Coleman and Ramelli take Coppa Shell regional wins
American Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) and Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing) took the wins in the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell North America and Europe categories respectively after a nice and clean 30-minute race 1 around the undulating 5.245 km Mugello circuit in perfect racing conditions.
All eyes were on the key battle for the title between Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) and James Weiland (Rossocorsa), who had qualified first and sixth respectively, but after the front row of the 41-car field had powered into Turn 1 three abreast with the addition of Coleman and Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing), the safety car came out before they could finish lap 1 as Roy Carroll (Foreign Cars Italia) lost control and finished against the barriers.
Coleman was able to control proceedings from the restart, setting a phenomenal pace inside the 1:54s and holding Kirchmayr at bay by a full second, but the Austrian was happy to keep an eye on Weiland, who was not making much progress down in fifth.
At the mid-point, it was Coleman ahead of Kirchmayr, Fons Sceltema, in terrific form in third, Peter Christensen (Formula Racing), the AM class leader, then Weiland and Ramelli.
With ten minutes remaining, Kirchmayr had reduced the gap to Coleman to 0.5s, but that was the closest he was going to get as the safety car came out again after a hard-charging Weiland made a rare mistake ended up in the gravel, albeit losing only one place. At the same time, Christensen’s brilliant race came to an end when he made a risky overtaking move on Scheltema but got bogged down in the gravel, thus losing his AM class lead.
With two minutes to go Coleman once again started to pull away from Kirchmayr, while Scheltema came under attack from Manny Franco, who put in one of the drives of the race by moving up from thirteenth on the grid to fourth.
All this allowed Ramelli to retake the AM lead after his not particularly brilliant start, and he finished fourth in the European standings, ahead of his category rival Alexander Nussbaumer (Gohm Motorsport).
Weiland came home sixth with the final podium place in the PRO standings, with Laurent De Meeus (HR Owen-FF Corse) seventh overall and third in AM after a good recovery, overtaking Willem van der Vorm (Scuderia Monte-Carlo) at the end.
At this point, the title battle between Kirchmayr and Weiland will go down to the wire in tomorrow’s second race.
Christian Herdt-Wipper (Saggio Munchen) was ninth, followed by Benoit Bergeron (Ferrari Quebec), who completed the overall Top-10 and finished second in the North America standings, while John Cervini (Ferrari of Ontario) was third.
In the Asia Pacific grouping, Jae Sung Park (FM Korea) dominated proceedings, taking the chequered flag just inside the Top-20, with Kirk Baerwaldt (Blackbird Concessionaires) in second place, but much further back.
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