Monterey, 14 May 2017 – A blustery, chilly morning gave way to sunshine and mostly blue skies in Northern California for Race 2 of the first round of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli North America. Drivers had clearly acclimatized to their new 488 Challenge cars as times tumbled compared to Race-1 on Saturday.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. In Trofeo Pirelli AM Marc Muzzo of Ferrari of Ontario made good on his pole position to take the checkered flag on Sunday in the first race of the day. A clean, but contested start provided plenty of drama as the field of 488 Challenge cars streamed through the fast Turn 1 and into the heavy braking for the Andretti Hairpin. Just behind Marc, Chris Cagnazzi of Ferrari of Long Island applied heavy pressure to Jean-Claude Saada of Boardwalk Ferrari. Saada, however, had an answer and pumped in the fastest lap of the race thus far, a 1:29.2 on lap 7.
Coppa Shell. In Coppa Shell, Karl Williams took off from pole position in his Scuderia Corsa prepared 488 Challenge car and did not look back. A caution on lap 9 closed the field back together, but Karl had an answer, even as Barry Zekelman of Ferrari of Ontario began to close the gap towards the end of the race. Rookie Robert Picerne was able to capture the Gentleman’s Trophy.
Trofeo Pirelli. High drama struck the Trofeo Pirelli class in their second race of the weekend when pole-sitter Cooper MacNeil of Ferrari of Silicon Valley and second place driver Wei Lu (Ferrari of Vancouver) touched and spun in the middle of the Andretti Hairpin. Drivers dodged to either side of the two cars as they faced the wrong direction and were forced to wait for the field to pass. Wei was able to continue in his Ferrari of Vancouver prepared 488 Challenge car in 21st position, but Cooper was out. Out of the chaos, Enzo Potolicchio, Peter Ludwig and Ricardo Perez emerged in first, second and third respectively in the Trofeo Pirelli class.
Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO. Fortunately, the incident did not cause too much chaos in the Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO class, which started behind the Trofeo Pirelli class. Joseph Rubbo maintained his qualifying advantage after Turn 1. John Boyd of Ferrari of Denver and Naveen Rao of Ferrari of San Diego enjoyed an intense battle in the first few laps for second position. However, heartbreak soon followed for Naveen who pulled to the side of the track on lap 5 and triggered a full course caution period. This, however, played right into the hands of Wei Lu who had overtaken most of the 458 EVO class by then and used the caution to close up to the back of the Trofeo Pirelli 488 class competitors.
Final laps. Peter Ludwig survived sustained pressure from Ricardo Perez to take the victory after a late time penalty was applied to Enzo Potolicchio and fell to ninth position, moving Martin Fuentes onto the podium. In the Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO class, Rubbo built and maintained a strong gap and stayed out of the intense battle for second between Trevor Baek and Oscar Paredes-Arroyo with James Walker close behind. A last lap collision brought out caution flags, but not before James had sneaked past Oscar for the final position on the podium. Lisa Clark of Ferrari of Beverly Hills took the Ladies Cup after another close-fought race with Debra Palermo. The next North American round of the Ferrari Challenge will take place on June 11th in Montreal where Challenge will support the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.