The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns this week for the start of the 2019 Playoffs with the American Fan Fest Semi Finals at the Hockenheimring. On yesterday’s Elite 1 Practice sessions, it was Loris Hezemans that leads the charge as he leads both Practice sessions to set the early pace in his No. 50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang.

Hezemans started his day strong as he became the only driver to set a lap time in under 1:33 on FP1 with a lap time of 1:32.709, half a second faster than Alon Day who finished FP1 in second. Hezemans would further improve his time in the Final Free Practice session as he set a best lap time of 1:32.527 to lead both Free Practice sessions at Hockenheim.

Nicolò Rocca would finish the Practice sessions in second place in the combined Practice timesheets. Rocca, who currently sits in third place in the Championship, set a best lap time that is just 0.057 seconds slower than Hezemans’ best. His teammate, championship leader Stienes Longin, finishes Practice in third with a best lap time of 1:32.774.

Defending champion and winner of Race 2 at Hockenheim last year Alon Day finished in fourth in the combined Practice timesheets with a best lap time of 1:32.800, with Ander Vilariño finishing in fifth with a best lap time of 1:33.048 despite not taking part in the first Free Practice session due to gearbox issues.

Alexander Graff, Thomas Ferrando, Lucas Lasserre, Romain Iannetta, and Salvador Tineo Arroyo completes the Top 10 in the combined Practice timesheets. Tineo in particular had a very impressive effort in the Final Free Practice session, as his best lap time of 1:33.277 in the Speedhouse Chevrolet SS was enough for third in the early stages of the final Free Practice before he slowly dropped down the order as other drivers set a better lap time in the latter stages of FP2.

Gianmarco Ercoli and Martin Doubek was eleventh and twelfth respectively, ahead of Daniel Keilwitz, who finished in 13th as the fastest driver out of the six that are making their Elite 1 debuts this week with a best lap time of 1:33.569 set in FP2. Jacques Villeneuve’s return to Hockenheim proved to be a tough one so far as he didn’t take part in FP1 and his best lap time of 1:33.645 is only enough for 14th place.

Henri Tuomaala, who finished in 15th in the combined Practice timesheets, is the fastest Challenger Trophy driver on Friday. Kenko Miura, despite only finishing in 20th in the combined Practice timesheets, had an arguably more impressive day than Tuomaala as his best FP1 lap time of 1:34.178 was enough for 7th place in FP1’s timesheets.

RDV Competition had yet another tough session as Frédéric Gabillon and Ulysse Delsaux’s best lap times are only enough for 16th and 19th respectively in the combined Practice timesheets. The returning Lorenzo Marcucci was 17th fastest in The Club’s No. 41 Camaro, while Sebastiaan Bleekemolen – who pulled an unique double duty this week as he also took part in the Renault Clio Cup Central Europe – finished 18th with a best lap time of 1:33.915, one of the very few drivers who set a faster lap time in FP1 instead of FP2.

Francesco Sini, Dylan Derdaele, Scott Jeffs, Mauro Trione, and Guillaume Deflandre – who is replacing Ellen Lohr in the No. 99 team as a last-minute entry change – completes the Top 25, while Ioannis Smyrlis, Marco Santamaria, Michaela Dorcikova, and Dario Caso – who did not set a lap time in any of the Free Practice sessions – completes the rest of the field.

COMBINED PRACTICE TIMESHEETS

RANK DRIVER FP1 TIME FP2 TIME
1. Loris Hezemans (50) 1:32.709 1:32.527
2. Nicolò Rocca (24) 1:33.852 1:32.584
3. Stienes Longin (11) 1:33.388 1:32.774
4. Alon Day (54) 1:33.275 1:32.800
5. Ander Vilariño (48) No Time 1:33.048
6. Alexander Graff (77) 1:34.566 1:33.091
7. Thomas Ferrando (27) 1:34.468 1:33.127
8. Lucas Lasserre (33) 1:33.321 1:33.201
9. Romain Iannetta (88) 1:34.395 1:33.236
10. Salvador Tineo Arroyo (64) 1:35.163 1:33.277
11. Gianmarco Ercoli (9) 1:34.419 1:33.307
12. Martin Doubek (7) 1:35.950 1:33.499
13. Daniel Keilwitz (70) 1:35.960 1:33.569
14. Jacques Villeneuve (32) No Time 1:33.645
15. Henri Tuomaala (23) 1:36.555 1:33.739
16. Frédéric Gabillon (3) 1:34.345 1:33.745
17. Lorenzo Marcucci (41) 1:37.530 1:33.855
18. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69) 1:33.915 1:34.078
19. Ulysse Delsaux (36) No Time 1:34.167
20. Kenko Miura (2) 1:34.178 1:34.808
21. Francesco Sini (12) 1:34.565 1:34.256
22. Dylan Derdaele (98) 1:35.381 1:34.319
23. Scott Jeffs (90) 1:36.071 1:34.655
24. Mauro Trione (31) 1:35.431 1:34.846
25. Guillaume Deflandre (99) 1:38.039 1:35.038
26. Ioannis Smyrlis (22) 1:40.419 1:36.642
27. Marco Santamaria (56) 1:37.237 1:37.684
28. Michaela Dorcikova (1) 1:40.456 1:39.208
29. Dario Caso (8) No Time No Time

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track for Round 10 and Round 11 of the 2019 season on 21 September and 22 September respectively. The green flag for the Elite 1 races of this year’s edition of American Fan Fest Semi Finals will be waved at 13:30 CEST on Saturday for Race 1, and at 14:15 CEST 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.

Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.

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