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    Donno and Sartingen, first joys at Valencia

    Valencia 25 marzo 2023

    It was Eliseo Donno (Radicci Automobili) in the Trofeo Pirelli and Axel Sartingen (Lueg  Sportivo - Herter Racing) in the Coppa Shell who took the top steps on the first podiums of  the season in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe, whose 31st edition got underway  beneath the Valencian sun. The Ricardo Tormo circuit also celebrated a win for Franz  Engstler (Charles Pozzi - GT Racing) on his debut in the Trofeo Pirelli Am, while in the Coppa  Shell Am it was a maiden victory for Paolo Scudieri (Sa.Mo.Car.) 

    Trofeo Pirelli. Pole position, fastest lap of the race and the final win on the Spanish track  make Eliseo Donno a sure candidate to become one of the protagonists of the new Prancing  Horse single-marque series season. The young driver from Salento, after setting an  extraordinary time of 1:34.314 in qualifying, led from pole to flag, leaving all his rivals - including many new faces in the Ferrari Challenge - lagging behind. Among them was  Britain’s Thomas Fleming (HR Owen), who finished in runner-up spot after a thrilling 13- place comeback from the grid. Third was another Italian, Max Mugelli (CDP - Eureka  Competition) who, after an excellent start, managed to expertly hold on to the lowest step  on the podium, fending off overtaking attempts from Szymon Ladniak (Gohm - Scuderia  GT), also making his debut in the series. 

    There was a clear run in the Trofeo Pirelli Am, for Franz Engstler, who dominated the 2022  Coppa Shell season, setting the fastest qualifying and race lap as well as claiming the overall  win. Behind him, there were some exciting battles throughout the race, which saw 37  overtakes: Philippe Prette (Formula Racing), five times winner of the Ferrari Challenge  APAC, took second place overall, while Hanno Laskowski (Emil Frey) finished third. 

    Coppa Shell. First triumph of the season for Axel Sartingen, who held on effectively to the  pole position he had sealed in qualifying with a 1:36.573 marker. After a Safety Car entrance  mid-race, called out while marshals restored order after several consequence-free  collisions among the Am class drivers, the German hung on to the lead even on the final  white-knuckle lap. Accompanying him on the podium were, in this order, an excellent  Manuela Gostner (CDP - MP Racing) and Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing), who was able to  overtake his fellow-countryman Roger Grouwels (Kroymans - Race Art) at the start and set  the fastest lap of 1:39.442. 

    A maiden historic success in the Coppa Shell Am for Paolo Scudieri, in his fourth season in  the Ferrari Challenge. The Italian driver from the Sa.Mo.Car. team produced a thrilling  comeback from seventh on the grid, emerging from several collisions unscathed, which  prematurely ruled out both the day’s polesitters "Boris Gideon" (Autohaus Ulrich) and  Motohiko Isozaki (Cornes Motors Shiba), who nevertheless set the fastest lap time. Roland  Hertner (Charles Pozzi - GT Racing) finished second, while third was Kirk Baerwaldt (Kessel  Racing), after the disqualification at the end of the race of car no. 188 belonging to Joseph  Schumacher (Eberlein Automobile), after scrutineering stewards found the car did not  comply with Article 3 of the technical regulations. 

    Sustainability. On the eve of the first round of the season in Valencia, the Ferrari Challenge  has seen its environmental sustainability certification confirmed for the third consecutive  year. The Prancing Horse championship is the leading single-marque series for thermally  powered cars with ISO 20121 certification, recognised by the organising body TÜV NORD  Italia. 

    Programme. Tomorrow, Sunday 26 March, the programme includes the Trofeo Pirelli  qualifying at 09:00, with the start of the race scheduled for 14:20. Coppa Shell qualifying will  get underway at 12:20, with Coppa Shell Am qualifying at 12:45 and the green flag for Race  2 for both classes at 15:30. All sessions will be viewable live, free of charge, with  commentary in English, on and on Ferrari’s YouTube channel. In Italy, the  races will also be broadcast on the Sky platform.