Round 4 of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK brought the series back to Silverstone, one of the most recognisable tracks in world motorsport and one that’s on every driver’s bucket list. The iconic Grand Prix circuit spans 3.66 miles and is one of the fastest tracks in the world, offering high-octane action at every corner.
Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst) leads Trofeo Pirelli, with H. Sikkens (HR Owen) in second and Carl Cavers (Graypaul Nottingham) in third. Cavers had high hopes of repeating his double-winning weekend here last season after moving up a class this year. In Coppa Shell, Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) was looking to take revenge after friendly rival, Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) finally broke his winning streak last time out at Brands Hatch, as thrilling battles continued to develop all the way through the grid.
Qualifying 1. Despite flat light and cloudy skies, the atmosphere in the paddock was anything but dull as 18 turns awaited the 17 driver grid, equal in their desire to return to racing. Quickest off the mark was Cavers, who set a 2:04:244 to lead the pack into Race 1 having been fastest in all sessions throughout the weekend.
The drivers of Coppa Shell were pushing right to the limit as two cars spun in the session, but it was the fully-focused Hogarth who earned a familiar place on the front row after posting a 2:05:920.
Trofeo Pirelli. At the green light, polesitter Cavers hurtled down the Hamilton Straight into Abbey, with a pack of Ferrari 488 Challenge Evos filling each mirror. His efforts in Q1 were shortly dismantled as Morrow capitalised on a good run into Abbey to take the lead, as Sikkens also went through to send Cavers into third.
Side-by-side through Village into the Loop, cold tyres saw Sikkens exit the track momentarily to fall down into fourth, allowing John Dhillon (Graypaul Nottingham) through.
Morrow immediately tried to break away, but Cavers wasn’t going to let him escape without a fight. Looming in the slip stream of the championship leader, the pair drove almost identically for several laps with just 23 thousandths of a second between their lap times.
Meanwhile, a determined Sikkens, now with some heat in the tyres, reclaimed his spot from Dhillon to take third, but had fallen a way back from the leaders in the process. A spin in Coppa Shell then forced a Safety Car with 17 minutes left on the clock, allowing Sikkens to make up the 4.5 second deficit with the rest of the field.
Quietly creeping up the field was Faisal Al-Faisal (HR Owen) who despite qualifying 7th in class and starting 11th on the grid, went on to set fastest lap of the race, having catapulted himself seven places into fourth after a sideways effort inside of Dhillon.
Just 1.1 seconds separated the top four, as Cavers found himself between attacking for the win while also defending 2nd place from a fast-charging Al-Faisal and Sikkens. With all four extremely close together, Al-Faisal got the better of Sikkens as the pair went wheel-to-wheel through Brooklands just millimetres apart.
It was last chance saloon for Cavers on the penultimate lap, who took a brave gamble braking late; a position that Morrow couldn’t possibly retake without contact, leaving Cavers to take his first win of the season.
Coppa Shell. The drivers wasted no time in cutting straight to the action as a five-car frenzy flew into the first right-hander. A compacted field caused problems within the first couple of corners as championship leader, Hogarth, was sent into a spin after taking some contact to the rear.
Significant damage forced an early retirement, which instantly blew the title race wide open for Simmerson who now occupied the top spot. Not too far behind was Chris Smith (Graypaul Birmingham) in second, who’d calmly managed to avoid the first-lap drama before overtaking Simmerson for the lead.
Peter Hunter (Stratstone Manchester) spun early in the first sector to force a Safety Car before the midpoint of the race, compacting the field once again. With Hogarth out of the race, Simmerson immediately tried to capitalise on the points available as he lunged inside of Smith through Abbey on the restart without success.
Cool and collected, Smith defended well, whilst Stuart Marston (Maranello Sales Egham) took advantage of a distracted Simmerson for second place. Marston leapfrogged yet again to temporarily dethrone Smith, but an unfortunate 360-spin at Copse saw him hand both places back.
A similar mistake a few laps later allowed Paul Rogers (JCT600) into third from Simmerson, as jubilation filled the paddock to Smith’s celebration atop the winning car.