With three months to go before Ferrari Racing Days to be held at the Nürburgring, the protagonists of Ferrari Challenge Europe will be back on track at Imola for the sixth round of the season. Forty-nine drivers take up the 4,909-metre challenge at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, as usual divided into four classes.
Trofeo Pirelli. Leader in the overall standings, Louis Prette (Formula Racing) arrives at the event in Imola with a twenty-point advantage over Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) and twenty-six ahead of Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport) who, at the very same Imola in 2017, clinched a maiden victory in Trofeo Pirelli. Prette, with three victories to his name, one more than Schirò, will have two adversaries from Octane 126, Bjorn Grossmann and Fabienne Wohlwend, who both know how to win on this track. The German driver claimed victory in Race-1 in 2017, while Wohlwend took top honours in Race-2 of the Coppa Shell, climbing onto the top step of the podium of Prancing Horse’s single-marque competition for the first time. Expected contenders will be the lightning fast Adam Carroll (Ferrari Budapest) and Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage) while Cooper MacNeil (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), overall leader in the Trofeo Pirelli standings of Challenge North America, who will get a chance to savour the competitiveness of the European drivers whom he faces in the Finali Mondiali scheduled for Mugello from 24 to 27 October.
Trofeo Pirelli Am. The battle involving Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (Rossocorsa) and Jack Brown (Graypaul Nottingham) which began in Bahrain, looks likely to continue at the track on the shores of the Santerno. The previous round in Nürburgring shook up the standings, propelling the Italian to the top of the leader board with a 13-point advantage over the English driver. Further down the rankings, but by no means out of the battle for victory, are drivers such as Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa), who in Imola in 2017 won Race-1 and finished runner-up in Race-2. Back at the wheel of the 488 Challenge will be Manuela Gostner, member of Kessel Racing’s all-female crew in ELMS. Christian Overgaard (Forza Racing), Jan Danis (Scuderia Praha) and Matús Vyboh (Scuderia Praha) hope to be vying for contention whilst aiming to consolidate their place in the overall standings.
Coppa Shell. With sixteen drivers taking the start of the Coppa Shell, the class is confirmed as the most crowded in the Ferrari Challenge Europe. It is also the class featuring the widest points advantage for a driver heading the rankings compared to the pursuers. At the top of the leader board lies Lebanese driver Tani Hanna (Formula Racing) with 124 points, 31 more than Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) who was on the podium at the weekend in Singapore, for the sixth round of the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific. Imola presents one of the final opportunities that the Baron Motorsport driver and Eric Cheung (Formula Racing) have to whittle down the gap with the leader of the overall standings. Mathematically still in with a chance are James Weiland (Rossocorsa, absent at Imola), Ken Abe (Formula Racing) and Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing). The class features four drivers making their maiden season outing: Andreas Segler (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), one of the protagonists of the most recent edition of the Trofeo Pirelli AM at the wheel of the 458 Challenge, French driver Charles Rupp (Modena Motors – SLR), Canadian John Farano (Rossocorsa) and Italian Roberto Cava (Formula Racing).
Coppa Shell Am. Despite a weekend to forget at Nürburgring, Laurent De Meeus (HR Owen) continues to hold the leadership of the Coppa Shell Am standings, keeping his adversaries in check with 112 points, 15 more than Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa). The Pole appears to be the only one able to challenge the Belgian at the top of the overall standings, as Henrik Jansen – in spite of three victories and third overall position – lies 34 points behind. After the successes in Germany, Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing) and Ingvar Mattson (Scuderia Autoropa) aim to extend their winning streak, while Dane Henrik Kamstrup (Forza Racing) makes his comeback in the Challenge at Imola.
Schedule. After the days dedicated to testing and free practice, Saturday the drivers will do battle at 9:00 and 9:45 to determine the Race-1 starting grid, due to get underway at 12:50 for Coppa Shell and 15:35 for the Trofeo Pirelli. Sunday starts at similar times with the first of the final classification results expected to emerge.