Reports from Silverstone Paddock

Silverstone 21 settembre 2022

The weather may have been chilly over the weekend, but the atmosphere was fiery on the internationally historic Northamptonshire motorsport track. Silverstone hosted round five of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe along with the final round of the British series, which crowned its 2022 season champions. However, we won’t know the outcome of the continental championship until the upcoming rounds at Mugello (7-9 October) and the Finali Mondiali at Imola (26-31 October). Already looking forward to next year, the 2023 series’ calendars were unveiled at a special event during the British weekend.

Coming back to mind. Ten years ago, Silverstone made history with 964 Ferraris completing a lap of the circuit. It was the world’s biggest cavalcade of Maranello-brand cars. This extraordinary achievement went into the Guinness World Records and is still unmatched today. 

End of a winning streak. Ange Barde (SF Cote d’Azur Cannes – IB FAST) and Silverstone enjoy a special and winning connection. This, despite it not being his favourite circuit, which he claims is the Paul Ricard. It’s not even his favourite on a technical level, which he insists is Mugello. E davvero vincente. Before the weekend, the French driver boasted four victories out of four appearances at the British circuit. Three of these were with Ferrari. This winning streak continued with Saturday’s triumph. However, it ended abruptly on Sunday when he failed to finish on the podium due to bad luck and a penalty for overrunning the track limits. It was only his second time off the podium this year after Budapest. The fifth-place finish plus a win for Marco Pulcini (Al Tayer Motors) leave the Trofeo Pirelli Am title undecided ahead of the next rounds. It all kicks off again at Mugello.

Excellent debut. Angelo Fontana’s debut in the Challenge Europe with Rossocorsa was astonishing. The Venezuelan Ferrari lover and owner arrived at Silverstone as an absolute newcomer. His compatriot Christian Potolicchio, already a star in the Prancing Horse one-make series, involved him in the sports project, accompanying him as a friend and coach. Fontana didn’t let his emotions get in the way, showing determination as he tackled one of the most technical circuits in the world. After finishing seventh in Race-1, he took an extraordinary second place in Sunday’s Trofeo Pirelli Am race.

Prophets in their own country. During the round of the joint Ferrari Challenge British and European series weekend, several home-grown drivers stood out. Some competed in both events. One of these was the recently crowned Trofeo Pirelli UK champion, Lucky Khera (Graypaul Birmingham), who celebrated the British championship with ninth place in Trofeo Pirelli Am Europe Race-1. Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) finished fifth and sixth in the Coppa Shell Am Europe. At the end of the weekend, he bade farewell to Silverstone with two podium finishes in the Coppa Shell UK. Among British drivers, after his positive experience in 2019, Jack Brown (Graypaul Nottingham) made an excellent return to the one-make series. He took pole position and a second-place finish in Trofeo Pirelli Am Europe Race-1. 

Bitter-sweet Manuela. All eyes in the paddock were on her car’s livery, white with pink and blue details, perfectly coordinated with her racing suit. Manuela Gostner (CDP – MP Racing), who declared her love for this track and excitement at tackling the legendary Becketts corner, says she chose these colours to unite masculine and feminine. This was probably also reflected in her determined driving style – especially in Coppa Shell Race-2, when after a challenging qualifying session, she mounted a miraculous comeback with some spectacular overtaking to finish third. Only a penalty for overshooting the track limits kept her off the podium.  

Thanks to a fire extinguisher. Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst) came into the race weekend just nineteen points behind the Trofeo Pirelli UK Championship leader. However, the car’s onboard fire extinguisher went off at the start of Qualifying-1, forcing him to pit after four laps. This left him at the back of the Race-1 starting grid. Morrow climbed back to third in a race featuring two Safety Cars and the withdrawal of several rivals. 

Breaking barriers. British series newcomer Carl Cavers (Graypaul Nottingham) posted the series’ first ever fastest lap in both the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell. He was also the only driver to clock two minutes and three seconds on the Silverstone circuit, earning him a pole position.