Melbourne, 16 March 2019 – Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific Series first round Race 1 opened at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix under clear blue skies with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius. After a clean start, the race saw some fierce battles with a few contacts that led to the intervention of the safety car early on in the race.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. All 21 drivers on the grid found the practice sessions on Thursday to be extremely important in helping them understand the street circuit with its fast and flowing course combined with extensive runoff in many corners. Although the track is not easy for overtaking, this didn’t stop Kazuyuki Yamaguchi (Cornes Osaka) from passing pole sitter Philippe Prette (Blackbird Concessionaires HK) and James Weiland (Ferrari of Cincinnati) at the start despite being from the Shell class. An incident in the middle of the pack with car 113 of Makoto Fujiwara (Cornes Tokyo) at Turn 3 brought out the safety car during lap 2 which tightened up the field. The race restarted after lap 5 and Weiland pushed hard to overtake Yamaguchi for the lead. However, he was unlucky when he had to retire off the track and could not finish the race. Go Max (M Auto Hiroshima) and Prette fought hard for the win during the remaining 5 laps but a contact between them resulted in Prette dropping three positions. Max triumphed in the end and Hector Lester (Zagame Melbourne) took the second spot. Prette managed to recover and came in third.
Coppa Shell. It was a fantastic race by Yamaguchi as he was unstoppable. There was a fierce battle between him and Weiland after the race restarted but the Japanese driver managed to keep his lead after Weiland ran into problems. Thereafter he lead the field and maintained his position right till the end. He was also the overall winner of the race. In second and third positions were David Pun and Michael Choi respective, both representing Blackbird Concessionaires HK.
Coppa Shell AM. Coppa Shell AM class had Kent Chen (Modena Motori Taiwan) as the first place finisher, followed by Baby Kei (Cornes Osaka). In third place was Min Xiao (CTF Beijing) from China. It was a comfortable win for Chen, who had a five second lead over his nearest rival Kei, while Kei faced fierce pressure from Xiao who was only two seconds behind. YanSheng Liang (CTF Beijing) was the winner of the Gentlemen Cup while Kanthicha Chimsiri (Cavallino Motors Bangkok) took the Ladies’ Cup.
Schedule. Track action for Race 2 of the Ferrari Challenge weekend at Albert Park continues tomorrow at 10.35AM local time.
Melbourne (Australia), 15th March – Both qualifying sessions took place under perfect weather conditions yesterday and today, with warm sunshine and cool temperatures. All the technicians, engineers and drivers were excited to start their races and took much care in preparing their cars for both sessions. The practice sessions on Wednesday helped them get acquainted with the track.
Qualifying 1. Philippe Prette from Italy, the 2018 Asia Pacific Champion, was determined to make an early impact in the 2019 championship series. His focus was rewarded in an solid performance that saw him claim pole position following an exciting and aggressive battle early in the race with James Weiland from USA and Go Max from Japan. It was a close battle as less than a second separate leader Prette, Weiland and Max. However Weiland had a five grid place penalty and will be starting in 7th position overall. In the Shell class, battle for pole was equally tight amongst the top three frontrunners. Japanese Kazuyuki Yamaguchi had to find his extra gear to stay ahead of his close rivals Vincent Wong of Hong Kong and Yanbin Xing of China, but managed to take pole position in his class at the end. In Coppa Shell AM class, Kent Chen of Chinese Taipei was racing along in first position for much of the session as close action took place between Jay Park of South Korea and Baby Kei of Japan. Although Park managed to qualify ahead of Kei, he had to start from the back for Race 1 due to some contact with another fellow racer and Kei stepped up to second position. Atsushi Iritani of Japan rounded up the top three positions.
Qualifying 2. Philippe Prette once again had a blistering qualifying round that allowed him to be in pole position for Race 2 on Sunday. Hector Lester of Ireland managed to qualify ahead of James Weiland with less than half a second separating them. The Irish man with previous experience at the Albert Park circuit will be the one to watch starting off the front row on Sunday. In the Shell Class, Yanbin Xing had a good start and managed to keep pace till the end of the session to be in pole for his class. Michael Choi from Hong Kong and fellow compatriot David Pun rounded up the other 2 positions. In the Shell AM class, Jay Park after a less than perfect start in Qualifying 1, didn’t commit any mistake and stormed ahead to take his first pole for Sunday’s race, even finishing ahead of other more experienced drivers. Atsushi Iritani and Xiao Min of China rounded up the 2nd and 3rd positions for race 2.
Melbourne, Australia, 14 March 2019 – Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific Series will take place on Australia’s iconic Albert Park Grand Prix circuit in Melbourne this weekend from 15th – 17th March 2019.
2019 Races. For the second year in a row, the semi-permanent circuit will be hosting the opening round of the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific (APAC) series. Now in its ninth year, the calendar for this championship is made up of six rounds, travelling to renowned racetracks including here in Melbourne at Albert Park, a night race in Sepang in April, Shanghai in May, Motegi in July, Fuji in August, Singapore in September, before finishing at Mugello in Italy for Finali Mondiali (World Finals), where the Asia Pacific race drivers will join drivers from the Europe and North America Series for the traditional end-of-season celebrations. The Australian and Singapore rounds are raced in support of the Formula 1 Grand Prix events.
Competitive Race Ahead. Clients and fans will once again see the Ferrari 488 Challenge car in action during the races. This season will be one of the most competitive with a field of champions from the 2018 series; Philippe Prette from Italy who was crowned the APAC champion in the Trofeo Pirelli AM class during the World Finals and David Dicker from Australia, APAC champion in Shell class, will definitely be fighting tooth and nail to defend their titles.
Three Classes. The Ferrari Challenge is open to Ferrari drivers from all over the world, who are divided into three classes; Trofeo Pirelli AM, Coppa Shell and Coppa Shell AM, split according to their experience and driving level. Amateur drivers will gather in Melbourne representing 12 nationalities, including Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand and USA .
Schedule. Challenge drivers will undertake two rounds of practice sessions this week, and qualifying sessions taking place on Thursday and Friday, with the first race on Saturday 16th March at 10:45 AM local time and the second race on Sunday 17th March at 10:35 AM local time.