FF Corse claimed a stunning victory at the Ferrari World Finals as Adam Carroll triumphed in a dramatic global contest at Mugello, Italy.
The Ferrari Budapest driver started the annual one-off race for Ferrari Challenge competitors from Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region from pole position after qualifying faster than all 25 rivals from the regional Trofeo Pirelli divisions.
After briefly relinquishing the lead as the lights went out, the Northern Irishman showed his experience by nipping back inside two rivals who left their braking too late for the first corner and reassumed the lead.
He kept his head after his advantage was twice wiped out by the safety car, and resisted extreme pressure over the final few laps to take a famous victory at the circuit in Tuscany.
It was Adam’s first win at the World Finals and also the maiden success in Ferrari’s most prestigious race anywhere on planet earth for the team from Silverstone.
Adam’s victory came 24 hours after he had completed a dominant Ferrari Challenge Europe event at the same circuit.
Winning Race One from pole position, Adam was on course for a second victory the following day, only to incur a drive-through penalty for overtaking behind the safety car and drop to the tail of his class. A sterling recovery brought him to third by the finish.
Adam finished the season fifth in the points; a great achievement for a driver who didn’t enter the series until its third event of the year. He was just 12 points – the equivalent of a third-place finish – away from a top-three spot.
In Trofeo Pirelli’s Am division, HR Owen-Aerium’s Franck Ruimy returned to competition after missing the past few events.
Franck qualified 10th in class and recovered from a mid-race spin while battling for position to finish ninth.
He improved his pace in Saturday qualifying to put his car eighth on the grid and made further gains on race speed to finish seventh and end the season 11th in the points.
FF Corse’s top finisher in Trofeo Pirelli Am was Graypaul Nottingham driver Jack Brown, who was not present at Mugello, but who secured second place in the Drivers’ Championship after a race-winning season.
In Coppa Shell Am, Laurent de Meeus; a season-long contender for the title, sealed third place in the end-of-season points in just his second full season of competition in the series.
Having qualified fourth, the HR Owen driver finished fifth in the opening race; a result that ensured a three-way fight for the crown in Saturday’s season finale.
He then narrowly avoided becoming involved in an incident that eliminated one of his key rivals in Race Two to again finish fifth.
The Belgian’s results meant he finished the season in a tie for second place overall, but missed out on the spot due to having won fewer races than his rival.
Unfortunately, he did not have much of an opportunity to improve on that result in the Coppa Shell Am World Final race after sustaining damage to his rear suspension in a first-corner collision and retiring a handful of laps later.
Adam Carroll, Ferrari Budapest, said: “What a fantastic weekend. Because we missed the first few events of the season, we knew winning the championship wasn’t a realistic target, so we put a mark against Le Mans and the World Finals as the ‘must win’ events, and we’ve managed to do both, which is incredible really. The competition was incredibly tough this weekend in both the Challenge Europe races and the World Finals, but the team at FF Corse have done a lot of work on the car since Imola to get it exactly the way I needed it, and it’s paid off hugely. A massive thank you Ferrari Budapest and Pizza Forte, because without them, this project would never have got off the ground. I feel very proud to take this win for them.”
Franck Ruimy, HR Owen-Aerium, said: “What an amazing event! From the organisation of the Ferrari village in the paddock with the classic cars, right through to the preparation of my race car by FF Corse and the help I’ve received from the engineers and driver coaches, I couldn’t have asked for much more. My pace improved across the weekend and if I’d managed to string my best sectors together in Sunday qualifying, I’d have been one second further up the grid. I guess because I’ve missed a few rounds and been out of practice, it was going to take me longer to get back up to speed. I was hit in Race One while battling, which dropped me back to ninth, but seventh in Race Two was quite alright. I’d like to do more of this next year.”
Laurent de Meeus, HR Owen, said: “Every time I am in a racing car, I enjoy it, and I felt quite emotional getting out of my car at the end of another Ferrari Challenge season because it’s a long wait to next year. Of course I’m disappointed not to win the Coppa Shell Am title after leading it for such a long time, and even to miss out on second place, because If I hadn’t been hit in Race Two and lost a position, I’d have had it by two points. The World Final was disappointing too because I put my car on the outside at Turn 1 to avoid the craziness, but got hit and broke the toe-link. I was certain I could have had a podium. I’ve still managed to win the big race at Le Mans and I’ll be back next year for my revenge.”
Tim Mullen, Sporting Director, said: “What a weekend! To take the biggest prize in Ferrari racing is an incredible achievement by the team at FF Corse. We underwent quite a changeover in personnel over the winter and you can see that with results like this that it’s had a positive effect. With this win, and the Le Mans success with Adam, we’ve won the two biggest races of the year and had victories in all three categories we entered in Ferrari Challenge Europe. I feel bad for Laurent because he led the Coppa Shell Am for so long, but he’s also had some bad luck, which you can never account for. Franck’s done a good job this weekend too after being out of the car for a while. A huge thank you to everybody who has supported this project in 2019 from HR Owen, Graypaul Nottingham and Ferrari Budapest, our drivers and team members. Thank you and well done.”