Jacques Villeneuve will start from pole position in the only oval race of the 2019 Euro Series season at Raceway Venray after the Canadian set a time of 19.369 to lead the Elite 1 Qualifying session at Venray. This was Villeneuve’s first for pole position since the 2011 NASCAR Xfinity race at Montreal and his first pole in an oval since the 1993 Atlantic Championship race at New Hampshire.
Villeneuve set his best lap time on the closing minutes of the 30-minute long Qualifying session. Coming out for his third Qualifying attempt in the twelfth and penultimate batch of cars, Villeneuve’s time of 19.369 was set on his final Qualifying lap, which proved to be enough for pole position as the final batch of cars failed to set a time fast enough to beat Villeneuve’s time.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” said Villeneuve to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “I was waiting for the oval. There was one here, it’s a proper oval, a high-banking half-mile, it was fun. The car was great in race trim, a little bit loose in Qualifying trim, but it worked for one lap.”
Accompanying Villeneuve in the front row of the grid is home driver Loris Hezemans. Hezemans held the provisional pole the longest, as his best lap time of 19.413 was set in his second Qualifying attempt in the fifth batch of cars. Hezemans was among one of the five drivers to go to the track in the thirteenth and final batch of cars to try beat JV’s time, but neither he or the four other drivers who took the track in the final batch (Stienes Longin, Martin Doubek, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, and Frédéric Gabillon) was able to beat Villeneuve’s time in their final Qualifying attempt.
The PK Carsport drivers of Stienes Longin and Nicolò Rocca will start from the second row of the grid, with Martin Doubek completing the Top 5 in Qualifying in an impressive qualifying effort for the Czech driver. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, another home driver for Venray, also impressed in qualifying as he will start in sixth place in his best Qualifying effort in Euro Series so far.
The most successful driver in ovals in the Euro Series, Frédéric Gabillon, will start in seventh while his long-time rival Ander Vilariño will start from eighth place in his first oval race since 2015. Alon Day will start in ninth after he struggled to find pace in his No. 54 SS, while Day’s new CAAL Racing teammate Thomas Ferrando completes the Top 10 in Qualifying.
Salvador Tineo Arroyo brings the No. 46 Marko Stipp Motorsport Camaro to 11th place in the grid ahead of Romain Iannetta. Gianmarco Ercoli and Alexander Graff, who will start from the seventh row of the grid, were the last drivers to set a sub-20 second lap time in Qualifying.
Ulysse Delsaux continued to struggle in Qualifying as the former Elite 2 champion will be starting from 15th place on the grid ahead of Henri Tuomaala, the fastest of the Challenger Trophy drivers. Mauro Trione, who at one point was in the Top 10 during Qualifying, will start from 17th place on the grid as Kenko Miura, Dario Caso, and Ellen Lohr completes the grid for the 100-lap race at Venray.
Full Qualifying Results
|1.||Jacques Villeneuve (32)||19.369|
|2.||Loris Hezemans (50)||19.413|
|3.||Stienes Longin (11)||19.435|
|4.||Nicolò Rocca (24||19.502|
|5.||Martin Doubek (7)||19.571|
|6.||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||19.620|
|7.||Frédéric Gabillon (3)||19.637|
|8.||Ander Vilariño (48)||19.688|
|9.||Alon Day (54)||19.726|
|10.||Thomas Ferrando (27)||19.730|
|11.||Salvador Tineo Arroyo (46)||19.850|
|12.||Romain Iannetta (88)||19.864|
|13.||Gianmarco Ercoli (9)||19.885|
|14.||Alexander Graff (77)||19.904|
|15.||Ulysse Delsaux (36)||20.023|
|16.||Henri Tuomaala (23)||20.027|
|17.||Mauro Trione (31)||20.103|
|18.||Kenko Miura (2)||20.234|
|19.||Dario Caso (8)||20.243|
|20.||Ellen Lohr (99)||21.016|
Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.