The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to action last week for the third round of the 2019 season, the seventh edition of the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch. In the Elite 2 class, it was Lasse Sørensen that scored the double at Brands Hatch, including scoring an incredible last-to-first victory in the Saturday race.
As we are waiting for Round 4 at Autodrom Most on 29-30 June, we’re collecting some of the words that the drivers say after the races at Brands Hatch to see how they react towards what has happened to them at Brands Hatch.
Lasse Sørensen – No. 66 Dexwet-DF1 Racing
Lasse Sørensen’s incredible start to his NASCAR career continued in Brands Hatch. In the Saturday race, despite having to start from last on the grid after he failed to set a lap time in Qualifying due to a broken prop shaft, Sørensen somehow was able to climb his way up to first, passing Florian Venturi on the final lap to claim the win and becoming the first driver in the Euro Series to score the maximum amount of points possible in a race. Here’s what Sørensen had to say to series commentator Mark Werrell in the post-Race 1 interview:
“It was amazing, I didn’t expect it when I was on the grid,” said Sørensen in the post-race interview. “When I was in the car, I was like “Yeah, Top 10, and I will be happy.” Suddenly, when the Safety Car came out, I was tenth, and I was like “OK, now we really got to go for it.” Then we have some knock on the outside, I think the car’s in front had some spin. There was a crash in front, I think when you come from 27th, you need that luck. I’m so glad and happy for the team Dexwet-DF1 Racing and also my fantastic sponsor Flexlease.nu.
It’s going pretty good at the moment. After the Qualifying, we have all kinds of problem that we can have and that’s why we started 27th, so it was good to finally see that when the car was running, we are able to fight for the victory and I won in Italy, it was not just a luck one.”
He would continue his excellent week on Race 2, when he passed Andre Castro for the lead on the penultimate lap to claim his third win in just 4 starts in the series, which would also climb him up to the Top 5 in the Drivers Championship despite missing the season opening round at Valencia. Here’s what Sørensen had to say in the post-Race 2 interview:
“I didn’t expect when we were done with Qualifying that we will be able to win two time here,” said Sørensen in the post-race interview. “That’s unbelievable and thanks to all the mechanics and the whole team at Dexwet-DF1 and to my sponsor Flexlease. Without them, this will not be a possibility for me, so I’m really glad for them.
I went a bit deep on him, so I think he saw me in the mirrors and he had to let go of the brake, and I think he went a bit sideways on the exit. I just knew this was my chance, and it was like a do or die move and it worked out in the end, so I’m really happy that we can drive so fair here in EuroNASCAR and there was contact, a lot of contact, but its fair and there’s not too much contact and that’s something I like about this championship.”
Advait Deodhar – No. 31 CAAL Racing
Advait Deodhar, the 2018 Elite Club Champion, enjoyed his best week in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series at Brands Hatch. Deodhar continued to show that he is still a fast driver despite having to drive for his third team so far in this season, with the Indian driver scoring his first podium in the Euro Series on the Saturday race before finishing his week with a 6th place finish to cement himself as one of the Championship contenders for this season. Here’s what Deodhar had to say after scoring his first podium in the post-Race 1 interview:
“I’m so happy, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Deodhar to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “Of course first would have been great, but I couldn’t asked for more. Ever since from the start it was an absolutely crazy race. I feel the spectators enjoyed it as well, and there was a lot of hairy moments. I think first corner, which is very very quick, I went off to the sand and I was just on the edge. I was like “I’m putting my foot planted” and I somehow made it through and there wasn’t very much damage to the front, but it was a very fun race as a driver.”
Andre Castro – No. 24 PK Carsport
Andre Castro found himself in the same situation as he did in Valencia and Franciacorta. Despite starting his day with Castro securing his first Euro Series pole position on Qualifying, he would end up having a troublesome Race 1 after he got spun out on Lap 9 and receiving a Drive-Through penalty late in the race for spinning out Myatt Snider on Lap 18, and Castro would eventually finish the race in 14th position.
In Race 2, he grabbed the lead late in the race after Venturi had a missed gear change that would slow Venturi down on Lap 24, but Castro would finish Race 2 in second yet again after Sorensen passed him on the penultimate lap at Graham Hill Bend to grab the victory. Here’s what Castro had to say to Mark Werrell in the post-Race 2 interview:
“It’s really disappointing, but also it’s kind of a relief,” said Castro to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “It’s literally in the program, outside of the Top 15 in Saturday and second in Sunday, so it’s becoming more of a routine right now. I just didn’t defend enough when I had to. I should have closed the door more and he (Sorensen) got through with some contact but that was fair. At the end of the day, I’m really happy for the guys and happy that they give me a good car and support because second place is, I keep saying its good, it’s just it really sucks, I want to win.
I missed a shift (on Druids), that was totally on me, it was because something on the muscles not working where it should be. So, you know, it is what it is, I think until that point in the race it was good and I think if we can keep finishing inside the Top 3, we will be making a ground in the Championship.”
Giorgio Maggi – No. 50 Hendriks Motorsport
Giorgio Maggi had an up and down weekend at Brands Hatch. In Race 1, Maggi received a Drive-Through penalty after causing an avoidable collision with Andre Castro on Lap 9 that dropped him down the order before finishing the race in 12th and losing the Championship lead to his closest Championship rival Vittorio Ghirelli, who finished 4th in the race.
Despite this, Maggi would finish his week at Brands Hatch on a high note, finishing 3rd after staying in the Top 5 for most of the race to secure his third podium in his Euro Series career and reclaiming the Championship lead from Ghirelli. Here’s what Maggi had to say to Mark Werrell in the post-Race 2 interview:
“It was really tough, especially in the start when we lost a place,” said Maggi in the post-race interview. “This track is always hard to get the position back. I’m happy though that I’m still leading the championship after yesterday’s race was a little bit critical. It was a lot of fun and a really tough race.
I’ve been to Most before and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a really nice characteristic of slow and fast corners. In general, the track has a really nice flow to them and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Florian Venturi – No. 32 Go Fas Racing
Florian Venturi’s luckless season continues after he lost what was likely going to be a double victory at Brands Hatch due to gearbox issues. In Race 1, he led the majority of the race thanks to Maggi and Castro’s incident on Lap 9 only to lose third and fourth gear on the penultimate lap, which would allow Lasse Sorensen, Scott Jeffs, Advait Deodhar to pass him on the last lap to drop him down to 4th, although Jeffs’ post-race penalty would meant that Venturi was classified in 3rd for Race 1.
In Race 2, Venturi again led for the majority of the race before two missed gear change at the Cooper Straight on Lap 24 and Lap 25 would drop him down the order, eventually finishing 4th yet again to cap off another luckless week for him. Here’s what Venturi had to say regarding his Race 1 gearbox issue in the post-Race 1 interview:
“I broke the gearbox with two laps remaining,” said Venturi to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “I still finished the race fourth, so there’s its positive and negative points. Let’s see tomorrow for the Race 2. I can’t go to third and fourth (gear) in the last two laps, so I need a new gearbox (for Race 2).”
Thomas Krasonis – No. 1 Alex Caffi Motorsport
The young Greek driver Thomas Krasonis enjoyed a strong weekend at Brands Hatch. Saturday proved to be his best day in his Euro Series career so far after making the Superpole for the first time in his Euro Series career and finishing just outside of the Top 5 with a 6th place finish on Race 1. While his Race 2 was hampered by a Drive-Through penalty for taking out Shaun Hollamby, overall his week at Brands Hatch can be described as a positive one. Here’s what Krasonis had to say after the race at Brands Hatch in a Facebook post posted on his Facebook page:
“Saturday was an incredible day since I managed to enter my first super pole and finish in the Top 10 for the first time in the 7th position. On Sunday things didn’t work out the same way, while fighting for 15th place I got a drive through penalty and ended up 25th. I want to thank my amazing team Alex Caffi Motorsport for the work they put in to make my car extremely competitive and to my Spotter! See you all in the next race.”
Michael Bleekemolen – No. 69 Team Bleekemolen
Michael Bleekemolen, the oldest driver in the grid, enjoyed a strong weekend at Brands Hatch. Bleekemolen was able to avoid the incidents in Race 1 to finish first in the Legend Trophy and 7th overall – his best finish of the season so far. In addition, while an engine problem early in the race would ultimately relegated him to the back of the field in Race 2, his 20th place finish was enough to complete the podium for the Legend Trophy in the Sunday race. Here’s what Bleekemolen had to say after Race 2 in a press release released by RacePlanet (original link is in Dutch):
“At the start I had a faltering engine,” said Bleekemolen shortly after the race. “At the end of the second lap I actually wanted to dive into the pits, but suddenly the engine picked it up again and I was able to drive on, but I was now completely at the back. I think there was some dirt in the engine. A Safety Car allowed me to come back to the tail of the field and after that I was able to catch up. That way I ended up third in the Legend class, but that was more luck than wisdom.
We keep up well in terms of speed in the races, but we have to qualify better. This is perhaps because we have never really tested before the season. We will try to test for Most together with Loris Hezemans. Perhaps he sees what’s going on. In addition, we continue to have braking problems and that has an effect on concentration.”
Justin Kunz – No. 99 Dexwet-DF1 Racing
Justin Kunz would left Brands Hatch feeling disappointed that he can’t achieve more at Brands Hatch. In Race 1, Kunz received a Drive-Through penalty early in the race that dropped him down the order, but the ensuing chaos that happened meant that Kunz was able to recover to finish in 8th and nearly passing Michael Bleekemolen for 7th at the line, and he can only finish in 14th in Race 2 after Kunz struggled for pace throughout Race 2. Here’s what Kunz had to say on his week at Brands Hatch on Dexwet-DF1 Racing’s press release:
“Of course, I’m not quite satisfied with the weekend,” told the 21-year-old. “In qualifying I was happy that we had 20 minutes because I lacked practice time. I was third in Q1. For Superpole we tried to further optimize the car. Unfortunately, the desired effect didn’t happen, which is why I only finished tenth. The start into the first race was a disaster: Advait was ahead of me and he was very slow. Yes, I overtook in front of the line, but he was like a wall in front of me. I simply prevented an accident with this maneuver. The following drive-through penalty destroyed my race. After all, I managed to move up to eighth again.
We were actually very optimistic for the second race. Unfortunately I only finished 14th and of course I’m not satisfied with that. Now I’m looking forward to the races at the Czech Republic. I really like the Autodrom Most. Congratulations to Lasse, who had a strong weekend. Hats off to this awesome guy, he’s doing a really good job.”
Pierluigi Veronesi – No. 27 Alex Caffi Motorsport
While Veronesi didn’t achieve the targets that he would like to achieve, he would come out of Brands Hatch still in the Top 5 in the Drivers Championship. After missing out on Superpole, Veronesi sneaked his way to a Top 10 finish in Race 1 in the chaos that ensued before finishing in 14th on Race 2 to cap off what he described as a “positive” weekend for him and the No. 27 Alex Caffi Motorsport team at Brands Hatch. Here’s what Veronesi had to say about the week at Brands Hatch in a press release on his official website (original article is in Italian):
“Running at Brands Hatch is really something incredible,” said Veronesi in the press release. “Every year there’s a unique emotion, so many spectators, this is the true motorsport, in Italy we should take this as an example as we are a land of motors. Honestly, this weekend I thought I would get better results. Being conservative is not in my nature, but it was important to do it from a Championship point of view where we still sail in the top positions and I am fourth in the general classification.
However, I do not hide a bit of frustration; the level of teams and drivers this year is very high, perhaps one of the highest in the history of the Euro Series. For the future we must certainly do more, but I do not intend to break down.”
Ian Eric Wadén – No. 23 Memphis Racing
Ian Eric Wadén continues his streak of consistent finishes with a 15th and 18th place finish in the races at Brands Hatch. It was also a good week for Wadén in the Legend Trophy, as he was able to score his second Legend Trophy victory at Race 2 and he would come out of Brands Hatch as the leader of the Legend Trophy standings by just 2 points ahead of Mirco Schultis. Here’s what Wadén had to say about his performance in Race 2 to Mark Werrell in the post-Race 2 interview:
“It was always nice to win,” said Wadén in the post-race interview. “It was a difficult race, a lot of things are happening, it could go to the other way for us but good race. It’s a difficult track, but you know here with all of these people racing, it’s nice to win.”
“This is quite the best weekend I ever have, no question about it. We will go to a new place, which I think lots to know on what’s about, so its going to be different that’s for sure. Let’s hope its going to be a good race there as well.”
Naveh Talor – No. 12 Solaris Motorsport
Talor’s week in Brands Hatch would start in the lowest note possible. During the Elite 2 Qualifying, the engine of his No. 12 Camaro blew on the front straight and the team was unable to change it in time for Race 1, forcing both Talor and his Elite 1 teammate Francesco Sini to sit in the sidelines for Saturday. The team would rebound in Sunday, however, as Talor did a great comeback job to come from last on the grid to finish in 16th, claiming the 4 bonus points for the most positions gained along the way. Here’s what Talor had to say after the Sunday race in Solaris Motorsport’s press release:
“The weekend was like a roller coaster,” said Talor in the press release. “It started pretty good when I had good pace and was loving the track more and more as I drove it. Qualifying was the peak of the roller coaster, started good with me feeling great in the car. The engine failure after only 5 laps was a shame. It was a deep blow that Francesco couldn’t race in Race 1 after he qualified an amazing 5th. The team worked a lot and they fixed the car, they were great.
Sunday was a day of redemption for both Francesco and me. For me it was a tough race, I was unlucky with the amount of time the safety car was out which compromised me from passing more cars. Anyway it was a fantastic weekend with so many great fans and was fun to sign autographs for all of them. For me it has been one of the most fun events I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
Unless noted, photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.