The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli season continued its inevitable march towards the Finali Mondiali with the completion of its fifth round in North America at Sonoma Raceway. Set against the rolling hills of wine country, the drivers of the longest-running and largest single-make series put their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evos to the test on Sonoma’s undulating and demanding circuit.
Trofeo Pirelli. Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) again secured the win on Sunday ahead of Matt Kurzejewski (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) in second and Roberto Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) taking home third. Franco was again in a class of his own, leveraging 30-minutes of green flag racing to build up a nearly eight second margin over his nearest competitor. The drama really then was for the second third and fourth positions, which also happen to represent the top three in the championship standings. Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) attempted to get past Kurzejewski several times, especially in the opening ten minutes. From there the group evened out, until the final stanza when McCarthy’s early aggression came back to haunt him in the form of higher tire degradation, allowing Roberto Perrina to slip by with a last-lap pass. In the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, Brian Cook (Ferrari of Seattle) secured his first win of the season after three prior trips to the podium. The action in Trofeo Pirelli AM was unrelenting but in the final standings it was Dave Musial (Ferrari of Lake Forest) leading home Justin Rothberg (Ferrari of Palm Beach) in second and third respectively, separated by less than a second at the line. The result marked a welcome return for Dave Musial to the podium, his first since the opening round at Homestead-Miami, while Rothberg was able to further build on his championship advantage thanks to an atypical weekend from Tony Davis (Continental Autosport).
Coppa Shell. David Voronin (Foreign Cars Italia) completed a clean sweep of Sunday’s action in the Coppa Shell category, taking pole position, securing the fastest lap and ultimately winning the race, leading home Grey Fauvre (Ferrari of San Francisco) and Cameron Root (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo). The result was an important one for Voronin as well in his title aspirations as it moves him now within eight points of championship leader, Root. In what was again a race uninterrupted by safety cars, Voronin ultimately earned a 1.8 second margin in his victory while Fauvre enjoyed a similar margin over Root. Much of the final result was decided in the opening few minutes as Fauve was able to get past Root and began to chase down Voronin, applying steady pressure throughout the race, though ultimately without success. Meanwhile in Coppa Shell AM, Bruce Cleveland (Ferrari of Silicon Valley) repeated his performance from Saturday with another win, this time leading home Steve Check (Ferrari of Rancho Mirage) and Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) who enjoyed a strong rebound performance to blunt an increasingly strong championship challenge from Lance Cawley (Ferrari of Atlanta).
Schedule. Ferrari Challenge will return for its final round in North America from September 6th through the 10th before the championship packs up and heads to Mugello for the Finali Mondiali in October.