Torrential rain greeted the drivers for the final days racing for Ferrari Challenge Europe in Imola. After this weekend’s races both championships remain wide open.
The heaviest rain of the day fell as the Trofeo Pirelli cars took to the grid and the race started under the Safety Car as the conditions were far different from the bright sunshine in which qualifying was held. When the field was released with just over 21 minutes of the race to run Sergey Chukanov got an excellent start, the start was so good in fact that he later received a drive through penalty for premature overtaking. Daniel Mancinelli was also on the move putting in a brave performance to take fourth place.
Daniele Di Amato was not satisfied with sitting in the spray of leader Dario Caso and put in a bold move on the start finish straight. However soon the conditions overwhelmed him, he spun loosing places to both Caso and Chukanov, the Ukrainian driver taking the lead. All the hard work of championship contender Mancinelli was also in vein as he spun on standing water and hit the barriers bringing out the safety car again.
After the Safety car was withdrawn with 16 minutes of the race to run a fast charging Philipp Baron continued his charge up the order after starting in tenth position. The other man on the move was Lorenzo Casé fresh from securing second in the ELMS GTC championship last night at Paul Ricard in France. Baron overtook Di Amato to take second position and he inherited the lead as Chukanov had to serve his drive through penalty. Baron took the win, followed by Di Amato and Casé in an impressive performance considering the conditions and the fact that he started at the back of the grid.
“The conditions were really tough,” said Baron. “I nearly lost the car twice on the warm up laps, but the conditions suited me more than the others. I am really pleased to win today – it makes up for yesterday!”
The result of today’s race means that we head into the World Finals with Chukanov leading the championship by 22 points (156 total) over Mancinelli (134) the young Italian collecting just 11 points from this weekend to the Ukrainian’s haul of 33.
The Coppa Shell race again started behind the safety car because of the standing water, although conditions were better than the earlier race and action could begin after just a few minutes. Giosuè Rizzuto lead the field followed by title contender David Gostner, Fernando Baiz and Eric Prinoth. The man on the move this time was Team Ukraine driver Andrii Lebed from seventh on the grid he passed first Prinoth and the Baiz, but there was no catching the leading pair.
David Gostner kept the pressure on Rizzuto but try as he might he could not catch the Motor Malucelli driver and Gostner had to settle for 17 championship points for second, Lebed finished third.
Championship leader Dirk Adamski can continue his recovery from major surgery at home in the knowledge that he still leads the championship by 7 points (153), David Gostner is second with 146 and Lebed is third with 127 points.
Both Championships will be decided at the World Final to be held in Mugello 7-10 November. The Finali Mondiali brings together the three Ferrari Challenges around the world, Europe, Asia Pacific and North America to join the F1 Clienti and XX Programmes in the ultimate festival of Ferrari racing.