15 giugno 2016
Le Mans, 15 June 2016 – A single point separates Baron and Grossman in one class, while Smeeth is way ahead in the other. This in a nutshell, is the position in the two Trofeo Pirelli categories of the Ferrari Challenge Europe series. This weekend sees the most anticipated race in the Challenge season along with those of the Finali Mondiali, which this year will take place in Daytona from 1 to 4 December.
Trofeo Pirelli. The main class is currently a tight fight between reigning champion Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126) and one of the best drivers in the recent history of the Challenge, Philipp Baron. The Austrian Rossocorsa driver tops the standings on 65 points after a win in Race-2 at Monza and two other podium finishes, but he is just a single point ahead of Grossmann. The German reigning European champion did the double at Mugello but had a tricky weekend at Monza, which explains his slight lag in the standings. Italian Ineco-MP Racing driver, David Gostner (42 points) is in third, one point in front of his compatriot Marcello Puglisi (Rossocorsa).
Advantage. Baron and Gostner enjoy the advantage of having already raced the 458 Challenge at Le Mans. Indeed, both took part in the Challenge Europe’s previous two visits to the Sarthe circuit, in 2011 and 2013, with Baron the winner in 2011.
Pirelli Am. British driver Sam Smeeth (Stratstone Ferrari) has so far dominated the Trofeo Pirelli Am season. He has won the last three races (Race-2 at Monza and the two rounds at Mugello) to surge into a 31-point lead, ahead of Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa), winner in Race-1 at Monza. John Farano (Rossocorsa) is in third on 40 points. However, double points are at stake at Le Mans and a great race on French soil could reopen the battle for the title. Some of the drivers in this class have also already experienced the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe, with Jan Danis and Tommaso Rocca taking part in 2011.
Programme. Practice sessions are scheduled for Thursday followed by qualifying to decide the positions on the starting grid for Saturday's only race. As the race is longer than usual (40 minutes) it will be worth double points. The race starts at 10:05 am and will finish just before the opening of the starting procedures for the 24 hours valid for the World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the meantime, with this video we can refresh your memory of the two spectacular races at Mugello.