Grala wins Montreal Ferrari Challenge, leads series. MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, JUNE 9. Darius Grala won the Ferrari Challenge race from the pole today, but it was far from an easy victory. The 30 minute race preceded the Air Canada Grand Prix at...
Grala wins Montreal Ferrari Challenge, leads series.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, JUNE 9. Darius Grala won the Ferrari Challenge race from the pole today, but it was far from an easy victory. The 30 minute race preceded the Air Canada Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Grala, racing for the Ferrari of Orange County team, led for the first three laps over Doug Peterson (Shelton Sports Cars), who had started alongside on the front row. On lap 4 Grala's Ferrari got loose in Turn Two, allowing Peterson by for the lead. Three laps later Peterson had the same problem in Turn 3, but not the same luck. His car brushed the wall, and he retired from the race two corners later. Competition had been close between the two; Peterson set the fastest race lap, but Grala was only 1/100 second slower.
"I think Doug and I had set our cars up the same," said Grala. "For this track I had minimum downforce. I was quick on the straights and tip-toeing through the corners. It made the car a handful in the turns, and I think that's what caught both Doug and me."
Peterson wasn't the only driver to have problems with the formula one circuit. Close racing among the 20 starters meant several minor incidents during the race, which kept the F1 crowd on its feet.
Peterson's incident allowed Grala back into the lead, which he held for the balance of the race. Grala's margin of victory was 1.882 seconds over J. D. Williamson II (Ferrari of Washington). Michael Pontoriero (Ferrari of Long Island) in third completed the podium. The three received their trophies from Jean Todt, Ferrari Sporting Director. The victory also gave Grala the lead in the Trofeo Pirelli Championship, ahead of Peterson, Jose Luis Valera, and Pontoriero.
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 Watkins Glen, New York, on June 21-22, with the Grand American Rolex Sports Car series.