On the first day of racing in the third round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK, held at Donington Park circuit, there were victories for Lucky Khera (Graypaul Birmingham) in the Trofeo Pirelli and Jason Ambrose (Dick Lovett Swindon) in the Coppa Shell, allowing both to stretch their leads in their respective classes.
Trofeo Pirelli. Khera took his third win of the season at the end of a closely fought race. At the beginning of the second lap, Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst) was able to overtake both Khera and H. Sikkens (H.R. Owen London), who had started from pole position. Sikkens qualified just 0.016 seconds ahead of Khera on his last lap of qualifying before heavy rain. The move saw all three drivers side-by-side into turn one, with Khera also managing to overtake Sikkens to maintain his second position, albeit behind Morrow, whilst Sikkens fell from first to third. The trio were then the protagonists in a heated battle for the lead that continued throughout the first part of the race. The decisive moment came immediately after the Safety Car was called out to remove Faisal Al-Faisal’s (HR Owen London) car, stuck in the gravel at turn 1.
On lap 14, at the last chicane before the main straight, Morrow made a slightly error that allowed Khera to take the lead and hold it until the finish line. Behind him, Morrow tenaciously defended himself from the repeated attacks of Sikkens who, on the last lap, also made a mistake on the same corner, landing him off the track. This put an end to his podium ambitions and he finished in fifth position. Third place went to Graham De Zille (Meridien Modena) after Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) gained a 10-second penalty for being out of position at the start.
Coppa Shell. Starting from the class pole, Ambrose maintained the lead of the race from the first to the last metre without challenge, even after the restart. For the Dick Lovett Swindon driver, it was the third consecutive success in his first year on the track. Paul Rogers (JCT600 Leeds) finished the race in second place, with Stuart Marston (Maranello Sales) gaining third after stewards imposed a 10-second penalty on Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) for being out of position at the start.
Programme. Tomorrow, Sunday 26 June, track activities will resume at 10.55am with qualifying for Race 2, which starts at 3pm.
Andrew Morrow, second place Trofeo Pirelli: “It feels good to be back on the podium. As I came down the main straight, I saw my moment and just went for it, and I got into first place. Once I got by, I was a hard fight at the front and then the safety car bunched them all up behind me. A couple of laps later, Lucky Khera got me but I kept Sikkens behind. He was all over me until his spin on the last corner, but it was a good race. He put a lot of pressure on me throughout, but it was a really good race”.
Graham De-Zille, third place Trofeo Pirelli: “Very pleased with a podium finish. We had a podium finish in the first round, a long time ago at Oulton Park, but I’ve kept trying. We had a good first practice, then second practice and qualifying weren’t as good, but then Matt, my driver coach, did some magic with the car and it just came back to me. A lot of this is down to Matt and I had a great race. It was tricky as I knew that Paul Hogarth was in front of me but he had a penalty, so there is a point where you are not going to risk anything to get ahead. I was very happy with the finish”.
Jason Ambrose, winner in the Coppa Shell
Paul Rogers, second place Coppa Shell: “I’m really happy with second place; I had a bad cold last week so I was really tired going into the race. I didn’t do any physical training ahead of the weekend, which I always do, so I wasn’t feeling prepared and on the warm up laps, I was feeling tired. As I started the race, I wasn’t sure I was going to finish it but then I got the bit between my teeth, passed a couple of cars and got into second place. I was just behind the guy in first, but I couldn’t catch Jason Ambrose, he did a really good job. I fully enjoyed the race”.
Stuart Marston, third place Coppa Shell: “Unbelievable. I never thought I’d get on the podium in my rookie year. It’s just brilliant. It feels amazing. The race was challenging, trying to put it together for 30 minutes and keep your cool and know where you are, what position; it’s a big difference third to fourth, so I am very, very happy”.