best and settled into the lead pursued by her Ineco-MP Racing teammate, Erich Prinoth, and Race-1 winner, Christophe Hurni. The Italian quickly established a solid lead over Prinoth who was caught up in a duel with the Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne driver, who passed him on lap 5. The battle for third was hard fought with Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing) passing Rick Lovat (Octane 126) to move into fourth and then overtaking Prinoth for third. Shortly after, Lovat also passed Prinoth, then forced to retire, and a mistake by Scheltema handed the Canadian driver third place on a silver platter. Manuela Gostner thus became the second woman to win a Ferrari Challenge race after Fabienne Wohlwend, victor in Race-2 at Imola in 2017 and then three times this season. Hurni’s second place is particularly valuable because it gives him the lead in the standings thanks to the withdrawal of Eric Cheung after a mechanical issue affected the 488 Challenge of Formula Racing.
Shell Am. Alexander Nussbaumer (Formula Racing) failed to repeat his win in Race-1 of the Coppa Shell Am against championship leader Murat Cuhadaroglu who fought tooth and claw to hold his position. Kessel Racing’s Turkish driver ceded first place at the start but immediately recovered to triumph ahead of Nussbaumer and Dusan Palcr (Scuderia Praha). Ingvar Mattsson finished in fourth, a long way behind his two rivals with only the Finali Mondiali at Monza, from 1 to 4 November, to go before the end of the season.
Trofeo Pirelli. In the Trofeo Pirelli, championship leader Nicklas Nielsen needed to finish ahead of Bjorn Grossmann to wrap up the title ahead of schedule, which the Formula Racing driver did easily enough, beating his Octane 126 rival. The race itself was overshadowed by two accidents that obliged the race officials to bring on the Safety Car twice. Third place went to Jens Liebhauser who beat Sean Hudspeth in a final sprint.
Pirelli Am. In the Trofeo Pirelli Am, poleman Jack Brown was quickly knocked out of the running by an accident involving Formula Racing drivers Sean Hudspeth and Jens Liebhauser. This left the way open for the 2018 champion Chris Froggatt (Ferrari GB – HR Owen) to notch up his eighth win of the season ahead of Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126) and Tommaso Rocca.