WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 21. Points leader Darius Grala had qualified on pole for today's 30 minute Ferrari Challenge race, but problems cost him the win. The race, at the historic Watkins Glen course, was the first of two Challenge races...
WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 21. Points leader Darius Grala had qualified on pole for today's 30 minute Ferrari Challenge race, but problems cost him the win. The race, at the historic Watkins Glen course, was the first of two Challenge races scheduled this weekend.
Grala took the lead at the green flag, but it didn't last. At the end of the second lap Doug Peterson, Grala's teammate at Shelton Sports Cars during the 2001 season and 2002 rival, drafted past on the front straight of the 3.4 mile course and took the lead going into Turn One. Only a lap or so later Grala pitted, suffering from electrical problems. His crew, from Ferrari of Orange County, got Grala back on course but too far back in the field to again be a factor.
While Peterson lead the balance of the 15 lap race, his win was never a certainty until the checkered flag. Michael Louli (Ferrari of Ontario) and Jim Kenton (Ferrari of Washington) battled with Peterson for the first three places on every lap. The three Ferraris would occasionally get two abreast in the corners during spirited racing, but Peterson was able to take the win, with a margin of victory of just over 1 second. Louli and Kenton finished second and third respectively.
Grala's problems were costly; the grid for Saturday's race was set by the finishing order, so he will be staring on the last row. Grala had taken the Championship lead from Peterson at the previous race, and while he maintains that lead, today's result allowed Peterson to close within a few points.
Participants in the Ferrari Challenge compete in specially-built racing versions of the Ferrari 360 Modena, with preparation and race support handled by teams formed by authorized Ferrari dealers in North America. The next races for the North American Ferrari Challenge will be at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada on July 27-28.