Having begun her season with a number of excellent results in Ferrari Challenge North America, Lisa Clark travelled to Europe and enjoyed further success in difficult conditions at the Red Bull Ring, finishing seventh and ninth in class.
Lisa Clark enjoyed a successful return to Ferrari Challenge Europe with two top-10 finishes in the Coppa Shell Am class. Having begun her season with a number of excellent results in Ferrari Challenge North America, Clark travelled to Europe and enjoyed further success in difficult conditions at the Red Bull Ring. Finishing seventh and ninth in two races held in wet conditions, Lisa should be pleased with these performances in a competitive field.
Track action begun on Friday with two test sessions, followed by a final free practice. Conditions were cold, but dry and Lisa completed 24 laps in the opening test session, finishing eighth in the Coppa Shell Am class, before placing 12th in class during the second session. Improving on her best time in testing by over half a second, Clark finished the day inside the top-10 and was looking to build upon that pace in qualifying.
Saturday morning brought similar cold and dry conditions for the first qualifying session of the weekend. Lisa immediately found extra speed from testing, beating her benchmark from the previous day halfway into the session. Improving on her best free practice time by over a second, Clark’s best lap was a 1:33.565 which was the eighth fastest time in Coppa Shell Am.
The first race of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon with heavy rain falling prior to the start, meaning the race begun behind the safety car. Lisa moved up to seventh in Coppa Shell Am prior to green flag racing getting underway, with Clark falling to ninth at the end of lap 3. As the race progressed, Lisa enjoyed close battles with Pino Frascaro and Stefano Marazzi as they fought over places inside the top-10.
After falling to tenth on lap eight, Clark passed Frascaro with a smart move on lap 12 to regain ninth position, passing Marazzi for eighth on the following lap. Significantly improving her lap times in the closing stages, Lisa set the overall fastest first sector in Coppa Shell Am on lap 15, ensuring she held onto eighth place as the checkered flag came out. A post-race penalty for a driver ahead promoted Lisa to seventh, an encouraging first race of the season in Ferrari Challenge Europe.
Qualifying for race two was held on Sunday morning with similar cold and wet conditions to those in the opening race. Lisa was looking to build on her performance from the previous day and immediately jumped to third on the time sheet with her first flying lap. Clark continued to improve on her times throughout the session, with her personal best time of a 1:43.712 coming on the final lap to secure a sixth place starting spot in Coppa Shell Am.
Conditions for race two were equally challenging with rain failing prior to the race leading to another safety car start. Lining up from sixth, Clark slipped to eighth after the opening green flag lap, before falling to tenth after lap four. Visibility was tricky with the track at the wettest throughout the weekend, but Lisa settled into tenth behind Pino Frascaro as the race entered a rhythm.
After losing out to Paolo Scudieri on lap seven, Clark set about chasing down the drivers ahead as the safety car was brought out. As racing resumed, a further safety car was brought out following a restart incident involving the Coppa Shell Am leader, elevating Lisa back inside the top-10. With little time remaining, the race ended behind the safety car with Clark inheriting ninth place after a penalty for a competitor ahead.
Lisa should be pleased with her season debut in Ferrari Challenge Europe, particularly considering the difficult conditions which she faced in both races. Qualifying sixth for race two was a notable highlight, with Clark showing great pace in wet conditions. Scoring points in Coppa Shell Am in race one was a deserved reward in a highly competitive field and Lisa will be looking to build upon these performances in her next Ferrari Challenge outing at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe.