Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway hosted the third race of the season of the Ferrari Challenge. The new Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO race car made their return to the hills of Monterey, California to challenge the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.
Now in its 22nd year, the series now makes stops at some of the most beautiful circuits around the globe.
The Ferrari Challenge runs two categories, the Trofeo Pirelli and the Coppa Shell. Each category has separate classifications and season ending titles. The Ferrari Challenge is managed by the automaker’s special customer racing department, Ferrari’s Corse Clienti.
Two races were held over the race weekend – the first race on Saturday afternoon, the second on Sunday. Saturday’s race was won by Harry Cheung (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) who started from pole and led from start to finish claiming the win in the Trofeo Pirelli category. Chris Ruud (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) won the Coppa Shell category.
“I’m super happy with the result that we had on Saturday,” said Cheung, who lives near Laguna Seca in Portola Valley. “The team set the car up perfectly and I had a great time racing here at Laguna Seca, which is one of my favorite tracks. I enjoyed a great battle with Ricardo Perez – he would close up on certain parts of the track and then I could establish a gap in other parts. It was a really fun race and I’m excited to score my first win of the year.”
Sunday’s race saw Ricardo Perez (Ferrari of Houston) take the win from pole position to claim his second victory of the season. Chris Ruud would go on to win for the second time this weekend in the Coppa Shell, making this his 4th victory for the season. As the race weekend ended Ricardo Perez is the current leader in the Trefeo Pirelli series while Chris Ruud leads in the standings for the Coppa Shell division.
“We had a good qualifying session for each race,” said Ruud. “I was very fortunate to lay down a fast lap in the early stages of qualifying. This allowed me to run a straightforward, clean race without too many mistakes which helped me keep my position. All in all it was a fantastic weekend with two pole positions and two victories – it doesn’t get better than that.”
The North American series will continue to Montreal, Canada, (during the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve), June 6-8; Mont Tremblant, Canada, June 27- 29; Road America, July 11-13; Watkins Glen, Sept. 19-21 and finally Austin, Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Select drivers will have a chance to compete with the best in December at the Finali Mondiali – December 3-6. 2014 marks the first time the Finali Mondiali is being held outside of Europe, at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. This invitational race is where the top drivers from North America will go up against the other leaders from Asia-Pacific and Europe series for the overall 2014 title.
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