After a thrill-filled, entertaining thirty minutes at a partially rain-interrupted Misano circuit, Roger Grouwels (Race Art – Kroymans) and “Alex Fox” (SF Grand Est Mulhouse) took Race 2 victories and claimed their respective title laurels in the Coppa Shell and Coppa Shell Am classes. For the Dutchman, the championship title came with a seventh season win, while for “Alex Fox” a fourth triumph saw him seal the Am championship title with one race still to run at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali weekend, set to take place at the Misano World Circuit in early November.
It was fireworks from the first corner, as an unbridled Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) managed to slip past Roger Grouwels and begin to hunt down pole-sitter Christian Kinch (Formula Racing) who nevertheless managed to fend off the attacks from the Austrian. Behind Grouwels, in third, an excellent Claudio Schiavoni (Scuderia Niki – Iron Lynx) continued to pound hard, but was subsequently sanctioned with a 10-second penalty for cutting a corner at the start.
With the leading quartet every more compact, a ruckus was being raised behind as Am class pole-sitter “Alex Fox” came under attack from Laurent De Meeus (HR Owen), determined to replicate yesterday’s win. At the head of the field, meanwhile, after several minutes monitoring his opponents ahead, Roger Grouwels pounced on Kirchmayr, managing to complete an extraordinary overtaking manoeuvre around the outside of the Carro turn to move up into second position.
As the first drops of rain began to fall, Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing) – sixth overall – in an attempt to pull back amongst the frontrunners, moving in behind an excellent Axel Sartingen (Lueg Sportivo), rear-ended Laurent De Meeus, causing the pair to spin off, forcing both to withdraw and prompting a Safety Car entrance while track safety was re-established, leaving just thirteen minutes of racing still left on the clock.
The thrills resumed as the racing recommenced, with Roger Grouwels pulling off a delightful manoeuvre at turn 3, this time taking out Kinch to snatch the lead. Immediately afterwards, Kirchmayr also managed to get the better of Kinch, in some difficulty and being threatened by Schiavoni and Corinna Gostner (CDP – MP Racing) who after passing “Alex Fox” made a determined effort to hunt down her direct class rivals.
The French driver, leader of Coppa Shell Am, then had to fend off a surge from direct rivals in a hard, but fair, battle involving Michael Simoncic (Baron Motorsport), Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), Miroslav Vyboh (Scuderia Praha), Matteo Lualdi (Kessel Racing) and Willem Van Der Vorm (Scuderia Montecarlo).
With the rain becoming more and more insistent, Corinna Gostner, with an excellent overtaking move on Schiavoni at the Quercia curve, managed to take fourth position and went on the hunt of Kinch. With the track becoming wetter, Kirchmayr edged closer to Grouwels with a series of fast laps, before a heart-pounding final lap which saw the Dutch driver stage a fine defence of his lead to take the win and the championship title.
A similar epilogue occurred in Am class, with “Alex Fox” repelling attacks from Simoncic right down to the wire, producing the fastest laps in the class before eventually posting fourth place overall, claiming both the win on the day and the season title honours. Behind him, in addition to Simoncic – second in the class and fifth overall – was an excellent Ramelli who rounded out the podium, with Schiavoni, Corinna and Thomas Gostner (CDP – MP Racing) placing behind in the final order.
Next stop for all the Coppa Shell protagonists will be the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, also to be held at the Misano World Circuit from November 5-8.