Alon Day sets the early pace in yesterday’s Elite 1 Practice sessions as intense rain at Circuit Zolder marks the start of Elite 1 and Elite 2 activities for the 2019 American Festival NASCAR Finals.

The Israeli, who won both Zolder races last year, masters the wet conditions to lead the combined Practice timesheets with a time of 1:50.592 in his No. 54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet. Home crowd favorite Stienes Longin finished in 2nd with a time of 1:50.626, although his day was cut short after his Elite 2 teammate Niels Albert crashed the No. 11 PK Carsport Camaro during Elite 2’s first Free Practice session, forcing Longin to sit out FP2 as the team worked hard to repair the car for Saturday’s qualifying and races.

Marc Goossens, who returned to the series after a three-round absence, finished in 3rd with a best lap time of 1:50.725 set in FP1, with his FP2 time of 1:50.851 was also enough to top out the FP2 leaderboards. Gianmarco Ercoli was 0.058 seconds behind in 4th, while Guillaume Deflandre impresses yet again as his FP1 time of 1:50.895 was enough to place him in 5th place for the combined timesheets.

Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, running the #70 for Zolder instead of the team’s usual #69 to honor his father Michael’s birthday, was sixth with a time of 1:51.245. Frédéric Gabillon is in 7th ahead of championship leader Loris Hezemans, whose best Practice time of 1:51.828 was only enough for 8th place in the combined timesheets. Dylan Derdaele and Ander Vilariño rounds out the Top 10.

Alexander Graff finished just 0.023 seconds short from the Top 10 in 11th place. Francesco Sini, the driver of the No. 12 Solaris Motorsport Camaro, finished in 12th ahead of the returning Alex Sedgwick and Lucas Lasserre, as Henri Tuomaala finished in 15th to set the early pace in the Challenger Trophy.

Jacques Villeneuve struggled in his first race week at Zolder as his best lap time of 1:52.574 is only enough for 16th in the combined timesheets. Ulysse Delsaux is in 17th ahead of Nicolò Rocca, who had a tough Practice session as he only finished in 18th place, a situation that is far from ideal for the Italian in his championship challenge aspirations. Romain Iannetta and Martin Doubek completes the Top 20 for Friday’s Practice sessions.

Thomas Ferrando also struggled all-day long as the Frenchman finished Friday’s Practice session more than 3 seconds slower than Alon Day in 21st place. Dario Caso, Mauro Trione, Kenko Miura, and Salvador Tineo Arroyo would complete the timesheets for Practice.  

COMBINED PRACTICE TIMESHEETS

RANK DRIVER FP1 TIME FP2 TIME
1. Alon Day (54) 1:50.592 1:51.018
2. Stienes Longin (11) 1:50.626 No Time
3. Marc Goossens (78) 1:50.725 1:50.851
4. Gianmarco Ercoli (9) 1:50.783 1:52.347
5. Guillaume Deflandre (99) 1:50.895 1:52.955
6. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (70) 1:51.245 1:52.768
7. Frédéric Gabillon (3) 1:51.358 1:52.380
8. Loris Hezemans (50) 1:51.828 1:52.229
9. Dylan Derdaele (98) 1:51.884 1:52.432
10. Ander Vilariño (48) 1:52.141 1:53.223
11. Alexander Graff (77) 1:52.164 1:53.583
12. Francesco Sini (12) 1:52.389 1:53.113
13. Alex Sedgwick (90) 1:52.424 1:52.887
14. Lucas Lasserre (33) 1:52.484 1:52.434
15. Henri Tuomaala (23) 1:53.778 1:52.501
16. Jacques Villeneuve (32) 1:53.589 1:52.574
17. Ulysse Delsaux (36) 1:55.142 1:52.649
18. Nicolò Rocca (24) 1:53.013 1:52.721
19. Romain Iannetta (88) 1:53.599 1:54.653
20. Martin Doubek (7) 1:54.057 1:54.456
21. Thomas Ferrando (27) 1:56.312 1:54.341
22. Dario Caso (8) 2:03.828 1:54.377
23. Mauro Trione (31) 1:55.414 1:56.325
24. Kenko Miura (2) 1:57.676 1:57.084
25. Salvador Tineo Arroyo (46) 2:00.536 1:57.210

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track for Round 12 and Round 13 of the 2019 season on 5 October and 6 October respectively. The green flag for this year’s edition of American Festival NASCAR Finals will be waved at 13:45 CEST on Saturday for Race 1, and at 15:45 CEST on Sunday for Race 2.

All 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.

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