Taking a look at an amazing weekend at the Finali Mondiali in Monza
Finali Mondiali – The big Ferrari party takes place at Monza
More than 30,000 people flocked to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the final day of Ferrari Finali Mondiali, where the world titles of the four classes of the Ferrari Challenge were assigned and a great show staged involving almost 100 Prancing Horse cars. More than 50,000 people attended the circuit over the four days of the event despite the rain that disrupted the first races of the weekend.
The show. The last day of the Finali Mondiali saw the presence of Chief Executive Officer, Louis Camilleri, Managing Director of Gestione Sportiva, Maurizio Arrivabene, and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Enrico Galliera, who presented the awards to the new Ferrari Challenge world champions and then attended the Attività Sportive GT track show. The show started with four F60s Formula 1 cars driven by Marc Gené, Giancarlo Fisichella, Andrea Bertolini and Davide Rigon, who then also took part in the GT Competizioni part of the show with the 488 GTEs competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 488 GT3s of the International GT Open and Pirelli World Challenge. The official standard-bearers were joined by the F1 Clienti single-seaters and the cars of the XX Programmes as well as members of the Ferrari Owners Club. As well as the fans, there were also members of the Scuderia Ferrari Clubs and many Ferrari employees who came from Maranello.
Fabienne’s fairy-tale. The Ferrari Challenge has written yet another page in a unique story, with its first ever woman champion. Fabienne Wohlwend triumphed in the Trofeo Pirelli Am at the wheel of the 488 Challenge of Octane 126 for the best possible end to a season already full of satisfaction for the driver from Liechtenstein. The Trofeo Pirelli title went to the Dane Nicklas Nielsen after an exciting battle with home driver David Fumanelli, while the Coppa Shell and Coppa Shell Am races were won respectively by Switzerland’s Christophe Hurni and Sweden’s Ingvar Mattsson.
Nel paddock. On the final day, the paddock was literally invaded by fans and tifosi who got the chance to see the entire road range, as well as 40 legendary cars whose names are inextricably linked to the history of Monza and the new Ferrari 488 Pista Spider and Monza SP1 and SP2. For 10 lucky employees from Maranello there was also the unforgettable experience of a hot lap in a 488 GTB of the Corso Pilota alongside one of the Competizioni GT drivers.
Finali Mondiali – Nicklas Nielsen and Fabienne Wohlwend world champions
Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) claimed the Trofeo Pirelli Championship and Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126) was the first woman to ever claim a World Final championship at the final race of the 2018 Finali Mondiali.
Dramatic Start. Thirty seven cars lined up to contest the thirty minute sprint to the championship, but a number of cars were eliminated before even arriving to Turn 1. Light car to car contact sent Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) spearing left and into the Armco, rebounding back across the track before finally coming to a rest at pit-out. The chaos collected a number of cars, particularly from the North American continent and caused the race to be red-flagged while repairs to the Armco barriers could be enacted.
Restart. As the red flag had come out before any cars could take a full lap, a double file re-start was again called for. David Fumanelli (Rossocorsa) moved up to the lead as pole sitter Bjorn Grossman (Octane 126) was forced into the pits and retired. David was able to withstand a strong attack from Nicklas Neilsen in the opening corner, but that battle was far from settled. In Trofeo Pirelli AM, Fabienne maintained her lead with a bit of a cushion from second place Renaldi Hutasoit (Ferrari Jakarta) in the form of another Trofeo Pirelli car. Further back in Trofeo Pirelli AM, Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) and Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) began another battle that would last all race, separated by only a few tenths.
Second Safety Car. The on track action would be put on hold a second time by a high speed incident on the front straight that sent them careening at high speed through the first chicane and into cars exiting on the other side. This brought out the second safety car period of the race, with 16 minutes remaining. It would take another 8 minutes to clean the resulting debris.
Restart and Finish. At the re-start, the battle between David Fumanelli and Nicklas Nielsen resumed almost immediately. But it was not until there were only two minutes to go that Nicklas was able to make the decisive move. On the approach to parabolica, Nicklas faded left before juking right. The move seemed to catch David unawares as he opened his hands in surprise. The small adjustment was all that Nicklas needed to power through. While the two both over-ran the first chicane, David had to give back his advantage. In Trofeo Pirelli AM, Fabienne maintained her advantage over Renaldi, but the true battle was for third place as Ross Chouest continued to pressure Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa). But the American was unable to take his place on the podium, falling behind the Sweede by just two tenths of a second.
Finali Mondiali – Christophe Hurni Dominates Coppa Shell Finali
Christophe Hurni (Team Zenith Sion – Lausanne) took the championship in Coppa Shell with a lights to flag victory. As overcast skies rolled in over the Temple of Speed, Christophe made a perfect start and held his lead into the first chicane.
Dramatic Opening Lap. The Coppa Shell category was interrupted by a single safety-car period when two incidents required clean-up on the opening lap. The first predictably occurred in the first chicane when two mid-pack cars came together at the end of Monza’s long main straight. Some additional door banging involving Erich Prinoth (Ineco – MP Racing) and another car in the same chicane caused a bit of bodywork to begin to rub on Erich’s tire. The Italian soldiered on, at speed, but the tire predictably let go just prior to the Ascari chicane, leaving a significant amount of debris and fluid on track.
Tippl Attempts Fight Back. The safety car period was a bit of a gift for Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills). Thomas was swamped at the start, falling from the front row to 4th by the time the safety-car was called. Once the race got back under way, Thomas was able to set a sequence of fastest laps, earning third position with a daring pass down the inside into the parabolica with 15 minutes to go and set about hunting down Tani Hanna (Scuderia Lebanon). The APAC driver held his own despite an overly optimistic move from Thomas, again into the Parabolica that did not stick.
Final Laps. With Christophe well and truly clear of Tanni, it seemed the race would resolve without great drama with Christophe leading Tanni, leading Tippl to the line. On the final lap, however, Tanni made a mistake into the second chicane and ran wide. The paved run-off ensured he was able to rejoin quickly, but the week’s rain and humidity meant that the run-off was wet. The resulting loss of grip meant that he was virtually defenseless against Thomas who seized the moment to take the inside line at the first Lessmo. Forced off of a dry line that had formed, Tanni became a passenger and spun into the gravel trap outside Lesmo 1. This promoted Manuela Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing) to the third and final step on the podium.
Finali Mondiali – Mattsson is the Coppa Shell AM World Champion
Ingvar Mattsson (Scuderia Autoropa) claimed the World Championship in Coppa Shell AM, staying clear of a hectic race that saw multiple incidents as cars battled for the remaining steps on the podium. Run under blue skies and dry conditions, the twenty seven Coppa Shell competitors put on quite a show to open the Finali Mondiali at the Temple of Speed.
The champion. Ingvar Mattsson drove a flawless race, but it was not without its moments. Most important was the first corner on the first lap when Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing) made a lunge in the first chicane, and briefly took the lead. He sustained the lead through the opening period when a safety-car interrupted the proceedings for a first lap incident in the first chicane. Ingvar would regain the lead on the restart, a move that would prove decisive.
Battle for second. The battle for second, however, raged throughout the race. Murat fell back into the clutches of John Megrue (Ferrari of Long Island) and Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa) who swapped positions numerous times, each leveraging the miscues of the other to gain advantage. Murat in particular put up a spirited defense, taking second place back from John Megrue, however the American driver returned the favor with only five minutes to go. Murat’s attempt to regain his advantage ultimately cost him as he went off circuit and lost a significant amount of time and positions, finishing in 21st overall.
Final lap. With Murat now out of contention, the battle raged between Agata Smolka, John Megrue and Alexander Nussbaumer (Formula Racing). Intense competition at the front had both allowed Ingvar some breathing room and brought some lower placed cars into contention for the podium. In a crazy sequence of corners, John Megrue found himself in fourth, just behind Alexander. As the two exited the Ascari Chicane, John was able to close the gap and lunged down the inside. The two made contact and spun with John able to rescue the car and cross the line first. A post-race inquiry confirmed that John was in the right and Alexander had simply turned in on the American.
Challenge Europe – Hurni Claims Championship, Fumanelli wins at home
David Fumanelli (Rossocorsa) survived a late charge from Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) to win the final race of the European Series of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. While early showers left the track soaked for the start of the race, the sun finally showed itself in the second half of the race. Competitors made use of the extra grip to set faster and faster lap times, but to the detriment of their treaded Pirelli tires.
Trofeo Pirelli. David Fumanelli led from lights to flag at the Temple of Speed, but his path to victory was far from easy. Tricky wet conditions generated several spins in other categories, but he survived a critical restart and began to establish his lead over the rest of the field. Further back, however, there was drama as Louis Prette (Formula Racing), starting second, was soon demoted to fourth at the expense of Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126) and Nicklas Nielsen. Tha Dane was on an absolute tear and forced his way past Grossmann past the midway point in the race and set to work chasing down David. His chase, however, ran out of time, as a last gasp move into the Parabolica on the final lap was thwarted by corner entry oversteer.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Chris Froggatt (Ferrari GB – H.R. Owen) took victory in an exceedingly tight battle with Jack Brown (Ferrari GB – Graypaul Nottingham) that ended up with the two cars separated by only 0.18 seconds at the conclusion of the race. While Chris was able to largely drive from the front, Jack Brown had to make several audacious overtaking maneuvers, passing Christian Overgaard (Baron Motorsport) for second place. Christian ultimately fell down the order, finishing in fourth in the category but behind several Coppa Shell cars. Tommaso Rocca (Rossocorsa) completed the podium in third position but was later penalized and so Christian Overgaard took the last step of the podium.
Coppa Shell. Christophe Hurni (Team Zenith Sion – Lausanne) claimed the final Championship within the European leg of Ferrari Challenge after his chief challengers were unable to achieve the requisite result. Manuela Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing) took the win and the Ladies Cup in Coppa Shell in a wild race where any one of five drivers could have won. In what was a tight battle all race, the Gostner sisters traded positions with Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport), Erich Prinoth (Ineco – M.P. Racing) and Eric Cheung (Formula Racing). Ultimately, it was Manuela, followed by Ernst, followed by Erich respectively on the podium.
Coppa Shell AM. Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing) took his second win of the weekend, beating out Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa) and Igvar Mattsson (Scuderia Autoropa). The three did battle for the duration of the race, but ultimately Murat was able to lead from the front while his pursuers had to settle for the positions that they started in.
Challenge NA – Ross Chouest Wins Dramatic Trofeo Pirelli AM Championship – Hites Takes Overall Win
Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) claimed the last undecided championship in the North American series with his third place finish in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category. As the sun fell on the Monza Temple of Speed, the North American circuit was able to fit slicks and use them to their full affect in the 30-minute sprint. The sun had long set by the time the last of the champagne was sprayed as the podiums of all three classes reveled in a well-enjoyed season.
Trofeo Pirelli. Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) elected to sit out the final race of the year, having already secured his place at the top of the championship rankings and saving the car for the Finali Mondiali on Sunday. This left the field open for Peter Ludwig (Wide World Ferrari) and Benjamin Hites (The Collection). A jump-start, however, meant that Peter had to serve a drive-through penalty, leaving Benjamin Hites to claim the win. James Weiland (Boardwalk Ferrari) and Jean-Claude Saada (Boardwalk Ferrari) rounded out the podium.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. By far the greatest drama and greatest stakes of the race were found in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category. Rob Hodes (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Washington) had to recover a three-point deficit to Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach), and thus had to finish ahead of him on the road to claim his championship. After Ross was able to eeke ahead, Rob made a mis-judged move into the first chicane and made contact with Ross causing him to spin. The stewards ruled that this was avoidable conflict and Rob had to serve a drive through, ending his championship ambitions. John Boyd (Ferrari of Denver) took second and Rob was able to salvage the bottom step of the podium.
Coppa Shell. Mark Fuller (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Westlake) took the win over Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills), passing the Coppa Shell champion on the track in the waning laps of the race. Chis Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills) made the podium an all Scuderia Corsa affair, claiming the third step.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Simon (Cauley Ferrari) did an excellent job to finish 9th overall and first in the Coppa Shell AM category, just four seconds off of Thomas Tippl and Mark Fuller’s pace. Ted Giovanis (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Washington) claimed the second step while John Megrue (Ferrari of Long Island) took third.
Challenge APAC – Prette Wins Trofeo Pirelli Championship in Chaotic Race
Philippe Prette (Blackbird Concessionaires) took the race win and the championship in a chaotic race that saw multiple changes for the lead. The sunshine that began in the European race continued and a true dry line emerged, allowing the APAC series to finally run on slick tires.
Trofeo Pirelli. A race long battle for supremacy gripped the front of the APAC field as Alex Au (Blackbird Concessionaires) and Philippe Prette did battle, virtually from the off. The Italian started from the lead and maintained his advantage through the first chicane but the Hong Kong driver was never far behind. Despite missing the braking for the first chicane with 20 minutes to go, he was soon again at Prette’s bumper and finally made a move stick a few minutes later. That was not the end of it, as Prette was able to execute a pass with five minutes to go. It would prove to be the pass for the championship. Alex went off in his pursuit and so was unable to mount another challenge. Go Max (M Auto Hiroshima) rounded out the podium in third.
Coppa Shell. Tani Hanna (Scuderia Lebanon) took the win after a dramatic moment early in the race. The Lebanese driver spun, but thankfully had enough of a cushion that he was able to continue without any negative affect. He was followed by Kazuyuki Yamaguchi (Cornes Osaka) for his first podium of the weekend and Tiger Wu (Modena Motori) followed them home in third.
Coppa Shell AM. Newly minted champion, David Dicker (Continental Cars NZ) took his second win of the weekend, having worked his way there after starting a bit further back on the grid. David was followed to the finish by Kent Chen (Modena Motori), the pair finishing over 11 seconds apart. Kent started second and ultimately maintained that position. Grant Baker (Continental Cars NZ) also maintained his position, starting and finishing third. Polesitter Alex Wu ultimately fell out of contention, falling to fourth at the finish.
Schedule. This race concluded the Asia Pacific leg of the Ferrari Challenge.
Murat Cuhadaroglu Claims Championship Under Sunset at 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 Lous 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 Fabiennne 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.