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    Repeat performance from Donno and triumph for Manuela Gostner: Italian victories at Valencia

    Valencia 26 marzo 2023

    The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe sends the first round of the season into the archives with Eliseo Donno’s (Radicci Automobili) twin win in the Trofeo Pirelli and Manuela Gostner's (CDP - MP Racing) victory in the Coppa Shell at Valencia. The Ricardo Tormo circuit, which was well-attended by spectators over the two days of racing, also saw Franz Engstler (Charles Pozzi - GT Racing) replicate the win in the Trofeo Pirelli Am and ‘Boris Gideon’ (Autohaus Ulrich) clinch the Coppa Shell Am. The next round of the Prancing Horse single-marque series is set for April at Misano in Italy.

    Trofeo Pirelli. A new Ferrari Challenge track record with a 1:34.325 marker in the morning’s qualifying session, a 1:36.405 fastest lap in the race and the lead throughout the entire 30- minute  race:  these  are  the  stats  that  capture  Eliseo  Donno’s  domination,  wrapping  up another perfect day on the Spanish circuit and launching himself to the top of the general standings. Behind the driver from Salento was a tussle between Thomas Fleming (HR Owen) and Max Mugelli (CDP - Eureka Competition), with the latter successfully holding onto second place, thus topping off an Italian one-two in the main class. The British driver, in contrast, was lumbered with a five-second penalty for repeatedly exceeding the track limits, leaving the third step of the podium open to Szymon Ladniak (Gohm - Scuderia GT), making his debut in the series.

    The Trofeo Pirelli Am also had a dominant protagonist on Valencian soil: Franz Engstler, who also started today from pole, grabbing the victory as well as the fastest lap. Behind him was Nicolò Rosi (Kessel Racing), improving on a fine fourth place in Race 1, and Hanno Laskowski (Emil Frey), third yesterday. In a race that featured no fewer than 83 overtakes, the battle for positions off the podium was also a very hard-fought one, with Danilo Del Favero (Penske Sportwagen Hamburg) eventually taking fourth place ahead of Lucky Khera (Graypaul Birmingham), fifth, and Mohamed Hamdy (Ezz Elarab Automotive Company), sixth.

    Coppa Shell. The Italian national anthem also rang out from the Coppa Shell podium, which saw Manuela Gostner’s second career triumph in the Ferrari Challenge. With a determined performance, the South Tyrolean proved adept at defending the pole position - clinched with a time of 1:36.304 - fending off comeback attempts from Axel Sartingen (Lueg Sportivo - Herter Racing) in particular, who produced the fastest lap of the race and is now first in the standings. No less intense was the challenge for third place, with Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing) edging out, in order, Willem Van Der Vorm (Scuderia Monte-Carlo) and Alexander Nussbaumer (Gohm - Scuderia GT), picking up a five-second penalty at the end for an overtaking manoeuvre outside the track limits.

    After a gripping 30 minutes, the Coppa Shell Am win went to ‘Boris Gideon’ ahead of Stefano Marazzi (Rossocorsa), making his Ferrari Challenge debut, and Kirk Baerwaldt (Kessel Racing) who, after taking pole position, repeated yesterday’s result and thus occupies the head of the general standings. Motohiko Isozaki (Cornes Motors Shiba) recorded the fastest lap of the race.

    Next round. The second round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is scheduled for 21-23
    April at Italy’s Misano circuit.