The first race of the Ferrari Challenge at the Spielberg circuit was very thrilling, with overtaking and contacts that we can relive through the words of some of the competitors in the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell.
Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126): “Starting from tenth place, I am very pleased to have finished second. I didn’t make any mistakes, and I certainly collected some very useful points for the championship. Tomorrow we will try to improve the result if possible even though it will be difficult, as I will have to start from the back due to the Grid Handicap. I still have to try to finish the race among the top positions to keep my title hopes alive”.
Tani Hanna (Formula Racing): “In qualifying, I had a small problem with the ABS that stopped me from taking pole, even though I had shown in the free practice that I had the potential. Looking at the times in the various sectors, I knew that I had the necessary speed to recover and fight for the podium. I was hoping for a race with no Safety Car because I knew it would slow me down, but luckily it went back in after just one lap, so it didn’t affect my strategy. I am sorry about Eric (Cheung) because I think he could have won and maybe the team earn a nice one-two, but races are unpredictable. For sure the incident involving him and Murat (Cuhadaroglu) made it easier for me, but I think I would have anyway been in the fight for victory. I am delighted to have won and to have stretched my lead in the standings over Kirchmayr.”
Alexander Nussbaumer (Scuderia Gohm): “I am pleased with the result because I didn’t think I’d finish on the podium after an unsatisfactory qualifying session. In the race I changed my trajectories, looking for dirt to get more grip and finding more speed and consistency in my pace. This allowed me to be more competitive and to take advantage of some favourable events on the track to finish second.”
Agate Smolka (Rossocorsa): “To win today is something special for me, and I’m almost as excited as I was about my first victory in Bahrain. Tomorrow will be difficult because of the Grid Handicap, but I will try to get back on the podium and fight to win.”
Louis Prette (Formula Racing): “It was a good podium, won without taking excessive risks so as not to throw away my chance to close the points gap in the standings given what happened to Schirò and Smeeth. This is why I preferred not to attack Grossmann because it made no sense to run risks, also because of the track conditions that were increasingly difficult in the rain. Tomorrow we have to try to qualify well and, since heavy rainfall is expected, we will need to work out why we are not competitive in these conditions.”
Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham): “We are in an excellent championship position, and the win is also important for tomorrow’s race. I made a great start and kept away from potentially dangerous situations, which were not lacking during the race. I also kept my focus in the final stages when, with dry tyres, it started to rain. I had never driven the 488 Challenge before in these conditions, so I was a bit nervous, but in the end, I won without making any mistakes. I am hoping for a repeat tomorrow.”
Frederik Espersen (Forza Racing): “I had a truly amazing race. I’ve not yet taken in that I came second! I got off to an excellent start and, after avoiding the accidents ahead of me, maintained a constant and fast pace, keeping an eye on my rivals in the mirrors. Tomorrow I hope to further improve on this result. I’m training hard to improve race after race, through studying the tracks, the simulator and watching many videos so I can be increasingly prepared for these events.”
Oliver Plassmann (Autohaus Ulrich): “I can’t deny the fact that it was a challenging race because a mistake was always just around the corner. The important thing today was to cross the finish line and try to keep away from possible trouble. A famous phrase in the racing world goes: “If you want to finish first, you have to finish first”, and I tried to take it on. I was lucky to finish third, but I think I still had a good race. If tomorrow’s conditions are similar to today’s I can hope for another podium, but rain is forecast, and I haven’t driven this car much in the wet, so I don’t know what to expect from the race.”