DAYTONA BEACH FL. – The Ferrari Finali Mondiali, being held in North America for the first time, combined competition with celebration on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, creating an all-around showcase for the legendary Prancing Horse marquee.
Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne led a group of executives who surprised Ferrari owners in the parade at the start-finish line as they saluted the cars as they passed. Representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records were on hand to certify the results.
After two premier races on the 3.56-mile road course, Saturday’s activities concluded with the Ferrari North America Customers’ Parade, with approximately 1,000 Ferraris lapping the road course, creating the largest-ever Ferrari parade lap on a North American track.
Prior to the parade, competitors in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell battled for the second straight day with two 30-minute races.
Rusty Wallace, the 1989 champion of NASCAR’s premier series and a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, had a disappointing 32nd-place finish in the weekend’s second Trofeo Pirelli race, driving for the Risi Competizione/Ferrari of Houston. Wallace, who finished a solid 15th overall in his first race on Friday and scored a podium in his class, will try to rebound today in the Trofeo Pirelli World Final.
Wallace was running 14th on Saturday when he lost brake pressure going into the road course’s chicane coming off the high-speed backstretch. He blew through the chicane – commonly called the “Bus Stop” due to the significant speed reduction required – and past some competitors. Passing under yellow is a rule violation and Wallace was assessed a drive-through penalty which led to the poor finish.
“I actually think we had a better run today,” Wallace said after Saturday’s race, in which he did post the fastest speed – 192.563 mph. “Now we’ll go back, work on these brakes, tune it up and get ready for the last race tomorrow – the World Final.
“Our lap times were great, lot better than Friday. We’ve got a little bit of work to do on the car but I think my driving’s improved a ton [this weekend.]”
Saturday’s headlining Trofeo Pirelli race was won by Daniel Mancinelli of Italy, who also topped the Professional, North American class. Other class winners: Bjorn Grossman of Germany in Professional, Europe; Sam Smeeth of Great Britain in Amateur, European; Fabio Leimer of Switzerland in Professional, Europe; Florian Merckx of Belgium in Professional Asia Pacific; and Huilin Han of China in Amateur Asia Pacific.
Saturday’s Coppa Shell race was won by Canadian Rick Lovat, who also topped the Europe class. The other class winners were American Rob Hodes in the North America class and Japan’s Ken Seto in the Asia Pacific class.
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