Mugello Ferraris: Cullen surges to finals win

Irish racer Michael Cullen surged to the runner's-up spot in the European Ferrari Challenge championship with a win and a second place in the final round of the season at the Ferrari-owned circuit of Mugello on Saturday

Mugello Ferraris: Cullen surges to finals win

The Finali Mondiali, which brings together the Italian, European and American Challenge championships, was conducted under the watchful auspices of the Ferrari F1 hierarchy of Luca di Montezemolo, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Jean Todt.

Newly-crowned European Challenge champion Ange Barde won Friday's weekend-opener after a fierce scrap with local boy Edoardo Bisconcin, who ended the race in the wall after outbraking himself in a vain attempt to pass the Frenchman. Polesitter Paddy Shovlin did what Fernando Alonso has been threatening to do all season and planted his car into the wall on the parade lap with some over-exuberant weaving to warm his tyres.

Shovlin repaid his team - who had worked all night to repair his car - by muscling his way from 32nd on the grid to third overall. But all the racecraft he could muster did not prevent him from relinquishing second spot in the championship to team-mate and compatriot Cullen, who took the race win by 0.054 seconds from Nick Hommerson. Barde had been handed a stop-go penalty for overtaking before the line at the end of the mid-race Safety Car period.

Markus Lehner did enough to take the class two championship with a third and a fourth-place finish. Norbert Walchhofer was victorious in the first race and Emilio Giusti won his sixth race of the season on Saturday putting him second in the final standings.

Barde was the highest-placed European Challenge finisher in the World Finals on Sunday, coming home 11th overall.


1 Ange Barde (F) 27:05.593
2 Michael Cullen (IRL) 27:06.593
3 Nick Hommerson (NED) 27:10.678
4 Tony Ring (SWE) 27:31.490
5 Norbert Graf (D) 27:45.650
6 Pasquale Gagliardi (I) 27:49.684

1 Michael Cullen (IRL) 43:58.707
2 Nick Hommerson (NED) 43:58.761
3 Paddy Shovlin (IRL) 44:05.213
4 Norbert Graf (D) 44:06.256
5 Tony Ring (SWE) 44:06.382
6 Rene Rasmussen (DK) 44:08.583

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