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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

The third-place weekend for Fabienne Wohlwend

Ferrari Challenge Europe hit the track at Barcelona, with Fabienne Wohlwend back in action for the second round: the Liechtenstein driver continued to chase victory and battled again Tabacchi and Neubauer in the Trofeo Pirelli class.

Photo by Ferrari Challenge Europe

The second round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe Trofeo Pirelli returned to the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, again without spectators due to the Covid situation. Fabienne Wohlwend was back behind the wheel of the 488 Challenge Evo, while Michelle Gatting - who competed in the season opener at Imola - was missing from the grid as the Danish racer was at Le Castellet for the ELMS first round of the season.

In practice, Wohlwend was right behind the two main championship rivals Emanuele Maria Tabacchi and Thomas Neubauer, both very close on pace. In the qualifying session, the fight at the front for the best lap was tight between the three top entrants: at the end, Neubauer came out on top and clinched pole, ahead of Wohlwend and Tabacchi in third place.

After his dreadful weekend in Imola last time out, Neubauer dominated the first race of the Barcelona weekend from start to finish line. At the start, Neubauer pulled away while Tabacchi passed Wohlwend for second place. Tabacchi tried to catch up with Neubauer, but the latter easily controlled the race. Wohlwend came closer to Tabacchi towards the end of the race and tried to engage in a battle with him for second place, but the Italian driver managed to stay ahead and finished second, just ahead of the 22-year old W Series driver.

"I had a great start into the race, and then at the beginning I struggled, I didn't get the tyre temperature in." - commented Wohlwend. "I was fighting hard and I was catching them again but it was just too difficult to make the move. Maybe I just needed one or two laps [more] to do it, but tomorrow is a new day and we keep pushing hard to be on the top step of the podium tomorrow."

Sunday's qualifying session saw identical results to the first one: Neubauer got pole without many troubles, second was Wohlwend ahead of Tabacchi.

The start was even closer than in the first race, as Neubauer and Wohlwend sprinted away well and went side-by-side towards Turn 1, until Neubauer took the lead for the race. Tabacchi passed Wohlwend in the midway through the race and tried to hunt down the leader. The Octane126 driver, suffering from braking issues, was slightly off the racing line and had to give up second place to the charging Tabacchi.

As Tabacchi tried to pass Neubauer for the lead, he made minor contact with the Charles Pozzi-Courage Ferrari in front but, shortly after, the chequered flag ended their fight, confirming the rankings: Neubauer took victory from Tabacchi and Wohlwend, who again finished on the podium.

"I had a really good start, I could keep the second position and then my brakes overheated, I had to tap them all the time." - explained Fabienne after the race.

"Then I did a little mistake out of turn 9, I hit the gravel a little bit and then when I tried to brake, my brakes just didn't work, so I lost second position.

"I tried to fight back, but we just crossed the finish line at thirty minutes - one lap less than expected, so we had to take P3."

After two podium finishes, Fabienne Wohlwend now sits third in the Trofeo Pirelli standings with 45 points, equal with Neubauer and 15 points behind Tabacchi.

Ferrari Challenge Europe will make its return to the racetrack in two weeks time at portimao, Portugal, for its third round of the 2020 season.



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