Ferrari Challenge Europe – Wins for Prette, Tabacchi, Hanna and Christensen
Louis Prette, Emanuele Maria Tabacchi, Tani Hanna and Peter Christensen all won in the first round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe held at the Sakhir circuit.
Trofeo Pirelli. The race, held under artificial light, was very hard-fought with lots of overtaking, in part due to the grid handicaps based on the results of Race-1. Louis Prette (Formula Racing) won ahead of Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) who passed Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage) in the final stages after completing a formidable comeback from fourteenth on the grid. The race was only decided at the last, when Prette performed a spectacular manoeuvre to pass Neubauer and when Alessandro Bonacini (Kessel Racing), in second position a few seconds before the chequered flag, lost his podium place after a heavy contact with a kerb that damaged a suspension arm. After crossing the line in fifth, the Italian driver ended up in fourth due to the five-second penalty levied on Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport) for a contact with Manuela Gostner.
Pirelli AM. Emanuele Maria Tabacchi pulled off an encore in the Pirelli AM category, having to recover from the back of the field due to the grid handicaps. The Rossocorsa driver moved into the lead halfway at the halfway point, also taking advantage of the many duels that kept the group bunched up. He then controlled the pace all the way to the chequered flag. Behind him came Jack Brown (Ferrari GB – Graypaul Nottingham), repeating his result in Race 1, and the Swede Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa). Fourth position went to Manuela Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing) who played a leading role in the race. After finishing third in Race-1, Christian Overgaard (Forza Racing) was fifth under the flag, ahead of John Dhillon (Ferrari GB – Graypaul Nottingham).
Coppa Shell. In the race held at dusk, Lebanon’s Tani Hanna (Formula Racing) enjoyed an authoritative win ahead of Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport) and Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport). By lap 8, the runner-up in Race 1 had used his faster pace to complete a fightback from seventh place. The race saw the entry of the Safety Car due to some contacts in the middle of the group and offered a thrilling finale with five drivers battling for the podium. At the chequered flag, Kinch reaped the rewards for his steadiness and Kirchmayr for his tenacity, having beaten off the attacks of Ken Abe (Formula Racing) and Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing). After Saturday’s accident, the Dutchman, rose from last position, thanks to a consistently face pace. US driver James Weiland (Rossocorsa), the winner of Race 1, retired.
Shell AM. Only two drivers made it to the line in the Shell AM category. In a real knockout race, Peter Christensen (Formula Racing) won ahead of Laurent De Meeus (Ferrari GB – HR Owen), who after an early collision only made it back on track and to the finish line thanks to his mechanics. Collisions knocked the other drivers out before the chequered flag.
Rankings and upcoming events. In the Trofeo Pirelli. Niccolò Schirò (37), Louis Prette (35), Sam Smeeth (27); in the : Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (44), Jack Brown (32), Christian Overgaard (21); in the Coppa Shell: Tani Hanna (38), Christian Kinch (28), James Weiland (23); Coppa Shell AM: Laurent De Meeus (32), Agata Smolka (23), Peter Christensen (21); Coppa Team: Rossocorsa (123), Formula Racing (110), Baron Motorsport (44).
The next round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe takes place on 29-31 March in Valencia, Spain.