The Oulton Park circuit, in Cheshire in the north-west of England, not far from Manchester, hosted the opening round of the 2022 Ferrari Challenge UK season. After the start of the North American and European series, the British one-make series too lit the touchpaper of an exciting new adventure set to end in Silverstone in September.
The joy of discovery. There’s a first time for everyone. And there was an unexpected first for Andrea Bertolini, official Ferrari driver, called upon to act as Race Advisor for the opening round of the Ferrari Challenge UK: the driver from Sassuolo had never in his entire career been to Oulton Park before. “It might seem strange, but it’s true. I never raced on these turns. I like it.”
The debutante ball. As on the first day of school, lots of friends are reunited after several months and there’s a lot of eagerness to joke and challenge one another on the track. There are lots of well-known faces as well as a few new ones. Among them, no fewer than three drivers were not only making their Ferrari Challenge UK debut, but being initiated into the world of racing. After getting their licence a few months ago, Andrew Morrow, Jason Ambrose and Stuart Marston were on the track for the first time. The most competitive was Ambrose who started out with podium finishes in Race-1 and Race-2, second and third place respectively, in the Coppa Shell.
Got, got, need. Like a sticker album, there are two drivers who’ve always been at the races in the UK series and able to “stick in” the various circuits. Well, nearly. Paul Simmerson can claim a perfect attendance record, having taken part in all the races since he began racing in the UK: he can boast a complete album. Paul Hogarth missed just one round, on the other hand, Croft in 2019. “Need.”
Wait for me! A commitment meant that H Sikkens couldn’t attend the first day of action on the track at Oulton Park. The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Am 2020 world champion made it in time for Race-2 on Sunday and immediately set about showing what he’s made of, picking up an excellent second place behind an unstoppable Lucky Khera.
Monumental. Inside the Oulton Park circuit, not far from the main straight, is a work that immediately attracts curiosity and is visible from various points in the area. It’s a monument in the form of an Eleanor cross dedicated to John Francis Egerton, a British army captain who fell in battle in 1846 and was the brother of the owner of the Oulton estate. After the facilities were built, the decision was taken to leave the monument in the park.