The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns this week for the American SpeedFest, the third round of the 2019 season. The Friday of race week saw the Practice sessions for both the Elite 1 and Elite 2 class being held and in the Elite 2 class, it was Florian Venturi that sets the early pace ahead of the returning Freddy Nordström.
Both Venturi and Nordström are the only Elite 2 drivers to set a lap time in under 50 seconds throughout Practice, with both drivers setting their sub-50 second lap in the Final Practice session. Venturi would top the combined time sheets with a best lap time of 49.763, while Nordström’s best lap time of 49.864 would placed him in second overall.
Following Venturi and Nordström in the combined time sheets is the championship leader Giorgio Maggi. Maggi would claim third after he set a best lap time of 50.067, just 0.024 seconds faster than Andre Castro in fourth. Completing the Top 5 is Valencia Race 2 winner Nicholas Risitano, who set a best lap time of 50.201 despite having an off-track excursion at Paddock Hill that brought out the Red Flag in Final Practice.
Franciacorta Race 1 winner Lasse Sørensen set the initial pace of the day when he led FP1 with a best lap time of 50.295, but he failed to improve upon the time in Final Practice as a mechanical issue would hamper his progress and he would ultimately finish Final Practice in a considerably lowly 14th with a lap time of 51.135. His FP1 time would still placed him sixth, however, ahead of Myatt Snider who also had an off-track excursion at Paddock Hill that brought out the Red Flag in Final Practice.
Advait Deodhar’s impressive season continues as the Indian driver finished in eighth in the combined Practice time sheets with a best lap time of 50.456, once again showcasing that he had no problems setting a fast lap time despite having to drive for this third team of the season. Behind him is current championship runner-up Vittorio Ghirelli, whose best lap time of 50.670 is enough to place him ninth in the combined Practice time sheets.
Scott Jeffs completes the Top 10 and would led the home heroes in Practice. His lap time of 50.680 is 0.011 seconds faster than Freddie Hemborg in eleventh, while the series’ youngest-ever driver Ben Creanor had a mighty impressive start to his first home NASCAR GP weekend. Creanor finished Practice in twelfth with a best lap time of 50.728, once again showcasing the potential pace and skill that he had despite his relative inexperience and very young age.
Pierluigi Veronesi, currently third in the championship, would claim the thirteenth spot in Practice despite having a slow start to his day when he can only finish in 21st in FP1. Thomas Krasonis showed decent pace in the No. 1 Alex Caffi Mustang after he finished Practice in P14, while Eric De Doncker tops the Legend Trophy participants in P15 after he set a nearly identical time in both Practice sessions.
Mirco Schultis had a strong start to his Friday initially when he finished eighth in FP1, but like Sorensen, he couldn’t improve upon his time in Final Practice. He would eventually finish sixteenth in the combined Practice time sheets with a best lap time of 51.186, 0.1 seconds ahead of the oldest driver in the grid Michael Bleekemolen.
Eric Clément showed decent speed in just his second NASCAR Euro race week as the ex-Blancpain driver set a best lap time of 51.293 to put himself in P18, ahead of the last of the home drivers Shaun Hollamby in P19. Ian Eric Wadén completes the Top 20 with a best lap time of 51.392, just 0.002 seconds faster than Naveh Talor, who had a tough start to his day in Brands Hatch.
Jerry de Weerdt finished in P22 after not taking part in FP1, ahead of Alessandro Brigatti who finished Practice in twenty-third place overall. Justin Kunz, currently fourth in the championship, had a horrible start to his week at Brands Hatch. His No. 99 Dexwet-DF1 Camaro lacked a lot of pace compared to both Valencia and Franciacorta, with the German being firmly stuck in the bottom 5 positions all Practice long and eventually only finished in twenty-fourth place in the combined Practice time sheets.
The returning Matthias Hauer, Arianna Casoli, and Jesse Vartiainen – who did not run the Final Practice session after the gearbox in his No. 2 Alex Caffi Mustang blew apart – completes the combined Practice time sheets.
One driver – Max Lanza – withdrew his entry after he was forced to not be able to take part in American SpeedFest due to a personal-related issue.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track for Round 5 and Round 6 of the 2019 season on 1 June and 2 June respectively. The green flag for this year’s edition of American SpeedFest will be waved at 4:58 PM local GMT on Saturday for Race 1, and at 4:23 PM local GMT on Sunday for Race 2.
All races for this season are going to be aired live on FansChoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, and the official Facebook page and YouTube channel of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Combined Practice Time Sheets
Times in BOLD are the best times set by the driver during the Practice sessions.
|RANK||DRIVER||FP1 TIME||FP2 TIME|
|1.||Florian Venturi (32)||50.502||49.763|
|2.||Freddy Nordström (11)||50.582||49.864|
|3.||Giorgio Maggi (50)||49.692||50.067|
|4.||Andre Castro (24)||51.226||50.091|
|5.||Nicholas Risitano (8)||50.928||50.201|
|6.||Lasse Sørensen (66)||50.295||51.135|
|7.||Myatt Snider (48)||50.800||50.411|
|8.||Advait Deodhar (31)||51.493||50.456|
|9.||Vittorio Ghirelli (9)||51.367||50.670|
|10.||Scott Jeffs (90)||51.585||50.680|
|11.||Freddie Hemborg (77)||52.023||50.691|
|12.||Ben Creanor (33)||51.048||50.782|
|13.||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||52.039||50.969|
|14.||Thomas Krasonis (1)||51.718||51.115|
|15.||Eric De Doncker (98)||51.207||51.136|
|16.||Mirco Schultis (70)||51.186||51.721|
|17.||Michael Bleekemolen (69)||51.849||51.286|
|18.||Eric Clément (88)||52.095||51.293|
|19.||Shaun Hollamby (46)||51.929||51.352|
|20.||Ian Eric Wadén (23)||51.499||51.392|
|21.||Naveh Talor (12)||51.394||51.678|
|22.||Jerry de Weerdt (78)||No Time||51.665|
|23.||Alessandro Brigatti (19)||51.751||52.492|
|24.||Justin Kunz (99)||53.805||51.827|
|25.||Matthias Hauer (64)||53.024||52.715|
|26.||Arianna Casoli (54)||55.040||53.765|
|27.||Jesse Vartiainen (2)||56.048||No Time|
Unless noted, photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.