The Ferrari Challenge Europe is entering the second half of the season after the excitement of its 4th round at Le Mans. The battle resumes this week at the Nürburgring Circuit between the stars of the world’s most famous one-make championship. Although the Prancing Horse series has visited this circuit since its inception – when the Challenge Europe was still geographically divided into subgroups – Maranello’s cars haven’t been back to the 5,148-metre (3.198-mile) German track since 2008.
Trofeo Pirelli. After the Le Mans race, Louis Prette leads the class ranking on 92 points. The Italian driver is over 55 points ahead of Sam Smith, his closest rival in the fight for the title. The 2016 champion has been very competitive so far and in France won a podium place after some very unlucky outings.
One man who seems to be laboring under a curse is Niccolò Schirò. A real star at the start of the season, he was forced to retire at Le Mans and has a haul of just nine points from the last three races, putting him in third place in the standings, 18 points behind Prette. Finally, all eyes are on Adam Carroll who has won every race since his series debut. Although he is 39 points behind Prette, he still hopes to pull something off, at least as long as it is mathematically possible. We should also not underestimate Bjorn Grossmann, a true connoisseur of the Nürburgring, Thomas Neubauer, seeking compensation after an accident on the first lap at Le Mans that knocked him out of the running, and the rookie Lennart Marioneck.
Trofeo Pirelli Am. Nine drivers, including the rookie Walter Ben Doerenberg, will start in a class where just two points separate Emanuele Maria Tabacchi and Jack Brown. The pair are over 50 points in front of Jan Danis in third on 52. The absence of the Scuderia Praha driver and Fredrik Espersen gives Christian Overgaard the chance to make up significant ground in the standings.
Coppa Shell. Tani Hanna and Ernst Kirchmayr are set to continue the heated battle raging since the opening round in Bahrain. The two, separated by 11 points with the Lebanese driver in front, have a clear margin separating them from Eric Cheung and James Weiland in joint third. Fons Scheltema, Ken Abe and Christian Kinch are also still mathematically in with a chance, although Hanna has around 200 metres to make up. Holger Harmsen and Werner Genter are also aiming to create some space for themselves as competitors in their debut at the Nürburgring.
Coppa Shell Am. Eleven drivers are due to start in the class currently led by Laurent De Meeus. After his victory at Le Mans, the Belgian has a comfortable 32-point advantage over Henrik Jansen, the closest of his pursuers. After an unfortunate Le Mans, Agata Smolka will try to gain at least one position in the standings.
Programme. The Ferrari Challenge Europe races are part of the rich programme of Ferrari Racing Days. Free practice opens on Friday and qualifying for the Trofeo Pirelli takes place on Saturday from 9 am to 9:30 am, while the race kicks off at 2:20 pm. At 10:20 am the pit lane opens for the qualifying for the Coppa Shell race, which takes place that afternoon at 3:55 pm. The programme will repeat itself on Sunday.