The Ferrari Challenge UK, the new national series of the Prancing Horse's one-make series, kicked off this weekend at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Jason Baker (Dick Lovett Swindon) dominated in the Trofeo Pirelli, with two victories from both races. Baker preceded Jamie Clark (Stratstone Manchester) by a few hundredths of a second on both Saturday and Sunday, while in the Coppa Shell Mark McAllister (Lancaster Ferrari Colchester) triumphed in Race-1 and Stuart Willson (Graypaul Nottingham) in Race-2.
Race-1. In the first race, held on Saturday, Jason Baker won after a thrilling duel with Jamie Clarke, which was only interrupted by the red flag four minutes from the end. After an initial breakaway, the entry of the Safety Car due to a car exiting the track meant that Baker had to try to pull away again. However, this time Clarke kept up and battled his compatriot for victory, remaining locked on the tail of his rival's 488 Challenge.
Baker, who had punished his tyres in the early stages of the race, fought hard with Clarke, resolutely defending his position down to the red flag. The flag, which came out for the recovery of a car which had spun, gave the win to Baker ahead of Clarke and Wayne Marrs (Dick Lovett Swindon) for the first Trofeo Pirelli podium in the history of the Ferrari Challenge UK.
In the Coppa Shell, Mark McAllister (Lancaster Ferrari Colchester), Toby Flanagan (Maranello Sales) and Alex Moss (Graypaul Birmingham) finished on the podium in a hard-fought race with plenty of passes and changes of position throughout the field.
Race-2. In the same vein as Race-1, the 30 minutes of Sunday's race saw another close fight between Jason Baker and Jamie Clarke. On this occasion, the chequered flag separated the winner Baker from the runner up Clark, by just 0.414 of a second. Together with them, Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) captured the final step on the Trofeo Pirelli podium, after holding off Jon Wood (Carrs Ferrari) and Josh Kirkwood-Jones (H.R. Owen London).
In the Coppa Shell, victory went to Stuart Willson (Graypaul Nottingham) who made a great comeback that took him from third to first, after getting the better of Toby Flannagan and Gary Redman (Graypaul Nottingham). The three of them, who ended up on the podium, together with Richard Guy (Charles Hurst), crossed the line just five seconds apart. The Indy configuration of the track undoubtedly favoured a spectacle and close racing around the entire 1.944 km circuit.
Round 2. The second round of the Ferrari Challenge UK takes place on 22 and 23 June at the Snetterton circuit.