ANASSIS, BUCHWALD SWAP WET LIME ROCK WINS IN FERRARI CHALLENGE (LAKEVILLE, CT, JULY 9) Rain played havoc with the schedule for the Ferrari Challenge races, but the weather couldn't dampen the competition, and Kurt Buchwald and Emmanual Anassis...
ANASSIS, BUCHWALD SWAP WET LIME ROCK WINS IN FERRARI CHALLENGE
(LAKEVILLE, CT, JULY 9) Rain played havoc with the schedule for the Ferrari Challenge races, but the weather couldn't dampen the competition, and Kurt Buchwald and Emmanual Anassis provided two exceptionally close races today. The pair swapped wins and demonstrated that both are still strong contenders for the Championship.
The first race was originally scheduled for Friday, but that day's activities were canceled after heavy rain made the track unsafe. The 30 minute Challenge race was moved to Saturday morning, and as qualifying had been canceled, Buchwald, racing for the Ferrari of Washington team, was awarded pole position based on practice times. Anassis, defending Challenge Champion who races for Shelton Ferrari, started alongside.
Anassis took the lead at the green flag, and led for the first 21 laps. Buchwald would occasionally drop back slightly, but spent most of that time never more than one or two car lengths behind Anassis. With only three laps to go the pair came onto the front straight behind a lapped car. Buchwald quickly moved alongside Anassis for a clean pass, forcing the Shelton driver to have to lift off behind the slower car. Buchwald led for the final three laps, but Anassis was still able to draw within two seconds at the checker. This was Buchwald's first victory of the season, and the first time a driver other than Anassis or points leader Doug Peterson has won in 2005. (Peterson, current points leader, was absent from Lime Rock.)
Michael Louli, the driver who has raced the longest in the Ferrari Challenge, finished third to round out the podium. Bill Jennings II, from local dealer Miller Motorcars, and Louli's Ferrari of Long Island teammate Gerry Crilly completed the top five.
These results were used to set the grid for the afternoon's 45 minute race, and this time Buchwald took the lead at the start. Anassis held a close second, constantly occupying Buchwald's mirrors until the a rare error saw Anassis run wide in "Big Bend," the first turn of the 1.53 mile track. Anassis was immediately back on course, but the gap to Buchwald was over five seconds, and Buchwald seemed to have the race win wrapped up.
That situation changed when Buchwald was caught behind a slower car, who seemed to block every passing attempt for almost three laps. Anassis was suddenly only a few feet back, and was able to draft by on the front straight to take the lead. Buchwald was planning how to regain the lead when two cars went off in Big Bend, and the race finished behind the Safety Car. Anassis took his second win of the year, Anassis and Louli completing the podium. Crilly finished fourth this time, with fifth occupied by Ferrari of Houston's John Krieg.
Two additional presentations were made during podium ceremonies. John Pellicio, Marketing Manager for Bose, a series sponsor, presented the Bose Award to Phillip Shearer, a past Challenge Champion. This award is presented at each event to a driver whose on- and off-track qualities represent the spirit of the Ferrari Challenge.
The second ceremony was more somber. Skip Barber, President of Lime Rock Park, presented a unique trophy to honor Michael Johnson, former Track Manager. Johnson had left the track to resume to study for an MBA at Stanford University, where he tragically died while participating in a water polo match at the school. The award, created by Ferrari North America and the track, was presented to a driver in the Challenge who demonstrated Johnson's qualities of sportsmanship, honor, skill, competence, and friendship. Bill Jennings II was selected for the award.
he Ferrari Challenge is organized by Ferrari North America. Drivers 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. Sponsorship and support for the series comes from Ener1 Group, Bose, Piaggio Aero, Motorola, Pirelli, and Shell.