Drivers of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific got the opportunity to drive on the challenging Marina Bay street circuit at the fifth round of the series that was held as part of the 2012 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. 2012 is the second season of the Asian version of the Ferrari one-make series, but it was the first time that the series came to Singapore and also the first time it is a support race to a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Three weeks after the fourth round at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, 28 drivers participated in the Singapore leg, including Scuderia Ferrari test driver Marc Genè who made a guest driver appearance at this round to commemorate the Shell-Ferrari 500th Grand Prix.
This year's Singapore Grand Prix was the 500th Grand Prix between Ferrari and Shell and the "Shell 500 Races" logo was put on both Formula 1 cars, as well as Gene's 458 Italia, in celebration of the partnership.
The collaboration between Shell and Ferrari goes way back to 1920 when Shell first collaborated with Enzo Ferrari, who was still a race driver with Alfa Romero back then. The partnership continued into the Scuderia Ferrari racing team that was established in 1950.
Hisamori Hayashi was fastest in practice on Friday afternoon, but it was Gene who took pole position in the qualifying session that was held at 10.30pm on Saturday night, after qualifying for Formula 1 ended. Kicking off the racing action on Sunday was the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific in the afternoon, where drivers fought it out over 11 laps of the 5.073-kilometre circuit.
The main category of the race is the Trofeo Pirelli class for professionals, while there is the Coppa Shell classification within the overall results for the gentlemen amateur drivers. It was Alain Li who took the win 0.654 seconds ahead of his team-mate Pasin Lathouras. Singaporean Ringo Chong rounded up the podium in third place.
The other Singaporean in the race, Gregory Teo, finished sixth in the Coppa Shell class and 15th overall, dashing his hopes of a win for the home country. It was Tack Sung Kim of South Korea who won the Coppa Shell class, followed by Jacky Yeung of Hong Kong and Junjan Zhu of China.
Next stop for all Ferrari Challenge drivers is Europe in December.
A unique feature of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is the World Final held at the end of the year where all drivers from the three different Ferrari one-make championships (Asia Pacific series, Europe series, North America series) around the world gather to compete at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali in Valencia.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.