Octane 126 kicks off 488 era
Former GP2 Series champion Fabio Leimer claimed the first victory of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge Europe season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, in Valencia. The Octane 126 driver took the lead at the first lap to dominate ahead of Rossocorsa’s Philipp Baron and team mate Bjorn Grossmann. British driver Sam Smeeth, making his debut in the Trofeo Pirelli category, finished fourth in his Stratstone Ferrari’s 488 Challenge car. Scuderia Autoropa’s Martin Nelson prevailed in the AM class after fighting with rookie Chris Froggatt (HR Owen).
The 2015 European Le Mans Series champion Johnny Laursen dominated the Coppa Shell race one with the 488 Challenge of Formula Racing. The Danish driver enjoyed a perfect start and quickly built up a lead, leaving his team mate Eric Cheung and Kessel Racing’s Rick Lovat to battle it out for second place.
In Sunday race two of Trofeo Pirelli, Grossmann started again from the pole position and took the lead ahead of Fabio Leimer. The German driver extended his advantage with some fast laps to claim his first win of the season. Third place went to CDP Italian driver Andrea Gagliardini, who got off to a perfect start, jumping ahead of the second row drivers Baron and Smeeth. Baron fought with Gagliardini but ended up losing a further position to the benefit of Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing’s Alessandro Vezzoni. The Austrian started to catch up on the group overtaking Vezzoni and Smeeth, before pursuing Gagliardini. The Rossocorsa driver managed to overtake the rival on the final lap but he did it after a contact that costed him a five-second penalty. The Am class saw a repeat of the Race-1 podium as Marin Nelson doubled. Canadian Lovat dominated the Coppa Shell race. Laursen finished second ahead of his team mate Tani Hanna.