Maastricht, 18 September 2023 - Team RaceArt-Kroymans experienced an excellent return to the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Roger Grouwels featured at the head of the field all weekend and was rewarded for his efforts with a dominant win during Race 1 on Saturday.
Grouwels rejoined the Ferrari Challenge grid at the Belgian circuit after a short absence, having driven to his best result of the season earlier in the year on a wet Red Bull Ring by finishing fourth. Team RaceArt-Kroymans enjoyed strong results at Spa in the past, previously taking victory in Coppa Shell and picking up three podiums in the Supercar Challenge last year.
The Dutch squad was on the pace from the very start of the weekend, as Grouwels set the fastest time in the first and only Free Practice session of the weekend. He carried this form over to Saturday qualifying, steering the No. 117 Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo to pole position by just 0.003 seconds over Ernst Kirchmayr. It marked Grouwels’ first pole of the season, ending a Ferrari Challenge pole drought that dated back to the Valencia round in September 2021.
Saturday’s opening race brought similarly fruitful results. After a solid start, Grouwels beat Kirchmayr into the all-important run through Eau Rouge to retain the race lead. Attempts to build an early gap were rendered null and void when a crash for Hendrik Kamstrup brought out the safety car, but once the race restarted Grouwels quickly opened up a substantial lead. Unfortunately a six-second advantage was dashed by a second caution, but kept his cool to stay clear of Kirchmayr and Axel Sartingen to record a lights-to-flag victory. It marked the first Ferrari Challenge win for Team RaceArt-Kroymans since a Trofeo Pirelli Am race at the Nürburgring in September 2021.
Following on from Saturday’s success, Team RaceArt’s distinctive white, black and red Ferrari once more featured in the top three when Grouwels qualified third for Race 2 behind newly crowned champion Axel Sartingen and Manuela Gostner. At the race start later that day, Grouwels slotted into third behind the pair but quickly moved up to third when Sartingen tripped up attempting to take the lead at Les Combes and spun. Grouwels then withstood race-long pressure from Kirchmayr to finish third, although the tension was lessened somewhat when the Austrian picked up five-second penalty for track limit infringements.
With considerable momentum from its Spa success, Team RaceArt-Kroymans will now focus towards the Finali Mondiali. Similarly to 2021, Ferrari’s traditional season-ending event will take place at Italy’s Mugello Circuit on October 24-30.