Rookie Rogers crowned Champion of Coppa Shell in first season of racing
Silverstone circuit hosted the fifth and final round of the 2022 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK which saw Lucky Khera (Graypaul Birmingham) clinch his second championship title, with one race still to go. In the Coppa Shell series, rookie racer Jason Ambrose (Dick Lovett Swindon) took the battle for the title to the wire, finishing in second place to win the Championship in his first ever year of racing.
Trofeo Pirelli. Coming into the weekend with a 19 point advantage over his closest rival, Khera was composed and confident on track. After just four laps, Khera set a fastest lap time of 2:04.150 to take pole position and keep a vital championship point away from rival H. Sikkens (H.R. Owen London), who was just 0.188secs off Khera’s pace to start the race in second place. Andrew Morrow (Charles Hurst), who came into the weekend in second place in the championship, suffered an accidental fire extinguisher deployment which unfortunately ended his qualifying session after four laps, resigning him to the back of the grid for the start. That allowed returning driver John Dhillon (Graypaul Nottingham) to place third in his first qualifying session of the season.
Khera made a clean start to Race 1, avoiding a multi-car melee in corner 2 which resulted in three drivers – Dhillon, Paul Hogarth (Stratstone Manchester) and Faisal Al-Faisal (HR Owen London) – back to the pits and to retire from the race.
After the first of two safety car deployments, Morrow had moved from 6th to 3rd and was now running with leader Khera and second place Sikkens. However, neither Sikkens or Morrow could improve on their position and they finished Race 1 behind the new 2022 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK Champion, Lucky Khera.
Even with the Championship title secured in Race 1, Khera kept the pace up in Qualifying 2, setting the fastest lap time of the day to take pole position for Race 2. Behind him, eyes were on Sikkens and Morrow, who came into the session on equal points and joint second place. Sikkens suffered technical challenges and qualifying in fifth place. Morrow was displaced to third position by Dhillon, who had qualified in second place.
Race 2 started as a clean affair, with all cars making it to the chequered flag, led from start to finish by series champion Khera. Dhillon stayed with the leader for the first half of the race but with 12 minutes of the race remaining, Morrow managed to take the inside line to slip through into second place, his position in both race and championship.
Also battling for championship points was Sikkens; starting in fifth position, he worked his Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo hard to climb two positions but he couldn’t catch his championship rival Morrow, who would cross the line in second place and accumulate 115 points for a second place championship finish.
There was last minute excitement on track further down the field as Sikkens had a last lap battle with Al-Faisal for the final place on the podium. Both were behind Dhillon on track, but two time penalties for track limits demoted Dhillon to fifth place. This left Al-Faisal and Sikkens fighting for third, with the pair door-to-door in the final laps. Sikkens would get the pace on Al-Faisal to cross the line ahead of him but a late time penalty for track limits would demote him to a fourth place finish, giving Al-Faisal his first podium of the 2022 series.
Coppa Shell. Series newcomer Carl Cavers (Graypaul Nottingham) was immediately on the pace at Silverstone, setting the fastest lap time in Qualifying 1 of 2:03.949 after just four laps of the 3.6mile circuit, the only driver of the weekend to enter the 2:03secs bracket. Series leader Ambrose set a time 1.623secs behind Cavers, with fellow newcomer John Seale (Carrs Ferrari) placing third in class.
Starting from an overall pole position, Cavers maintained a commanding lead over the pack, also avoiding the multi-car incident on Lap 1. Ambrose was not so lucky after he spun after being clipped by another car. He was able to re-join the race and kept pushing from the back of the pack, ultimately finishing in fourth place, helped somewhat by two safety car deployments. Ahead of Ambrose, Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) finished in second position and Paul Rogers (JCT600 Brooklands) – who came into the race in second place in the championship – finished in third place.
In only his fourth qualifying session of the season, Cavers achieved his second pole of the weekend with a time of 2:04.683. Behind him was championship leader Ambrose, followed by Simmerson. Rogers, who was sitting in second place in the championship, qualified in sixth position, ending his session early to preserve tyres for the race.
Having suffered damage in Race 1, when multiple cars came together at the start of the race, Rogers was hoping for a repeat event and to capitalise by passing the pack early on. Unfortunately for Rogers, the drivers made a clean start to Race 2 and he was left fighting for position at the back. At the front of the grid, Cavers carved out a commanding lead, finishing the race with a 30 second lead over championship leader Ambrose. Having only joined the series in Round 4, Cavers was not able to accumulate enough points to challenge the championship leaders.
Ambrose drove a clean race and, with Cavers ahead, Simmerson 2 seconds behind and championship rival Rogers 9 seconds behind, he could afford to focus on his driving and reaching the finish line. Ambrose took the second step on the podium for Race 2, where he would be crowned the 2022 Coppa Shell UK Champion. In third place, with his fifth podium finish of the season, was Simmerson.
Standings. In Trofeo Pirelli, Khera has accumulated 145 points to take the 2022 Championship Title. Morrow finished the season in second place, with 115 points and Sikkens third with 112 points.
In Coppa Shell, Ambrose accumulated 131 points to take the 2022 Championship Title in his first season of racing. Rogers finished the season in second place, with 116 points and Simmerson third with 106 points.
Graypaul Birmingham took the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Dealer title, with 241 points. H.R. Owen London finished the season in second place with 173 points and Dick Lovett Swindon in third with 126 points.
Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Imola. Over the 27-30 October weekend, Ferrari Challenge drivers who have competed in at least three rounds of the 2022 season can take part in the Ferrari Finale Mondiali celebrations which sees all of the Challenge Series around the world come together – with one driver being crowned Ferrari Challenge World Champion.
2023. The fifth season of the British series will get underway at Snetterton from 28-30 April. The calendar will then stop off with events at Oulton Park, on 19-20 May, and at the historic Brands Hatch track, both on the Indy track layout and the GP circuit, on 24-25 June. After the fourth round, at Silverstone over the weekend of 1-3 September, the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo drivers will gather once again at Spa-Francorchamps from 15-17 September, together with Ferrari Challenge Europe, in an event which will conclude with the championship title celebrations in the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell classes.