The Ferrari Finali Mondiali, being held in North America for the first time, combined competition with celebration on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, creating an all-around showcase for the legendary Prancing Horse marque.
After two premier races on the 3.56-mile road course, Saturday’s activities concluded with the Ferrari North America Customers’ Parade, with approximately 1,000 Ferraris lapping the road course, creating the largest-ever Ferrari parade lap on a North American track.
Prior to the parade, competitors in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell battled for the second straight day with two 30-minute races.
Rusty Wallace, the 1989 champion of NASCAR’s premier series and a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, had a disappointing 32nd-place finish in the weekend’s second Trofeo Pirelli race, driving for the Risi Competizione/Ferrari of Houston. Wallace, who finished a solid 15th overall in his first race on Friday and scored a podium in his class, will try to rebound today in the Trofeo Pirelli World Final.
Wallace was running 14th on Saturday when he lost brake pressure going into the road course’s chicane coming off the high-speed backstretch. He blew through the chicane – commonly called the “Bus Stop” due to the significant speed reduction required – and past some competitors. Passing under yellow is a rule violation and Wallace was assessed a drive-through penalty which led to the poor finish.
“I actually think we had a better run today,” Wallace said after Saturday’s race, in which he did post the fastest speed – 192.563 mph. “Now we’ll go back, work on these brakes, tune it up and get ready for the last race tomorrow – the World Final.
“Our lap times were great, lot better than Friday. We’ve got a little bit of work to do on the car but I think my driving’s improved a ton [this weekend.]”
Saturday’s headlining Trofeo Pirelli race was won by Daniel Mancinelli of Italy, who also topped the Professional, North American class. Other class winners: Bjorn Grossman of Germany in Professional, Europe; Sam Smeeth of Great Britain in Amateur, European; Fabio Leimer of Switzerland in Professional, Europe; Florian Merckx of Belgium in Professional Asia Pacific; and Huilin Han of China in Amateur Asia Pacific.
Saturday’s Coppa Shell race was won by Canadian Rick Lovat, who also topped the Europe class. The other class winners were American Rob Hodes in the North America class and Japan’s Ken Seto in the Asia Pacific class.
The Ferrari Finali Mondiali will conclude Sunday with a highly anticipated Formula One exhibition involving current Scuderia Ferrari F1 drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel, driving respective F60s. The exhibition format will have them turning full-speed laps with tire changes and simulated pit stops. The exhibition will conclude with the F60s crossing the finish line side-by-side, in a nod to the legendary 1967 finish of the Rolex 24 At Daytona when Ferraris finished 1-2-3.. That year marked one of five Ferrari overall victories in the Rolex 24.
Appropriately, the Ferrari Finali Mondiali involves much more than on-track activity. Spectators visiting the Fanzone are able to see both new and classic Ferraris. Sunday, the display will have a significant addition: the new Ferrari 488 Challenge, which was unveiled on Saturday night during a special gala dinner.
Also on Sunday, there will be two Ferrari driver autograph sessions on the Fanzone Main Stage at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The first session at 10 a.m. will feature featuring Wallace, Mauro Baldi, Didier Theys, Arie Luyendyk, Mark Gené, Toni Vilander and James Calado. The second session at 10:30 a.m. will highlight Räikkönen, Vettel, Giancarlo Fisichella, Davide Rigon, Andrea Bertolini and Sam Bird.
Tickets for the Finali Mondiali can be purchased at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by visiting the Daytona International Speedway Ticket Office. Daily adult general admission tickets start at $15; children 12 and under are FREE.
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