James Weiland enjoyed the best possible return to the Ferrari Challenge Europe, with a commanding victory ahead of the star of Imola, Roger Grouwels. In the Coppa Shell Am, Dusan Palcr left no room for his rivals, dominating the class ahead of “Boris Gideon”, who claimed second in the final moments.
Weiland breakaway. The Barcelona track hosted the first race of the Catalan weekend with an air temperature of 25c and the tarmac at 41c. When the lights went out, James Weiland got off to an excellent start to enter turn one ahead of Ernst Kirchmayr and Fons Scheltema, while in the Coppa Shell Am, Dusan Palcr passed Willem Van der Vorm to take number one spot.
The race pace was remarkable, and after one lap Weiland already enjoyed a 2.6-second advantage over the first of the pursuers. Grouwels, who put in an excellent performance at Imola, battled his compatriot Fons Scheltema for third position. He finally passed him on turn 10 of lap two, throttling down hard. The Dutchman let rip and soon was on the tail of Kirchmayr who, in the previous laps, had built up a small lead. In the Coppa Shell Am, Palcr was well ahead of his pursuers, who, in contrast, were tightly bunched up, with six drivers within just three seconds of each other.
Gripping duel. While Weiland relentlessly continued to pull away, so much so that he enjoyed a six-second lead over Kirchmayr by lap 10, the Austrian had to work hard to counter Grouwels’ assaults. In the Am, “Boris Gideon” managed to overtake Laurent De Meeus for third place.
The race was marked by a duel for second place overall. Grouwels’ pressure on Kirchmayr eventually paid off as the Austrian, who defended his position very tenaciously and fairly, spun two laps from the end. This left the way clear for the Race Art-Kroymans driver and Fons Scheltema who crossed the line just nine-tenths ahead of him.
Unexpected changes. In the Coppa Shell Am, although Palcr was out of reach, the final minutes of the race changed the face of the standings. De Meeus, in an attempt to overtake “Alex Fox” lost a position to the advantage of Moser. At the same time, Miroslav Vyboh, who had made encouraging progress, ended up spinning at the last chicane. In the fight for second place, “Boris Gideon” got the better of Van der Vorm recording the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap. Fourth place went to “Alex Fox” ahead of Moser.
Race-2. Qualifying for the Coppa Shell Race-2 will take place from 10am to 10:30am on Sunday, while the thirty-minute race will start at 2pm.