Monza, 11 June 2017 – The second day of the Ferrari Challenge Europe at Monza, the Round 2 of the season, was packed full of excitement and spectacle with a number of drivers confirming their dominance and others rising to prominence for the first time. This was the case with France’s Henry Hassid, who dominated the Coppa Shell in the second Ferrari one-make series race, while Jens Liebhauser just missed out on a first win on the final straight, losing out to Martin Nelson and Tommaso Rocca. The Trofeo Pirelli saw a second win for Daniele Di Amato.
Coppa Shell. The Coppa Shell again provided the first race of the day and a lot of excitement. At the start, Fons Scheltema in pole held onto first position while behind him Erich Prinoth (Ineco-MP Racing) sowed a bit of confusion at the first chicane. Shortly after, Vladimir Hladik (Baron Service) ended up in a spin at the Roggia chicane. The Safety Car was called out one third of the way through, when Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing), who was in a battle with Eric Cheung (Formula Racing) and Fabienne Wohlwend, lost control of his 488 Challenge colliding with the woman Octane 126 driver. No one was hurt but the race was over for the pair. At the restart Henry Hassid (Team Charles Pozzi) overtook Fons Scheltema and broke away. However, the Dutch Kessel Racing driver successfully defended second position firstly from the attacks of Johnny Laursen (Formula Racing) and then from Christoph Hurni (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne) who came third. Hassid also won the Gentlemen’s Cup while the Ladies’ Cup went to Deborah Mayer (Kessel Racing) in one of the greatest performance of her Challenge career so far.
Trofeo Pirelli. In the Trofeo Pirelli Daniele Di Amato (CDP) started again from pole and totally dominated the race. At the start Philipp Baron (Rossocorsa) tried to keep up with the Italian driver, but in vain. He also had to look over his shoulder at a rampant Fabio Leimer (Octane 126). The three arrived in that order.
Pirelli Am. In the Pirelli Am class for most of the race Jens Liebhauser (Gohm Motorsport) did the lion’s share of the work, scattering all his opponents from the start. Indeed he forced Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa), dominant in Valencia and on Saturday in Race-1, to chase the lead for the first time this season. The German driver was ahead of the Swedish championship leader right down to the final straight. However, as luck would have it just at that point Liebhauser’s 488 Challenge ran out of fuel. Nelson won, with Rocca second while the German salvaged third place. Japan’s Yoshiki Ohmura (StileF Squadra Corse) was the best of the drivers in the 458 Challenge EVO. The next round is in Budapest in two-week time.
Monza, 10 June 2017 – Daniele Di Amato, Martin Nelson and Erich Prinoth in the brand new 488 Challenge won the first Ferrari Challenge races of the Monza weekend, celebrating the second round of the European series. Fans were treated to two races packed with excitement and spectacle.
Coppa Shell. The first race of the day was the Coppa Shell, which, as often, was also the most spectacular with lots of bumps and a spectacular accident. Johnny Laursen started poorly from first on the grid and ended up being sucked back into the group. Christoph Hurni (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne) pulled ahead of everyone but Erich Prinoth was in immediate pursuit. Indeed the Ineco-MP Racing driver was already in front by the end of the first lap after a great overtake at the Serraglio. Soon after, Thomas Gostner offered further proof of the sturdiness of the new 488 Challenge. The Ineco-MP Racing driver was involved in a terrible accident. After colliding heavily with a curb, Gostner suffered a puncture to lose control of the car at nearly 300 km/h on the main straight. Like a billiard ball, the 488 Challenge smacked first into the barriers to its left, before crossing the track and smashing into the entirely innocent Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport). Both drivers were unhurt. After a long period of the Safety Car, Prinoth, who also won the Gentlemen’s Cup, crossed the line first ahead of Hurni and Eric Cheung (Formula Racing). The debutant Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126) also had a great race, placed fifth overall and winner of the Ladies’ Cup.
Trofeo Pirelli. The Trofeo Pirelli provided an equally tight race, although without any dramatic incidents. Daniele Di Amato (CDP), in pole, enjoyed the best start, immediately establishing a lead with a bit of help from Sam Smeeth (Stratstone Ferrari). The latter had a real fight with Philipp Baron (Rossocorsa) and Fabio Leimer (Octane 126). Amato drove unchallenged to victory while behind Baron and Leimer both overtook Smeeth. Then at the end the pair collided and ended up skipping the first chicane on the penultimate lap. Leimer suffered damage that relegated him to last place while Baron was hit with a 25-second penalty. This allowed Smeeth to finish second while third place went to Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing).
Pirelli Am. Martin Nelson, the driver who had dominated in Valencia, did the lion’s share of the work in the Pirelli Am class. The Scuderia Autoropa driver finished ahead of Tommaso Rocca (Rossocorsa) and Jens Liebhauser (Gohm Motorsport) dominating the race and taking the 9th win of his career. It is the same again on Sunday with the Coppa Shell at 12:50 pm and the Trofeo Pirelli at 3:35 pm.
Maranello, 9 June 2017 – The words “Ferrari Challenge Days” give us a clear idea of the weekend ahead. Indeed, this weekend all three of the world’s most famous single-make continental series will be in action, stopping-off at three very special tracks.
Europe. The European series is in Monza for the second meeting of the season. After the first race in Valencia, the championship will be at the temple of speed where cars accelerate to 300 km/h before slowing down at the first chicane, taking full advantage of the 650 hp of the turbo power unit that won the Engine of the Year award. The leading competitors in the three championship classes include Switzerland’s Fabio Leimer, Sweden’s Martin Nelson and the highly experienced Rick Lovat. We should mention the return of Coppa Shell champion, Thomas Loefflad, as well as the arrival of a new woman in the championship, 19-year-old Fabienne Wohlwend from Liechtenstein.
North America. The North American series goes to Montreal where, as is now traditional, it is the support race for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. On Thursday, the championship drivers had their photos taken with the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Peter Ludwig is someone to keep an eye on in the Trofeo Pirelli but Martin Fuentes is geared up to cause him problems. In the Trofeo Pirelli Am all eyes are on Chris Cagnazzi, while in the Coppa Shell Karl Williams is the favourite.
Asia-Pacific. The Asia-Pacific series will be in China where it has the prestigious task of inaugurating the new track in Zhejiang. Various Chinese drivers, along with other representatives from all over Asia, will battle it out on the 3.2km built around a hill. Italy’s Philippe Prette is the favourite in the Trofeo Pirelli, but Chinese fans are looking to Yanbin Xing. In the Coppa Shell, Japan’s Makoto Fujiwara has totally dominated the series so far.