Tom Fleming takes his maiden win in Trofeo Pirelli in Misano, and James Owen achieved a personal best result of 4th in the P-AM class and 8th overall.
The weekend got off to a solid start with Tom qualifying P2 on the Saturday, just 0.6 seconds off the pole sitter, and James qualifying 5th in P-AM.
In race one, James dropped down to 15th overall in the early stages of the race, but worked his way back up to cross the line in 12th. Importantly though, he kept his lines clean meaning that he steered clear of any track limit penalties, which were being picked up by many competitors throughout the race. This meant that once all penalties had been applied to other drivers, James was promoted to 8th overall and 4th in P-AM. Just one place off a podium finish! Despite James’ relative inexperience compared to his competitors, he is starting to bring back some impressive results, impressing the team and the championship with his pace. Regular podium finishes won’t be far away!
After dropping back to third position at the start, the pole sitter Donno started to break away at the front from Tom. An incident further back in the field on the first lap brought out the safety car closing the field back up again, but Donno pulled away at the front again once the safety car had pulled back into pitlane. It didn’t take long for Tom to make a superb move on Kral to retake second place. Donno had snuck a 3.6 second advantage but with Tom’s consistency and race craft, he managed to quickly close the gap up to 0.6 seconds. Tom put immense pressure on the leader who, by the end, was handed a post-race 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits. Donno was demoted to second place, so Tom took the top step of the podium!
Following the race, Tom said “I don’t think words can describe how I feel, it’s just an amazing achievement for me and the team. I stepped into my first race car 10 months ago and I have really been trying to build back the sort of experience that these guys at the front have. We absolutely deserve this after a shaky qualifying. I knew in my mindset that I’d got a chance to win this race and we executed it perfectly. I’d like to thank the team – FF Corse, my sponsors – HR Owen and Alvarez & Marsal, and most importantly my family because I could not have done it without them.”
View Tom’s interview here.
On Sunday, the qualifying results for Tom and James were a carbon copy of Saturday’s qualifying, but Tom got away well at the start of race two and maintained second position. The gap to first opened up in the early stages, but again Tom’s superior race management allowed him to close back up to Donno, again piling on the pressure. Tom’s race pace meant the overtake to P1 was inevitable. The gap came down to just 0.6 seconds when Donno crashed out of the lead with just 6 minutes remaining, meaning Tom brought the car home in a fantastic first place!
James produced another impressive comeback drive, finishing a solid 6th in P-AM after a battling for position with Gostner and Del Favero. Highly entertaining to watch!
Despite taking the top step of the podium unfortunately, due to a non-performance related technical infringement, Tom was cruelly stripped of his second win. But this does not take away from the fantastic performance that he put in on track – the team are incredibly proud of everything that he has already managed to achieve in such a short space of time, against far more experienced drivers.
The next round is at Spielberg in Austria, 13th and 14th May. Watch this space!
View Ferrari’s race report here.