Qualifying 2: Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst Belfast) set pole for Race 2 with a blistering 1:51.448, smashing the lap record on the Challenge UK at this circuit. Yesterday’s Coppa Shell winner, Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) followed suit by going fastest in class with a 1:54.729, brimming with confidence and looking to return to the top podium step once again. H. Sikkens (HR Owen) occupied the top spot of Trofeo Pirelli for the first 10 minutes, before falling short to Morrow, who on fresh rubber found instant joy. Sikkens opted for the same strategy of fresh rubber with 10 minutes left in qualifying, but still couldn’t built the young charger from Northern Ireland. Carl Cavers (Graypaul Nottingham) completed the trio to mirror the final order after Race 1.
In Coppa Shell, Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) had his session cut short when he had to retire his car due to damage, leaving the floor to class winner, Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) who set pole with a 1:54.729. Just 2 tenths behind him was Stuart Marston (Maranello Sales Egham), competing in only his second season of racing and looking to make an impact going into Race 2 after a fantastic 3rd place in the Race 1. Robert Rees (Dick Lovett Swindon) was quickest of the newcomers; firmly back in the driving seat looking to bounce back after his incident in Qualifying 1 yesterday. In other news, Paul Rogers (JCT600 Leeds) had to sit out of Sunday’s activities after his car took a heavy hit in the first race, whereas Marcos Vivian (Maranello Sales) was able to set a qualifying time thanks the superb work of his mechanics.
Race 2. Main man Morrow made it 2 for 2 to stamp his authority on Trofeo Pirelli, as Hogarth also did the double in the Coppa Shell in a thrilling encounter.
Trofeo Pirelli. Morrow stormed ahead into Turn 1 at the start of the race, while Sikkens was soon by Cavers in the hairpin to take second. The fight between Sikkens and Cavers was good news for Morrow, who soon built up a 4 second gap in as many laps. Faisal al Faisal (HR Owen London) and John Dhillon (Graypaul Nottingham) jostled for the 4th spot in a battle of their own; a dog fight that would last for the rest of the race. As in Race 1, the Safety Car was deployed after a collision further down the field, meaning Morrow saw his 6.6 sec buffer disappear to give Cavers and Sikkens another shot to pressure for the win. Restarting well with less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the leader handled the situation like a seasoned professional and quickly restored the gap which he held until the end of the race. The battle for 4th and 5th bubbled behind as Faisal, desperate to score points after a frustrating weekend, overtook Dhillon in a high-risk, high-reward manoeuvre, which pushed both drivers to their limits. Faisal’s efforts were short lived, as Dhillon went bumper to bumper through Ritchies corner to reclaim the spot. Morrow crossed the line 7 seconds ahead of the pack to bring home the double, whilst Cavers and Sikkens swapped podium steps from the day before to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Coppa Shell. Poleman Hogarth dreamed of the double going into Race 2, but it wasn’t a straightforward task, because Marston, in his brilliant blue and yellow machine, went straight on the assault, snatching the lead from the number 6’s grasp within the first few corners. With Jonathan Satchell (HR Owen London) occupying the 3rd podium spot, Simmerson made it through the field having started further back than he would have liked. New driver Rees found himself in the thick of it, going three abreast into the Bentley Straight before he spun off, overcooking the turn to let the two ahead fight it out. Simmerson forced a move up the inside to 3rd after piling on the pressure, before a collision between first-timers Vivian and Peter Hunter (Stratstone Manchester) meant another Safety Car. Shortly after the restart, Hogarth took advantage of the slip stream in a compacted field to regain the top spot and dethrone Marston, putting himself back on track for another victory. However, the battle was far from over, as Marston relentlessly tried to recover the position, forcing Hogarth to defend, whilst Simmerson tried to hang on for 3rd. With Satchell refusing to give up, it came down to the final few corners before Simmerson would spin, losing his place on the podium in the last lap. Hogarth breathed a sigh of a relief as he welcomed the chequered flag to secure his 2nd victory of the weekend. Marston took his 2nd podium of the weekend, whilst Satchell took his 1st podium of the season with a well-earned 3rd place in the final moments.
Trofeo Pirelli Standings. After the first round, Morrow leads the Championship with 35 points with Sikkens and Cavers equal on 23 points.
Coppa Shell Standings. Double victory sees Hogarth at the top with 32 points, followed by Marston in 2nd on 23. Simmerson and Satchell are tied in 3rd with 19 points each.
Schedule. The second round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK takes place in less than 3 weeks as the series heads to Oulton Park 19-20 May.