The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

2014 Pirelli Ferrari Open

Round 3 & 4

Donington Park

31st May 2014

1st R1: Wayne Marrs (458/Ch) / R2: Wayne Marrs
2nd R1: John Seale (458/Ch) / R2: John Seale
3rd R1: Graham Reeder/Tony Jones (430GT3) / R2: Graham Reeder/Tony Jones
report by Christian Mineeff
photography by Simon Cooke

The third and fourth races of this year’s Pirelli Ferrari Open series took place at the reasonably popular Donington circuit. Everybody knows the track well and if something goes wrong there are decent run-off areas before anything hard appears.

It was a fairly small meeting and so the Ferraris were mostly tucked up in the pit area garages which is a bit better than being in the vast wilds of the tarmac paddock.

The entry was modest and again reflected the fact that the modern Ferrari racers, like 458 Challenges and GT3s, can race in any number of high-profile series in the UK let alone abroad. By the time you bring the car, the team, the transporter and all the rest of the gubbins you might as well try your hand at something like GT Cup or, if you really want to spend some money, British GT which a number of ex-Open racers have moved over to.

Race 1 – Saturday

Twelve cars tipped out for Saturday morning qualifying, and it was quite close for the first three places on the grid. Returnee John Seale again impressed and put his 458/Ch on pole, but only just ahead of the similar tipo of Wayne Marrs and the 430 GT3 of Graham Reeder. The rest of the field was some three seconds behind, led by the 360/Chs of Robert Macfarlane and Paul Ugo. Nigel Jenkins was the quickest of the four 355/Chs entered.

The start brought a big surprise – Marrs dived into the pits at the end of the green flag lap to have his wheel nuts tightened! This left him dead last as the rest of them roared away, but by end of the first lap he had already passed four cars.

At the front Seale had eked out a tiny lead from Reeder but Marrs was really storming to catch them. By lap 4 he was up into third, going some 2 secs per lap quicker and by lap 10 he was right there with the leaders. A lap later and he was in the lead!

But neither Seale nor Reeder gave up and the three of them remained nose to tail until the chequered flag came out after 21 laps.

Behind the leading trio things were a bit less frenetic. Bernard Hogarth (458/Ch) had a lonely race into fourth spot and behind him Ugo won the 360 battle from Macfarlane . Behind them came an interesting car, the yellow 308 GTB of Mario Ferrari which has had a long and distinguished history, first winning the O-class championship in the old PMFC days in the hands of John Wilson, then the M-class also with Wilson, and then it became a concours winning car in the hands of Christian Mineeff before eventually ending up with Mario. Nice to see these oldies back!

Race 2 – Sunday

Sunday’s race was to be a 45 minute one with driver changes allowed, and a mandatory pit-stop if there was no driver change. Only a few elected to double-drive, notably Tony Jones sharing the Reeder 430 and young Jim Cartwright in Ferrari’s 308.

Qualifying was headed by Marrs ahead of Marcus Hogarth, the son of Bernard who had driven the 458 the day before. Tony Jones put the 430 into third spot ahead of Seale, all four of these covered by a couple of seconds. Ugo again headed the 360s but amongst the 355s it was the shared car of Lee Moulden and Darren Laverty which was quickest ahead of Nigel Jenkins.

This time Marrs had no problems at the start and started pulling out a lead from Seale and Hogarth. But the latter two were locked together with Hogarth looking every which way to get past, which he finally achieved 8 laps into the race. By this time Marrs was over 10 seconds up the road but was being caught – by sometimes two seconds per lap.

But on lap 16 Hogarth had a spin and lost a lot of time; he rejoined to start the chase again just as Marrs pulled into the pits to retire with gearbox maladies. This put Seale into the lead but he still had to make his pit stop which he did on lap 22 and this then put Hogarth back into the lead which he kept to the end, winning by a handy 23 secs.

The Jones/Reeder 430 had another good race but had a slow pit stop which cost them time, and they finished third, a minute and a half behind.

Ugo was again the best of the 360s but Macfarlane was always in his mirrors, and Jenkins overcame the Laverty/Moulden 355 to win the class.