The drivers of the Ferrari Challenge series wrapped up their third round of 2022 with a pair of compelling and surprising races at Watkins Glen. Weather affected the Coppa Shell race as drivers used the wet Pirelli rubber on offer for a surface that began soaked but ended up completely dry 30-minutes later. The Trofeo Pirelli category meanwhile enjoyed a dry, albeit humid race as they worked to improve their championship positions as the championship nears that half-way mark.
Trofeo Pirelli. Taking advantage of the dry and warm conditions on offer during the Trofeo Pirelli race, Joe Rubbo (Ferrari of Long Island) surged to his first win of the 2022 season and his first win of the 488 Challenge car era. Drama on the first lap saw Matt Kurzejewski (Ferrari of Westlake) unceremoniously punted by an overeager Keysin Chen (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) and relegated to an early retirement while Chen had a drive-through penalty imposed. From there, several drivers saw opportunities open for a strong result and an excellent battle at the front ensued. None better than the one between Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) and Rubbo that ultimately saw Rubbo pass Franco in the middle portion of the race, with Franco ultimately finishing second. From there the drama was focused on who would round out the podium as Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Quebec), Massimo Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) and Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) diced back and forth, though ultimately it was Burrowes who claimed the spot. In the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, John Horejsi (Ferrari of Vancouver) took the win, leading Dave Musial Jr (Ferrari of Lake Forest) home by just over 2 seconds as they crossed the line. Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) provided the final bit of drama in the category as he had a fun battle with Aaron Weiss (Ferrari of Central New Jersey) on his way to another podium finish.
Coppa Shell. A sudden downpour occurring just before the cars were set to depart for their recon laps turned the Coppa Shell race on its head as teams worked to change tires on their cars from slicks to rains to accommodate the changing conditions. By the time the 30-plus car field had changed tires, however, the rain had petered out and the warm and humid conditions quickly returned. At the start of the 30-minute contest, the track remained appropriate for wet tires, but very quickly a dry line formed and tire management became the priority for all. In these conditions, Frank Chang (Ferrari of Seattle) reigned supreme, taking the lead and then building a gap that would last to the end. It would get a bit more interesting at the end, however, as Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) began to close in to within a second by the time the checkered flag flew. Charles Whittall (Ferrari of Central Florida) rounded out the podium in third. The Coppa Shell AM race, meanwhile saw an intense back and forth as Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) briefly led, but not all drivers were able to fully take advantage of the drying conditions and Michael Mathes (Ferrari of Central New Jersey) came out on top with his first win of the 2022 season to date. Tony Davis (Continental Autosports) continued his strong form at Watkins Glen with a second place finish and David Schmitt (Ferrari of Palm Beach) rounded out the top three.
Schedule. The Ferrari Challenge series continues in support of the Canadian Grand Prix, June 17-19 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, followed by a stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and Sonoma in September. The season wraps up in October at the Finali Mondiali at the Imola circuit.