Nicklas Nielsen, Jan Danis, Erich Prinoth and Murat Cuhadaroglu, all driving the 488 Challenge, won on the second day of the first round of Ferrari Challenge Europe at Mugello in front of a crowd of almost 10.000 people. Before the race, drivers, engineers and mechanics were invited to watch the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, rejoicing in Sebastian Vettel’s victory and Kimi Raikkonen’s third place. However, the biggest thrills were yet to come.
Trofeo Pirelli. The Trofeo Pirelli again kicked off proceedings, doing so with a replay of Saturday’s start to finish duel between young Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) and Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126). The two drivers once more fought their own private race, leaving a very competitive group of drivers, Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing), Sam Smeeth (Ferrari GB), Jens Liebhauser (Formula Racing) and Enzo Potolicchio (Rossocorsa), to fight for third. The British driver was penalised with a drive through for being too aggressive, first with Vezzoni and then with Potolicchio. Vezzoni came third ahead of Liebhauser.
Pirelli Am. In the Trofeo Pirelli Am, Jan Danis (Scuderia Praha) enjoyed a simply perfect day. The Slovak driver had already taken pole position in the morning but he left his best for the race, winning and also recording the fastest lap. This was Danis’ first victory in the Ferrari Challenge. Saturday’s winner Chris Froggatt (Ferrari GB) and Sweden’s Martin Nelson with the 488 Challenge of Scuderia Autoropa, joined Danis on the podium. Fourth place went to rookie John Sawbridge (Ferrari GB).
Coppa Shell. The Coppa Shell saw Manuela Gostner (Ineco-MP Racing) start from pole and hold the lead at the first turn, repelling an attack from Jean-Claude Saada in the 488 Challenge of Rossocorsa. At the end of lap two, Race-1 winner Erich Prinoth caught Saada and then went off in pursuit of Manuela. The girl from Bolzano was looking odds on to hold off her teammate when she lost control of her 488 Challenge at the penultimate corner of lap 10, nullifying what had been a stunning performance up to that point. The podium for Race 2 turned into a carbon copy of Race-1, with Prinoth finishing first ahead of Saada and Thomas Gostner.
Shell Am. In the Coppa Shell Am class, Murat Cuhadaroglu again took pole but this time didn’t have to start from the back of the grid. In the race, the Turkish Kessel Racing driver went unchallenged, while “Agi” Smolka (Rossocorsa) held off attacks from Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing) to secure second. The next appointment is at Silverstone from 27 to 29 April.
FERRARI CHALLENGE EUROPE – TRIUMPH AT MUGELLO FOR NIELSEN, FROGGATT, PRINOTH AND MATTSON
24 March 2018. Nicklas Nielsen, Chris Froggatt, Erich Prinoth and Ingvar Mattson, all on 488 Challenge, were the first winners of the Ferrari Challenge Europe 2018, which kicked off on Saturday on wonderfully sunny day at the Mugello track.
Trofeo Pirelli. The Trofeo Pirelli opened the racing day with a duel from start to finish between the young Nicklas Nielsen (Formula Racing) and Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126). The two were able to pull away from their rivals, leaving Henry Hassid (Charles Pozzi), Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing) and Jens Liebhauser to fight for third. Nielsen beat Grossmann by two seconds to record his third win out of three races in the Challenge (all at Mugello), with Hassid finishing third.
Pirelli Am. The Trofeo Pirelli Am race panned out similarly, with Chris Froggatt (HR Owen) holding onto the first place he had secured in qualifying. Slovakia’s Jan Danis (Scuderia Praha) pushed him hard for much of the race. He even attempted an attack on the San Donato curve, but failed to overtake the Briton. Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) came third just a few seconds ahead of Denmark’s Christian Overgaard (Baron Motorsport). British rookie John Sawbridge (HR Owen) took fifth.
Coppa Shell. The Coppa Shell race offered its usual mix of excitement and spectacle. Turn three saw the first unexpected twist when Manuela Gostner (Ineco-MP Racing) brushed Christophe Hurni’s (Team Zenith Sion-Lausanne) car, spinning it and forcing rookie Agata “Agy” Smolka (Rossocorsa) onto the grass to avoid the Swiss driver. Erich Prinoth (Ineco-MP Racing) took the lead ahead of US driver Jean-Claude Saada (Rossocorsa) and teammate Thomas Gostner who held off attacks from Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport BB). The race was then neutralised because of an accident in the Shell Am class, after which the positions remained the same as Prinoth set again a very strong pace. Saada took second and Gostner third with the second podium of his Ferrari one-make series career.
Shell Am. In the Coppa Shell Am, “Agy” Smolka lost her pole advantage after an accident at turn three. Sweden’s Ingvar Mattson (Scuderia Autoropa) took the lead ahead of Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing) and Per Nielsen (Baron Motorsport). Murat Cuhadaroglu (Kessel Racing) made a great recovery after starting last due to changing car. The Turk pulled back to third despite a contact with Alexander Nussbaumer (Formula Racing) that knocked the Austrian out of the race. Mattson crossed the line ahead of the pack for his first win in the Challenge, followed by Ramelli and Cuhadaroglu.