Buchwald Takes First Ferrari Win at Laguna Seca MONTEREY, CA (August 19): After showing speed but dealing with bad luck earlier in the season, Kurt Buchwald of Seattle, Washington, took his first win in the 2004 Ferrari Challenge at Laguna...
Buchwald Takes First Ferrari Win at Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, CA (August 19): After showing speed but dealing with bad luck earlier in the season, Kurt Buchwald of Seattle, Washington, took his first win in the 2004 Ferrari Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway. Buchwald, in his first year in the series, bested 14 other drivers to stay in the race for the 2004 Ferrari Challenge Championship.
Buchwald, whose Ferrari 360 Challenge racer was prepared by Ferrari of Washington (DC), qualified on pole over Anders Hainer. The Laguna Seca round was Hainer^Òs initial race in the Ferrari Challenge, and he just out-qualified Auto Gallery teammate Joel Quaid for the front row. As this was the first appearance of the Ferrari Challenge at Laguna Seca since 1999, and the first-ever for the Ferrari 360s, Buchwald^Òs time set a new track record for the Ferraris.
Buchwald took the lead at the start of the 45 minute race, and led every lap over Hainer to take the victory by just over three seconds. Todd Morici, driving the Motorola-sponsored Ferrari 360, passed Quaid early on the first lap, and held third spot for almost half the race, but a mysterious and temporary loss of power dropped him to fifth; he would close back to fourth, immediately on Quaid^Òs rear bumper, by the checkered flag.
There was plenty of racing action and position-swapping behind the lead group. In one of the outstanding drives of the race Robert Canepa (Ferrari of San Francisco) spun at Turn Two on the first lap, and by the time he restarted he was almost a half lap down to the field. Regaining the track in 15th place, by the end he had fought back to ninth place. Canepa received a special ^ÓCompetitive Spirit^Ô award presented by Bose Sound for his comeback. Michael Solley, another Ferrari of Washington driver, also received a special Sportsmanship award from Bose and Piaggio Aero.
With only one other race remaining in the season, at the Ferrari Challenge World Finals at Monza, Italy, only Buchwald and points leader Emmanuel Anassis can score enough points to take the title. Anassis did not race at Laguna Seca.
The race, last round of the 2004 Ferrari Challenge to be run in North America, was part of the Ferrari Club of America^Òs International Annual Meeting. The Monterey Historic Automobile Races and Pebble Beach Concours, both held the previous weekend, were also presented as tributes to Ferrari and the 50th Anniversary of Ferrari^Òs official presence in North America.
The 2004 North American Ferrari Challenge is presented by Motorola. Additional sponsors for the series include Pirelli, Shell, Bose, Girard-Perregaux, and Piaggio Aero. Drivers in the Ferrari 360 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.