The Finali Mondiali are back at Mugello and as always the customer response has been fantastic, with a record number of 488 Challenges expected at the Tuscan circuit. They will also be joined by a number of drivers of the 458 Challenge EVO, the car that at this event ends its competitive career in the Ferrari single-make championship. A total of 101 drivers will be present, more than at last year’s Finali Mondiali at Daytona.
Trofeo Pirelli. Competitors in the three series of the Ferrari Challenge, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific (APAC) will be on track from Friday. Almost all the titles are still to be decided. While a fourth place finish in the second race at Imola was enough for Daniele Di Amato to seal the European Trofeo Pirelli, in North America the series is still up for grabs. Wei Lu, Cooper MacNeil and Martin Fuentes remain in the running with just nine points between them. The APAC series is also a three-way fight, but two good placings would be enough for Philippe Prette to seal another title.
Trofeo Pirelli Am. The three editions of the Trofeo Pirelli Am are wide open. Europe will see a three-way tussle between Jens Liebhauser, rookie Chris Froggatt and the experienced Martin Nelson. The Challenge APAC presents a similar picture, with Ken Seto in the lead but needing to fend off Tiger Wu and Yanbin Xing. However, the North America class is a two-way faceoff between Marc Muzzo and Chris Cagnazzi.
Coppa Shell. The Coppa Shell also sees some big duels, with two old acquaintances from the European Le Mans Series, Johnny Laursen and Henry Hassid, dominating in Europe. The Frenchman has already won the Gentlemen’s Cup for the over-55s but, with six victories this season, the Charles Pozzi team driver looks likely to try to seal the title on the ups and downs of Mugello. It is a two-way fight in Asia with the winner of the first part of the season, Makoto Fujiwara, having to hold off the pursuit of Eric Zang. Then there is another head-to-head in North America with Karl Williams in front of Barry Zekelman.
Trofeo Pirelli 458. The Trofeo Pirelli 458 is the other title already claimed, taken by Australia’s Martin Berry, who dominated the APAC championship. This class is only open to the 458 Challenge EVO, which at the end of Finali Mondiali is due to retire from the world’s most famous single-make championship. Otherwise, everything is wide open: just 16 points separate Holger Harmsen and Galip Atar, with the Turk almost within touching distance of becoming his country’s first Ferrari Challenge champion. The situation is even more open in the North America series, with Joe Rubbo leading Naveen Rao by two points, James Walker by five and Francesco Piovanetti by 17.
Ladies. Six women will also be competing in the Finali Mondiali at Mugello: Lisa Clark and Debra Palermo will race in the North America class while Kanthicha Chimsiri dominates the scene in the APAC series. In Europe, the hottest duel sees Fabienne Wohlwend, historic winner of the last race at Imola, battling it out with Manuela Gostner and Tina Kok. The last two rounds of the championship are on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday sees the turn of the three Finali Mondiali where a single race of all against all will decide the world champions in the various classes.
Source. Ferrari/Photo. John Patterson