Laurent de Meeus and Jack Brown made it a double-podium result for FF Corse as both left the penultimate round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe at Imola firmly in the hunt for their respective championship titles.
HR Owen driver Laurent produced an excellent performance in Sunday’s second Coppa Shell race to recover from a disappointing opener, in which he finished ninth, and is just seven points away from the series lead with 45 still to play for.
Forced to stand hard on the brakes to avoid two spinning cars ahead of him, he fell from first to fifth instantly, but focused hard and regained two positions to finish third; his sixth podium finish from the six events held so far this season.
This was in stark contrast to Saturday’s race, when he was on course for a solid top-five result when he spun at mid-distance while trying to avoid a car that was attempting to rejoin the circuit and could recover only as high as ninth.
Making a similar Sunday recovery was Jack, who recorded a magnificent double-pole position for Graypaul Nottingham to take his season’s total to five – more than anyone else in the class.
Starting seventh due to qualifying success penalties, Jack quickly climbed to third in Race One, but suffered a puncture and was forced to pit for a new tyre, dropping him to ninth.
He bounced back with a fine drive to second on Sunday, setting the fastest lap in the process.
His consistency throughout the season means he is now guaranteed to finish no lower than second in the championship. He is 29 points away from the series lead with just one round – the Ferrari World Finals event at Mugello – to go.
In Trofeo Pirelli’s pro division, Adam Carroll delivered a pair of solid fourth-place finishes; the Ferrari Budapest driver producing one of the most dramatic moments of the weekend in Race One.
Having qualified seventh, the Northern Irishman pressed hard all the way to the chequered flag and squeezed inside one of his key rivals to snatch fourth place with just three corners remaining and finish within half a second of the podium.
Adding another fourth spot on Sunday, Adam moved up to fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship, despite having only began his campaign at the third event of the season. He is just nine points away from fourth spot with 45 available at Mugello on October 24-27.
Laurent de Meeus, HR Owen, said: “Overall, it’s been a weekend of highs and lows, though I’m very pleased that things have ended on a high with a podium finish on Sunday – always the best day to achieve it. I was a bit unlucky in the first race when I spun, because otherwise I’d have been fifth. I had to let a few people past at the start of Race Two and just couldn’t catch them, but third is still good points. I’m in the championship hunt with one round to go and I’m feeling good for the World Finals at Mugello, but I know I have to step things up a gear to achieve my aim of becoming champion.”
Adam Carroll, Ferrari Budapest, said: “We haven’t scored the results we hoped for, but this is an incredibly tough series and the drivers at the front of Trofeo Pirelli are really fast, so if you’re not 100 per cent on it on any given weekend, you’re not going to win. Imola is a great track where you have to really monster the kerbs every lap to be quick and we had a little issue that stopped me finding a comfortable balance. Once we sorted that, I was able to make progress from my starting position in Race One, and I was pretty pleased to make the move on the last lap for fourth. We’ll head back to base, regroup for Mugello and aim to finish the season on a high.”
Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “The Ferrari Challenge is such a closely-fought championship at the front of the field, so to come away with two podium finishes, and to know we have both Laurent and Jack right in the thick of the title hunt heading to the final event is extremely satisfying. The drivers and the team deserve a lot of praise for the way they handled Sunday because we’ve ended the weekend on a high and we can go to Mugello full of optimism.”