Ferrari Challenge Europe:
Day 1; Vladimir Hladik, Alexander Nussbaumer, Bjorn Grossmann and Chris Froggatt, all driving the 488 Challenge, were the winners of the first day of the Ferrari Challenge Europe at Silverstone, the second round of the 2018 season.
Coppa Shell. The day’s racing kicked off with the Coppa Shell, which started behind the Safety Car due to rain. This proved wise as demonstrated by poleman Jean-Claude Saada who spun with the 488 Challenge of Rossocorsa due to cold tyres, nullifying his great effort from the morning. Vladimir Hladik, an expert in wet, took first. As soon as the Safety Car was back in the pit lane, the Baron Service team driver set a pace of his own, gaining seconds on Manuela Gostner (Ineco-MP Racing), who in turn was just ahead of Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing) and Christophe Hurni (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne). Hladik’s lead never seemed in danger, not even when his nearest challengers outpaced him in their fight for podium positions. The Czech driver’s mastery of the race was evident on the last lap when, despite lapping Agata Smolka, he set the fastest lap time of 2:25:829. The fight for the podium concluded on the final lap when the experienced Scheltema, in his 196th Ferrari Challenge race, took advantage of Smolka’s lapping to pass Manuela Gostner. The Italian girl managed to stave off attacks from Hurni to stay in third for a well-deserved first career podium.
Shell Am. The Shell Am Cup class race was much more straightforward, with Alexander Nussbaumer winning a first career pole position with the 488 Challenge of Formula Racing, after which he stayed ahead of the pack and also set the fastest time in sector 3. Behind him on the podium were Ingvar Mattsson, winner in Race-1 at Mugello in the Scuderia Autoropa car, and Giuseppe Ramelli in the Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing 488 Challenge.
Trofeo Pirelli. The Trofeo Pirelli race took place in the second part of the afternoon. This race also started behind the Safety Car with Bjorn Grossmann and Nicklas Nielsen who, like at Mugello, took an easy lead over the rest of the group. Only this time it was the German of Octane 126 who led from start to finish, ahead of the Dane from Formula Racing, although the latter clocked up the fastest lap in a final attempt to overcome his rival. Third place went to Rossocorsa’s Enzo Potolicchio, for his 15th career podium in the Ferrari Challenge. Pirelli Am. The Pirelli Am saw an all-British battle with championship leader Chris Froggatt successfully passing his compatriot and Ferrari GB teammate, Jack Brown at the start and then holding onto first position throughout. Third place went to Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) ahead of John Sawbridge, another home driver. Sunday’s programme is the same, with races at 1:20 pm and 3:50 pm.
Day 2; Christophe Hurni, Ingvar Mattsson, Nicklas Nielsen and Chris Froggatt won on the second day of the Round 2 of the Ferrari Challenge Europe 2018 at Silverstone, UK.
Coppa Shell. The day once again kicked off with the Coppa Shell race, which offered lots of thrills and excitement. It was chaos at turn one with an accident involving Jean-Claude Saada (Rossocorsa), Manuela Gostner (Ineco-MP Racing), Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing), Rick Lovat (Octane 126) and Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing). The Safety Car was needed for four laps until the track could be cleared of damaged cars. At the restart Christophe Hurni immediately took the lead at the wheel of the 488 Challenge of Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne, followed by Race-1 winner, Vladimir Hladik (Baron Motorsport), and Erich Prinoth (Ineco-MP Racing). In the final stages of the race Prinoth was able to overtake the Czech rival and to get a seconda place that keeps the Italian at the top of the standings. After her accident at the start Manuela Gostner was the star of a great comeback: she was able to climb from last to seventh place saving a very difficult afternoon.
Shell Am. Sweden’s Ingvar Mattsson totally dominated the Shell Am class, leading from qualifying. The winner of Race-1 at Mugello beat Germany’s Alexander Nussbaumer (Formula Racing) and Per Nielsen (Baron Motorsport), who fought a race-long duel for second place. However, at the end Nielsen was penalised for overtaking during the Safety Car period, thus losing third place to Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing), who repeated Saturday’s placing.
Trofeo Pirelli. The Trofeo Pirelli race kicked off in the second half of the afternoon on a track that was dry but swept by strong gusts of wind. Nicklas Nielsen pulled off a phenomenal start. The Danish Formula Racing driver passed Saturday’s winner, Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126), on the first curve and started to lap very quickly, repeatedly clocking the fastest time. Behind the first two, the 488 Challenge of Henry Hassid (Charles Pozzi) and Sam Smeeth (Ferrari GB) fought a great battle. The British 2016 Pirelli Am champion tried everything, but in the end had to settle for fourth.
Pirelli Am. Once again, the Pirelli Am class saw an all-British fight: championship leader Chris Froggatt was given a hard time by his Ferrari GB teammate Jack Brown, who dominated qualifying. Starting from pole, Brown took advantage of Froggatt’s bad start, which saw him in fourth in the early laps before he set off on a frenetic comeback. Froggatt soon passed Denmark’s Christian Overgaard (Baron Motorsport) and Sweden’s Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) in pursuit of Brown. Froggatt overtook him eight minutes from the end, to make it an extraordinary double triumph over the weekend.
Round 3 will take place in two weeks at Spa-Francorchamps, as part of the European Ferrari Racing Days.