Maastricht, 26 April 2023 - Team RaceArt-Kroymans experienced a demanding weekend in the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell upon its return to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Roger Grouwels was involved in intense races and fierce battles throughout both race days.
The Italian circuit, located on the Adriatic coast, is a location of historical significance for the Maastricht-based squad. During the 2021 Finali Mondiali event, Roger Grouwels captured both the Coppa Shell European title and the world championship at this very venue. After a year's absence, Team RaceArt-Kroymans returned for what promised to be a challenging weekend.
This immediately proved to be the case in qualifying. After Friday running consisted of a testing session and Free Practice, which saw Grouwels cover plenty of mileage aboard his Ferrari 488 Challenge EVO, his pace was put straight to the test during the opening qualifying session on Saturday. Grouwels recorded an early flying lap of 1:37.585, but an interrupted session due to a car failure for Manuela Gostner made further improvement impossible. Eighth place was the result.
The first race, later that day, quickly turned chaotic. In the opening exchanges, Thomas Gostner rear-ended Willem van der Vorm’s car and turned him around. Grouwels was forced to leave the track and take avoiding action. He gained two positions in the process and climbed to sixth position. This turned into fifth position not much later when Christian Kinch encountered problems, but shortly thereafter race control handed out a ten-second time penalty to Grouwels for allegedly overtaking competitors off track during the chaos during the start. Grouwels then battled with John Dhillon in the closing minutes of the race. An unfortunately clumsy overtaking attempt resulted in contact, which spun Dhillon's car round as a result. A second time penalty - this time 25 seconds - followed, after which Team RaceArt-Kroymans was classified eighteenth in the final standings.
The following morning, Grouwels posted the ninth fastest time in qualifying. However, he was hampered by a power steering issue on his car. The team then fiercely worked during the break between qualifying and the race to replace the power steering pump before the start of the second race. They succeeded, but not in time for Grouwels to take his spot on the starting grid. Instead, he was forced to start the second race of the weekend from the pit lane. An impressive charge up the pack followed, in which he managed to overtake quite a few opponents at rapid pace. However, the race was ended prematurely due to a huge crash for Fons Scheltema and Eric Cheung. The incident damaged the crash barrier to such an extent that a red flag was necessary. With Scheltema and Cheung gone, Grouwels gained two more spots. Sadly the early end to the race meant that he missed out on a chance to fight for a top ten finish in the closing stages. He finished eleventh.
After Misano, Grouwels sits eighth in the Coppa Shell standings with thirteen points. The Ferrari Challenge continues May 12-14 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.