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    Ferrari Challenge Europe - The Rookie Takes the Pole in Le Mans

    16 giugno 2016

    Le Mans, 16 June 2016 - The fourth round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe 2016 season opened today with 45 Ferrari 458 Challenge EVOs on the famed 13,6 km, 28-turn Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Supporting the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, drivers representing more than 10 nations globally traveled near and far to compete amidst the fervor and glamour of the renowned race weekend.    Practice. As this is the first time since 2013 that the Ferrari Challenge raced at the circuit of Le Mans, the two 45-minute practice sessions reserved this morning were essential. Of the complete entry list, only four drivers competed here in the previous two occasions (2011 and 2013): David Gostner, Philipp Baron, Fons Scheltema and Erich Prinoth. The circuit sees long acceleration points at Mulsanne in the back straight as well a tight turns on either end. Distance-wise the track is substantial and a keen focus is necessary to be successful here.    Qualifying. Bjorn Grossman (Octane 126) saw immediate success in what was to be an hour-long qualifying session. The German in the Trofeo Pirelli class clocked the fastest time around the track within the first three laps of the session, however a caution flag caused a slow down and return to the pits for all cars. The restart proved to be a test as rookie Alberto Cola (Rossocorsa - Pellin Racing) swept the track with a 4:08:351. Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport) pushed hard during the afternoon qualifying session, trying to overtake Wayne Marrs (Stratstone Ferrari), and hit the wall at the last chicane. Due to the damages to the car and the safety barrier, the qualifying session was red flagged and cut short but the driver was unhurt. Cola, who begins his rookie season at Le Mans, will find himself sitting on pole position in Saturday's race for the Trofeo Pirelli class. Sam Smeeth (Stratstone Ferrari) will lead his Trofeo Pirelli AM and Tani Hanna (Motor Service) will stand at the top of the Coppa Shell category.   Race. The 45-minute race, counting for double points because of the substantial length compared to other races, will go green on Saturday at 10:05 AM, preceding the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The French endurance classic will see eight examples of the 458 GTE and newest 488 GTE on track competing for the ultimate victory.