The 2014 Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific series kicked off at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with our very own Vincent Floirendo, the very first Filipino participating in this event, at the helm of a Ferrari 458 Challenge Evo racecar.
As reported earlier, he will be participating in this seven-leg race that runs through Malaysia, Australia, China, Japan with the final venue in December to be determined. The races were run as one grid with multiple classes namely Trofeo Pirelli, Trofeo Pirelli Pro, Gentleman Class, and Coppa Shell; Floirendo competed in the latter.
Floirendo first taste of the Ferrari Challenge was quite challenging as it was his first time on the Sepang circuit and his newly delivered race car had some issues.
He qualified 6th in the Coppa Shell class (15th overall) with a best lap of 2:14.477 in Qualifying 1, nearly three seconds behind polesitter Max Blancardi (Trofeo Pirelli Pro class), who achieved a lap of 2:11.651.
According to his personal engineer Marverick Tan, "the car would develop issues and run slower when it warms up." The issue boggled Ferrari factory engineers who tried their best to find the problems. But they eventually 'found a fix' allowing Floirendo to use his car for the race.
Race 1 didn't go as well for Floirendo, and he found himself stuck in traffic at the back of the field. He only managed to lap in the low to mid 2:20's in the crowd. Floirendo finished 15th in his class and 22nd overall. Italian driver Blancardi took a lights to flag victory for his class (Trofeo Pirelli Pro) and overall in Race 1 with a total time of 31:40.197 and clocked the fastest lap at 2:14.448. In the Coppa Shell class, Indonesian David Tjiptobiantoro finished in the top spot with a total time of 32:03.409 and with a best lap of 2:15.640.
In Qualifying 2, Floirendo improved on his position by qualifying 4th in the Coppa Shell class (13th overall) with a better laptime of 2:13.822. Aussie driver Steve Wyatt (Trofeo Pirelli class) grabbed pole with a lap of 2:11.256 besting Race 1 winner Blancardi by nearly half a second.
With engineers slowly debugging his car, Floirendo performed better in Race 2 running an average lap time of 2:18.568 and with a fastest lap of 2:16.901. Unfortunately, the 45-year old Davaoeno was forced to retire on the 11th lap.
Veteran driver Blancardi once again took the win with a total time of 31:38.778 and a best lap of 2:13.626. In the Coppa Shell category, Tjiptobiantoro of Indonesia took the win again.
The Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific heads over to the Sydney Motorsport Park in Austrailia for the next leg of the series on April 13.