Lasse Sørensen scored a sensational victory in the Sunday race at Hockenheim to both close the gap between him and Championship leader Giorgio Maggi in the Championship to just 9 points and set up an exciting showdown between him and Maggi in the season finale round at Zolder on 5-6 October.
Sørensen, who started from second place on the grid, was able to get past Maggi on the first lap and fend off the challenge from Maggi, Hugo de Sadeleer, Alessandro Brigatti, and Jesse Vartiainen throughout the 16-lap race to score his fifth race win of the season and continue his 100% podium finishing record in the road courses.
Hugo de Sadeleer continued his impressive performance a 2nd place finish to score a double podium finish in his debut race week as Alessandro Brigatti scored his first ever podium finish in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In the Saturday race, Brigatti managed to set the third fastest lap time of the race to seal 3rd place for the young Italian on the grid for Sunday’s race despite he had to retire late in the Saturday race.
“It was a really good race today”, said Sørensen to Mark Werrell in the post-race interview. “My plan is always to try to get Maggi in the first lap and that worked out well. I got a really good start and I had 2 or 3 Safety Car periods where I had to defend myself and again, I got some really good starts. I feel like I’m really fast on the first or two laps after the Safety Car. I tried to build as much gap as possible and it was enough. Even though it didn’t look like I was in control, I really feel like I had everything under control, so it’s always good.”
“I’m really pleased with that”, said de Sadeleer in the post-race interview. “The car was very strong today. We had a tough time in the beginning of the race, but the car came strong at the end and we’re fighting for the win. I tried to go side-by-side with Lasse, but unfortunately we got yellow flags and it was hard to overtake him. But, I’m really pleased and Racing Engineering has been mega all weekend. The car has been set-up perfectly to my liking.”
“It’s been crazy. This podium, I can’t believe it!” said Brigatti in the post-race interview. “It’s something that I can’t expect when I arrived here. Its been difficult this weekend because this weekend because I don’t do the Qualifying, but we had a nice Race 1. I can start further for Race 2 and this podium is something that I can’t explain before! It’s beautiful, the atmosphere here is very impressive!”
The race itself was slowed down by two Safety Car periods. The first one was called on Lap 4 after Ben Creanor crashed his No. 33 Mishumotors Camaro at Sachskurve after his throttle got stuck. The race got restarted on Lap 7, but it didn’t take long before the Safety Car was called again on Lap 7 following a multi-car crash between Andre Castro, Mirco Schultis, and Pol van Pollaert after Castro lost control of his No. 46 MSM Camaro on the braking zone to Turn 8.
When the race was restarted on Lap 12, de Sadeleer managed to get past Maggi for second and it became apparent that Maggi’s car noticeably performing worse after the final restart. Eventually, Brigatti was able to take advantage of this by passing Maggi at Turn 2 on the penultimate lap before a lock up by Maggi on the same corner in the last lap would cost him 4th place in the end.
Jesse Vartiainen also continued his string of solid performances at Hockenheim as the Finn finished in 4th place ahead of Maggi, while Nicholas Risitano scored another 6th place finish at Hockenheim. Advait Deodhar finished 7th ahead of Martin Doubek, while Pierluigi Veronesi and Myatt Snider completes the Top 10 with their 9th and 10th place finishes respectively.
Naveh Talor put in a strong effort in the No. 12 Solaris Camaro in Sunday’s race as the young Israeli moved up 10 places on the race to finish in 11th ahead of Thomas Krasonis. 13th place goes to Ian Eric Wadén, who pulled the sweep in the Legend Trophy at Hockenheim. Waden finished ahead of Vittorio Ghirelli, who would claim the bonus Championship points for the most positions gained as Arianna Casoli completes the Top 15.
Moreno Di Silvestre finished in 16th as the sole finisher of the three new entries ahead of Michael Bleekemolen, who completes the Legend Trophy podium with a 17th place finish. Jane Koikkalainen, Matthias Hauer, and Max Lanza completes the Top 20 as home hero Justin Kunz’s struggles in his home race week continues. After not starting the Saturday race, Kunz was running completely off the pace on the Sunday race and would ultimately finish more than 20 seconds behind Max Lanza in 21st place as the last car still running.
Ioannis Smyrlis was classified in 22nd place with a retirement on Lap 13 after he spun off at Sachskurve, an incident that nearly took Vittorio Ghirelli out of the race. Pollaert, Schultis, and Castro was classified in 23rd, 24th, and 25th place respectively while Creanor’s early retirement would mean that he was classified in 26th and last place in the final results.
FULL RACE RESULTS
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Lasse Sørensen (66)||20||32:24.231|
|2.||4||Hugo de Sadeleer (88)||20||+ 0.303|
|3.||3||Alessandro Brigatti (9)||20||+ 0.746|
|4.||5||Jesse Vartiainen (2)||20||+ 0.913|
|5.||1||Giorgio Maggi (50)||20||+ 2.949|
|6.||7||Nicholas Risitano (8)||20||+ 4.654|
|7.||10||Advait Deodhar (31)||20||+ 4.847|
|8.||6||Martin Doubek (7)||20||+ 5.149|
|9.||9||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||20||+ 6.074|
|10.||11||Myatt Snider (48)||20||+ 7.402|
|11.||21||Naveh Talor (12)||20||+ 9.323|
|12.||17||Thomas Krasonis (1)||20||+ 9.790|
|13.||18||Ian Eric Wadén (23)||20||+ 13.999|
|14.||25||Vittorio Ghirelli (24)||20||+ 15.520|
|15.||24||Arianna Casoli (54)||20||+ 18.973|
|16.||13||Moreno Di Silvestre (56)||20||+ 19.799|
|17.||19||Michael Bleekemolen (69)||20||+ 20.682|
|18.||23||Janne Koikkalainen (77)||20||+ 21.871|
|19.||22||Matthias Hauer (64)||20||+ 31.374|
|20.||15||Max Lanza (41)||20||+ 34.688|
|21.||26||Justin Kunz (99)||20||+ 56.567|
|22.||14||Ioannis Smyrlis (22)||13||DNF (Accident)|
|23.||12||Pol Van Pollaert (98)||8||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|24.||16||Mirco Schultis (70)||7||DNF (Collision)|
|25.||20||Andre Castro (46)||7||DNF (Collision)|
|26.||8||Ben Creanor (33)||3||DNF (Accident)|
In the Championship standings, Giorgio Maggi would hold on to his Championship lead as he leaves Hockenheim with 422 points. Sørensen’s victory, however, has closed the gap significantly as the Dane would leave Hockenheim with 413 points, just 9 points behind Maggi with two races to go in the 2019 season.
With a maximum of 176 points still up for the grabs at Zolder, the likes of Nicholas Risitano, Advait Deodhar, Myatt Snider, Vittorio Ghirelli, and Pierluigi Veronesi are technically still in the running for the Championship. However, their chances to win the Elite 2 title this year are slim at best as they’re now more than 60 points behind Maggi in the standings. It will require a massive misfortune for both Maggi and Sørensen for any of these drivers to be able to have a shot for the title at Zolder.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be returning for the season finale, the American Festival NASCAR Finals at Circuit Zolder on 5-6 October. All qualifying and races for this season will 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 / Bart Dehaese.