Thomas Fleming (HR Owen) triumphed in the Trofeo Pirelli, and Axel Sartingen (Lueg Sportivo - Herter Racing) in the Coppa Shell following the first thrilling battles of round two of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe at the Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’. Franz Engstler (Charles Pozzi GT Racing) continued his winning streak in the Trofeo Pirelli Am, while Kirk Baerwaldt (Kessel Racing) took first place in the Coppa Shell Am. The Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo cars will be back on track tomorrow, Sunday, 23 April, for the second day of racing at the Romagna circuit.
Trofeo Pirelli. The young British driver Thomas Fleming celebrated his first victory in the Ferrari one-make series in a race featuring many twists and turns and several penalties for exceeding the track limits. After crossing the line in first, Eliseo Donno (Radicci Automobili) was among those penalised at the end of the race, receiving a five-second penalty. The young man from Salento, who started from pole and set the fastest lap, with a time of 1’35”394, had to settle for the runner-up spot but still keeps his lead in the overall standings. Third place went to Josef Král (Scuderia Praha), ahead of Max Mugelli (CDP – Eureka Competition) and newcomer Rocco Mazzola (Radicci Automobili), the latter recovering fourteen positions from the starting order.
Starting seventh after a difficult morning’s qualifying session, Franz Engstler pulled off a successful comeback in the Am class. This was his third consecutive triumph in an impressive start to the season. At the end of a close and thrilling duel, Hanno Laskowski (Emil Frey) finished in second ahead of Nicolò Rosi (Kessel Racing). David Gostner (CDP – MP Racing), poleman and author of the fastest lap in the race with a time of 1’36”887, crossed the line in third place but was demoted to tenth due to a penalty for exceeding the track limits.
Coppa Shell. Axel Sartingen won after starting from pole position with the best qualifying time of 1’36”799. He defended his lead throughout an exciting 30-minute race that featured the entry of two Safety Cars following several collisions from which the drivers emerged unscathed. The first, shortly after the start, ended the races of Alexander Nussbaumer (Gohm – Scuderia GT), Christian Herdt-Wipper (Emil Frey) and Willem van der Vorm (Scuderia Monte-Carlo), who had started from the front row. At the restart, Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing) set off in direct pursuit of the German, while behind him, Manuela Gostner (CDP – MP Racing) recovered eight positions from the grid to take third place.
The trio stretched their race lead, recompacted by another entry of the Safety Car to clear the track following a collision between Am class drivers. Despite Scheltema and Gostner’s attempts in the final stages, the positions remained the same until the chequered flag. The victory allows the Lueg Sportivo - Herter Racing driver, who also received an additional point for the fastest lap, to stretch his lead in the overall standings to eight points ahead of Manuela Gostner and thirteen over Fons Scheltema.
The Am class event was just as spectacular, with some 63 passes. Kirk Baerwaldt emerged victorious, accompanied on the podium by Motohiko Isozaki (Cornes Motors Shiba) and Henrik Kamstrup (Formula Racing), third after a 25-second penalty imposed on Stefano Marazzi (Rossocorsa) following a collision while attempting to overtake. The day’s poleman “Boris Gideon” (Autohaus Ulrich), seventh at the finish, also set the fastest lap time of 1’38”602.
Programme. On Sunday, 23 April, day two of the Ferrari Challenge at Misano includes Coppa Shell qualifying from 9 a.m., followed by Race-2 at 2 p.m., while the Trofeo Pirelli time trials start at 10.05 a.m. with the green flag at 3.15 p.m. (all times are local).