Portimão (Algarve) 21 May–Today, the third round of the European Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli got underway at the spectacular Portuguese Portimão circuit, which first hosted Ferrari’s one-make series back in 2009. Twenty seven cars were out on track today for the first qualifying sessions and the first of two races run at night. Victory in Race 1 went to Baron, who is also the pole man for Race 2.
The first of the today two qualifying sessions was dominated by Alexey Vasiliev, who set the fastest time (1.49.769) in the Trofeo Pirelli category at the wheel of the Ferrari Moscow 458 Challenge, reducing by two seconds and three-tenths the time set by Bjorn Grossmann’s F430 in 2010 on the same track (1.52.118). Vasiliev was followed by the provisional series leader Max Blancardi of Motor/Malucelli (1.49.958) and by the champion of 2010 European series Philipp Baron of Baron Service (1.50.293). In the Coppa Shell, the fight for pole ended in favour of Dennis Andersen of Formula Automobile who was fifth fastest overall (1.50.899), ahead of his team-mate Johnny Laursen (1.51.062) and Yannick Mallegol of Motor/Piacenza (1.51.297), while of those drivers running the F430, Holger Harmsen of Lueg Sportivo (1.56.594) was fastest ahead of Howard Blank of Motor/Piacenza (1.58.060) and Gerald Grohmann of Warm Up (1.58.062).
The afternoon qualifying session to determine grid placing for Race 2, which starts at 11.45 tomorrow, saw Philipp Baron (1.50.591) take the top slot ahead of Max Blancardi (1.50.623) and Robert Pergl of Scuderia Praha (1.50.751), while pole position for the Coppa Shell went to Jean-Marc Bachelier of Motor/Piacenza (1.51.022) who was fourth fastest overall, followed by Dennis Andersen (1.51.085) and Johnny Laursen (1.51.103). Fastest of the F430 runners was Holger Harmsen in 1.56.945, followed by Gerald Grohmann (1.57.788) and Tommy Lindroth of Autoropa (1.57.920).
The actual racing got underway with the 25 minutes of Race 1, with drivers dealing with the novelty of a night race, in which Philipp Baron staged a great performance to secure the top slot on the podium. The Baron Service driver crossed the line ahead of Alexey Vasiliev and Max Blancardi who both had an action packed time. Also closely contested was the battle between the drivers in the Coppa Shell: Dennis Andersen took the win from Johnny Laursen and Philippe Prette (Motor Malucelli), with Holger Harmsen coming out best of the F430 Challenge runners ahead of Alexander Moiseev (Motor/Piacenza) and Vladmir Kirilyuk (Ferrari Moscow).
Tomorrow’s programme features Race 2 starting at 11.45 with drivers tackling a 35 minute race.
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