After a horrible start to the season that includes a 30-second post-race time penalty in Valencia Race 1, the loss of all points scored due to multiple incidents in Valencia Race 2, and a heartbreaking mechanical failure at Franciacorta Race 1, Florian Venturi finally returns to the Victory Lane after he scored a dominant win at yesterday’s Elite 2 race. This is Venturi’s third career win in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Starting from pole after setting the fastest lap on Saturday’s Race 1, Venturi got off to a great start and immediately started to make some ground on second-place man Andre Castro. Venturi’s lead would continue to grow over the course of the race and he will ultimately take the checkered flag with a 15.068 gap to Castro.
“It’s very special for the team and myself,” said Venturi to Mark Werrell post-race. “It’s a very intense race. I don’t understand, but my tires don’t hold on, so it’s very nice for me and for the team. I’m very confident for Brands Hatch.”
Having stayed behind Venturi all-race long, Andre Castro would finish in second, thus repeating his performance at Valencia after his race at Franciacorta on Saturday was cut short due to an engine failure that took him out from the lead with just two laps to go. This is Castro’s second podium in the series.
“We’ve got the same result as we’ve got in Valencia,” said Castro in the post-race interview. “Obviously it’s a great result for us. My first win is just around the corner, and man, I really want it, but you know, second place is always really good for the championship and if we keep going out for podiums like this and kinda get rid of some of the bad luck, we’re definitely going to be in for the championship.”
Finishing in third is Saturday’s race winner Lasse Sorensen. Starting from fourth on the grid, the Dane would stay there for most of the race as he continued to pile the pressure on championship leader Giorgio Maggi in the battle for third. Ultimately, Maggi would succumb to the pressure as the Swiss driver ran wide at turn 1 on lap 22, allowing Sørensen to move up to third to secure a back-to-back podium in his very first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race week.
“It was a great weekend, a great first weekend as well,” said Sørensen to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “We have some luck yesterday. Today we didn’t have any luck, but we manage to keep our pace through the whole race. In the end, I felt my tires was good but I started to save a bit mid-way. It was a good fight with Maggi in the last couple of laps. It’s an immensely great first week.”
Despite finishing in fourth, Maggi would extend his championship lead by one point as he finished just ahead of his closest championship rival Vittorio Ghirelli. Myatt Snider would finish in sixth, ahead of Justin Kunz and Bert Longin. Both Kunz and Longin had an exciting race-long battle with Snider for P6. Advait Deodhar again quietly impresses in his first Elite 2 full-season as the Indian scored a ninth-place finish in the No. 64 Speedhouse SS, while Claudio Remigio Cappelli would rebound from his Race 1 retirement to finish inside the Top 10 with a tenth-place finish for the VW Fun Cup veteran.
Moreno di Silvestre, whose results this week are credited to Sam Taheri in the championship for some reason, finished in eleventh ahead of Scott Jeffs. Jeffs, who retired on the first lap of Race 1 and was forced to start from last for Race 2 because of the retirement, made an incredible charge as he slowly made his way through the field to eventually finish in twelfth. His heroic performance would also saw him win the 4 bonus points for the most positions gained.
“I did only one lap in yesterday’s race, so I’m really happy with this comeback,” said Jeffs post-race. “I was aiming for a top-15 and I managed to make some good passes. I think it was possible to get into the top-10, but I didn’t want to risk anything and just took the finish. I want consistency as it’s really important in this championship.”
Pierluigi Veronesi in the No. 27 Caffi Mustang would finish in thirteenth, ahead of Freddie Hemborg and Naveh Talor. Talor made an impressive pass on Nicholas Risitano on the last lap of the race to claim P15 on Sunday’s race. Behind Risitano was Ben Creanor, who recovered from his retirement in Race 1 to finish in P17, ahead of Saturday’s Legend Trophy winner Ian Eric Wadén. Jerry de Weerdt finished in P19 and was the last car on the lead lap. Alessandro Brigatti completes the top 20 after running off-course on lap 9 and lapped by Venturi on the last lap of the race.
Shaun Hollamby would finish in P21, one lap down from Venturi. Mirco Schultis (P24) and Arianna Casoli (P25) were the other classified finishers. Both Schultis and Casoli finished two laps down in the end.
Michael Bleekemolen was forced to retire on the very first lap after he got spun out coming out of turn 7. He would be joined by Eric Clément, Max Lanza, Jesse Vartiainen, and Thomas Krasonis in the retirement zone. Martin Doubek, who was third in the championship coming to Sunday’s race, was unable to make the start.
In the Championship, Giorgio Maggi would continue to lead the championship with 137 points. Vittorio Ghirelli in still in second with 132 points, while Doubek’s DNS would saw Pierluigi Veronesi jump up to third with 110 points. Justin Kunz moved up to fourth with 106 points, while Advait Deodhar would move up to fifth also with 106 points. Kunz would win the tiebreaker by virtue of highest place finish – a fourth place for Kunz in comparison to Deodhar’s double fifth place.
Myatt Snider would move up to sixth with 101 points, tying Naveh Talor who is currently in seventh. Andre Castro moved up to eighth with 98 points, 3 points ahead of Nicholas Risitano while Jerry de Weerdt would complete the top 10 with 94 points. Doubek would drop down to sixteenth as a result of his DNS, while Lasse Sørensen’s impressive first week would saw him placed in 21st in the championship with 74 points.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series would return to action on 1-2 June for the seventh edition of the American SpeedFest. All races will be streamed live on FansChoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, and the official Facebook page and YouTube account of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Photos are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.