Ferrari Challenge puts on dramatic show for Race 1 Sonoma
Ferrari Challenge took to the hills of Sonoma for the final North American weekend of its 2022 championship.
Watch: Ride in the 488 Challenge Evo at Sonoma
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Ferrari Challenge competition world-wide, drivers reveled in the cooler conditions that swept up through the San Francisco Bay after a sweltering week of testing. That being said, the circuit offered very little in the way of respite, pushing drivers to maximize any grip available to their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evos and the Pirelli tires.
Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) led a lights to flag victory in the Trofeo Pirelli category after qualifying on pole earlier in the day. The young driver leapt ahead at the start but the nature of the Sonoma circuit ensured that immense tire degradation would see him reeled back in over the course of the 30-minute contest. Towards the end a four-car train had formed with Franco at the head, hounded closely by Roberto Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) who finished only three-tenths of a second behind by the time the checkered flag flew. Just behind, Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) took the final step on the podium after also spending the latter portion of the race in a tight and important battle with then-championship leader Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari). The two ended up finishing just two-tenths apart and less than a second away from the winning Franco. The result also had championship implications as Clarke and McCarthy are now tied for the Trofeo Pirelli championship lead.
In the Am category, Dylan Medler (The Collection) earned his first-ever Ferrari Challenge championship win in dominant fashion. Medler finished eight seconds ahead of his nearest category challenger, John Horejsi (Ferrari of Vancouver). Championship leader Dave Musial Jr. (Ferrari of Lake Forest) rounded out the podium positions, importantly ahead of fourth-place finisher and championship rival Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island).
Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) continued his dominant streak in the Coppa Shell category with another win on Saturday. In a severely disrupted race that saw two red-flag periods, Petramalo ultimately overcame tire-temperature challenges as the cars and tires cooled during the second lengthy red-flag period. But nevertheless, after 30-minutes of racing, and many more under red-flag, he bested Sureel Choksi (Ferrari of Denver) by 1.6 seconds as they crossed the line. Grey Fauvre (Ferrari of San Francisco) took a popular home-town podium as well, trailing Choksi by a further half-second.
In the Am category, it was Tony Davis (Continental Autosport) who also continued his dominant run of form with the win on Saturday. Frank Szczesniak (Ferrari of Tampa Bay) secured second, trailing Davis by three seconds in the final reckoning and leading home third-place finisher Michael Mathes (Ferrari of Central New Jersey) by a further eight tenths of a second in Mathes first podium finish in Ferrari Challenge.
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