The Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo cars put on a fine display at Monza's Temple of Speed in the opening race of the 2021 Trofeo Pirelli season. In the elite class, victory went to Michelle Gatting (Scuderia Niki - Iron Lynx) after a gritty performance, while in the AM class, Ange Barde (Sf Grand Est & Côte d'Azur) took the honours on his return to Ferrari Challenge.
The race began with a twist in the plot that saw sixteen-year-old rookie Luka Nurmi (Formula Racing) immediately eliminated from the competition. The day’s pole-sitter got entangled in a collision involving several cars at turn one, caused after Frederik Paulsen (Formula Racing) had run wide. Matùš Výboh (Scuderia Praha) snatched the lead, with John Wartique (Francorchamps Motors Luxembourg) and Michelle Gatting in hot pursuit.
French driver Ange Barde stamped his authority all over the AM class, from pole to flag, taking fourth overall place and registering a series of lap times worthy of the top guns. Behind came Danish Christian Brunsborg (Formula Racing), ahead of an excellent Arno Dahlmeyer (Scuderia Niki - Iron Lynx).
At the head of the field, thanks to a plucky overtaking manoeuvre at the braking point of turn one, Michelle Gatting was able to outstrip Wartique and immediately go on the hunt for race leader Výboh, who then made a slip-up, handing the open track ahead to the driver in the Niki - Iron Lynx livery. The Danish driver handled the race leadership with determination and eventually went on to claim the final victory, whilst also clocking up the fast lap of 1:50.394. Alongside her on the podium, were Výboh in second and Wartique third.
An authoritative, yet relatively comfortable display from Ange Barde saw the AM class driver hold the lead until the finish-line, wrapping up a notable return to the Challenge with a win. Following behind was young Brunsborg, proving highly competitive, to take second in the class and eighth overall, while Hugo Delacour (Scuderia Monte-Carlo) rounded out the podium. An excellent fourth place in the class went to Spanish rookie Sergio Paulet (Santogal Madrid - MST Team), who finished ahead of Dahlmeyer and Alessandro Cozzi (Formula Racing), first among the Italian drivers.