Abu Dhabi, 4 December –The Ferrari Challenge Europe championship has already been decided with one race still to go. Daniele Di Amato, Ezequiel Perez Companc and Massimiliano Bianchi took the titles in the Trofeo Pirelli Pro, the Trofeo Pirelli Am and the Coppa Shell respectively. Their victories came at the end of a dramatic race, which featured a lot of wheel to wheel action and thrilling passing moves, not all of them successful, thus leading to the occasional accident.
No fewer than 44 Ferrari 458 Challenge Evo cars were on the grid and the first drama soon followed on lap 2, when Dario Caso (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing) had to retire after a collision with another car. His department meant Daniele Di Amata was able to manage his race without having to attack, settling for the points for third place to take the title.
In the lead was the unstoppable Philip Baron (Rossocorsa,) who started from pole and on the second lap, he set the fastest lap, running away from his team-mate Costantino Bertuzzi, pulling out nine tenths on the Italian at every lap. Baron took the flag 10 seconds ahead of Bertuzzi and around 15 in front of Di Amato (Motor Piacenza.)
Massimiliano Bianchi (Kessel Racing) was totally dominant, taking the lead by overtaking pole man Ernesto Prinoth. Then after a few laps, he was guaranteed the title when Fons Scheltema made a mistake and dropped down the order. There were tears of joy from the Italian from Rome at the end of the race, when he stood on the podium. Scheltema (Kessel Racing,) was left with the consolation of winning the Coppa Gentlemen.
The Pirelli Am title was also decided, going to a driver who made a virtue of his consistency: Ezequiel Perez Companc (Motor Piacenza). The Argentine only managed two wins but made it to the podium no less than eight times this season, coming second behind Tommaso Rocca (Rossocorsa) getting enough points to put him out of reach of Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing,) his closest pursuer, who was third. In this category, Rocca made a great move on David Gostner, who was leading the race at this point.
Ferrari Challenge North America and APAC-Party for five: Prette is Pirelli champion
Four winners but it was a party for five in the penultimate round of this season’s Ferrari Challenge North America and APAC. In fact, in this category, there was only one title left to be decided, the Pirelli Pro APAC and it went in favour of Philippe Prette, the Hong Kong driver who managed to bring home enough points to put the title out of reach of Australia’s Steve Wyatt.
The race win went to Max Blancardi, who finished ahead of the aforementioned Prette and Angelo Negro. In the Coppa Shell, there was a surprise win for the Lebanese driver Tari Hanna, who clearly pleased to be close to home, took off, beating Vicente Floirendo from the Philippines and Australia’s Paul van Loenhout. Here, the title had been decided long ago by David Tjiptobiantoro. There were few surprises in the two Challenge North America races, which were won by the men who had dominated the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell; Mexico’s Ricardo Perez and the American Chris Ruud. Perez came home ahead of the American Henrik Hedman and the Canadian John Farana. As for Ruud, he beat Canada’s Robert Herjavec and the American Darren Crystal. Tomorrow it all starts over with Race 2 which will be a warm-up for the race for the world title, which takes place on Saturday.