Michelle Gatting rounds out Ferrari Challenge season with P5 in class in World Finals
Danish ace Michelle Gatting completed the 2021 Ferrari Challenge season with a P5 in class at the Mugello World Finals. In the all-in event for the world title, Gatting was unlucky at the start and couldn't catch up with the leaders - but still came home with the European title.
After a seven-event season in the continental championships, the Ferrari Challenge World Finals is a spectacular one-race event to become World Champion. It's all or nothing.
Freshly-crowned European Pirelli Trophy champion Michelle Gatting (Scuderia Niki - Iron Lynx) was the only female driver to advance into Sunday's World Final at Mugello, after writing history on Friday when she became the first ever female champion in the Pirelli Trofeo. Michelle thus tried to succeed Fabienne Wohlwend, who became world champion in the 2018 Finali Mondiali at Monza.
With a second place start on the grid of the big race, Gatting had the best chance to beat Luka Nurmi (Formula Racing) - winner of the two final races of the season and the youngest driver on the grid.
The Finn started from pole and was followed by Gatting at the rolling start, but the Danish lady lost two positions and was sandwiched between two cars at Turn 1. Three other drivers were squeezed and made contact, ending off and into the barriers. The incident required the intervention of the first Safety Car of the race.
Michelle Gatting dropped down to eighth place, but regrouped and tried to recover positions while Luka Nurmi led the race ahead of Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) and Cooper MacNeil (Ferrari of Westlake). With 17 minutes left, the race resumed and Michelle soon cleared Hugo Delacour (Scuderia Monte-Carlo) for P7 overall.
Three minutes later, the Safety Car was back on track when Alessandro Cozzi (Formula Racing) caused a collision which put Faisal Al-Faisal (HR Owen) and Arno Dahlmeyer (Scuderia Niki - Iron Lynx) in the gravel. Both Ferraris were beached and retired from the Final.
The race went back to green with 7 minutes to go; Michelle Gatting battled hard to gain track positions, but got stuck behind Enzo Potolicchio (Ferrari of Central Florida).
Cozzi received a drive through penalty for causing a collision - but just before entering the pits to serve his penalty, he lost the car at the final corner and ended his race in the gravel. With just three minutes left, the race direction opted for local double yellow flags and avoided to bring out a third Safety Car, giving a chance to the 27 drivers to end under green flag conditions.
Luka Nurmi became World Champion after a dominant weekend, ahead of Schirò and MacNeil. Michelle Gatting finished in 7th place overall and fifth in the Pro class. While it certainly wasn't the result the Danish ace had hoped for after a stunning season, Gatting's main target was the championship title - which she successfully sealed on Friday.
Bad luck at the start of the Finals hampered her World Championship chances on a track where it was incredibly difficult to pas and recover, but the Iron Dame brings home the first title for the project founded by Deborah Mayer - as well as her first in GT racing.