EDIT: An edit to the Last Chance Qualifier results was made on 24 April 2020 based on the full race results shown by Automobil Sport.
On Tuesday night, the EuroNASCAR Esports Series kicked off with a non-championship “Prologue” race at iRacing’s virtual Daytona Road Course. A total of 48 drivers, consisting of 45 drivers from the Preliminary Entry List and three wildcard entries, took part in the event that was eventually won by DF1 Racing’s Andre Castro after he pulled a bump and run to Alon Day on the closing stages of the 30-minute Main Event race.
Before the races began, it was announced that wildcard entries from Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Autodrom Most, and Hockenheim will take part in the Prologue event to help promote their NASCAR race week event that will be held once the real season fully starts. Autodrom Most brought in their sales manager Jakub Krafek to race the No. 83 OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show Toyota, while sim racer Stefan Kresin was chosen to drive the No. 79 American Fan Fest Chevrolet for the Prologue race.
For Circuit Ricardo Tormo’s entry, they have teamed up with Ford’s official Esports team Team Fordzilla and brought in MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona, who was scheduled to race full-time with Red Bull KTM Tech 3 in the MotoGP class this year, to drive the No. 727 Ford Mustang at Daytona.
Alon Day secured the top spot and pole for his Heat Race after he set the fastest lap time in Qualifying. His lap time of 1:44.904 was just 0.023 seconds ahead of Andre Castro, who also secured pole position for his Heat Race. Third place qualifier Bavo Follon was more than six tenths of a second down from Castro, although that was enough for him to secure pole position for his Heat Race. Six drivers – Lecuona, Tziortzis, Bacci, Ferrando, Garisto, and Iannetta – did not set a lap time during the Qualifying session.
The first 10-minute Heat Race saw an exciting battle for the lead between two champions, Alon Day and Loris Hezemans. Both drivers fought valiantly for the entire race and Day was able to hold onto the lead and win by 0.404 seconds from Hezemans.
Alex Sedgwick finished third ahead of FEED Vict’s Marijn Kremers and Braxx race engineer Bryan Crauwels, who also enjoyed a stellar battle during the first Heat Race. CAAL Racing teammates Advait Deodhar and Stefano Guastaveglie finished 6th and 7th respectively with Henri Tuomaala, Naveh Talor, and Lecuona completing the Top 10.
Hendriks Motorsport team owner Roy Hendriks, Luigi Ferrara, Evgeny Sokolovsky, and Max Lanza – who had two off-track excursions in the race – were the remaining finishers of the race. Thomas Ferrando retired at the end of the 4th lap after he spun his No. 27 car exiting oval Turn 4 and hit the inside SAFER barrier, while Justin Kunz had connection issues that left him three laps down from Day.
Heat Race 1 Results
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Alon Day (24)||6||Winner|
|2.||2||Loris Hezemans (50)||6||+ 0.404|
|3.||3||Alex Sedgwick (78)||6||+ 5.489|
|4.||6||Marijn Kremers (105)||6||+ 7.601|
|5.||4||Bryan Crauwels (378)||6||+ 8.138|
|6.||5||Advait Deodhar (31)||6||+ 16.682|
|7.||8||Stefano Guastaveglie (388)||6||+ 18.082|
|8.||7||Henri Tuomaala (23)||6||+ 19.339|
|9.||11||Naveh Talor (112)||6||+ 31.769|
|10.||15||Iker Lecuona (727)||6||+ 33.351|
|11.||12||Roy Hendriks (318)||6||+ 36.525|
|12.||13||Luigi Ferrara (42)||6||+ 43.428|
|13.||14||Evgeny Sokolovsky (46)||6||+ 59.571|
|14.||9||Max Lanza (188)||6||+ 1:07|
|15.||16||Thomas Ferrando (27)||4||Accident|
|16.||10||Justin Kunz (99)||3||+3 Laps|
For the second Heat Race, it was Andre Castro who dominated the race, leading all 6 laps from pole position to win the Heat Race by more than 8 seconds. Ben Creanor and Alessandro Brigatti enjoyed a spectacular battle for 2nd place all-race long, a battle that was eventually won by Creanor.
Marcel Lenerz finished 4th ahead of Ruben Garcia Jr., who came out on top of a 6-car battle that ensued throughout the race. Rookies Francesco Garisto and Vladimiros Tziortzis secured a 6th and 7th place finishes respectively, while Vittorio Ghirelli finished 8th after having a spin due to a collision with Simon Pilate early in the race.
Alain Mosqueron, who was involved in a separate incident with Pilate on the final lap, finished 9th ahead of Krefek, who recovered from a spin in the first lap to secure Heat 2’s final Main Event transfer spot. Pilate eventually finished 11th ahead of Not Only Motorsport’s team owner Riccardo Allita, who finished 12th as the last car still running in the race.
Sven van Laere, Ander Vilariño, and Alexander Graff all retired from the race while connection issues prevented CAAL Racing team owner Luca Canneori from starting the race. Canneori eventually managed to start the race but he eventually finished last, 4 laps down from Castro.
HEAT RACE 2 RESULTS
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Andre Castro (122)||6||Winner|
|2.||2||Ben Creanor (33)||6||+ 8.617|
|3.||3||Alessandro Brigatti (108)||6||+ 10.520|
|4.||5||Marcel Lenerz (199)||6||+ 12.662|
|5.||8||Rubén García Jr. (888)||6||+ 22.920|
|6.||15||Francesco Garisto (142)||6||+29.158|
|7.||14||Vladimiros Tziortzis (101)||6||+ 29.396|
|8.||4||Vittorio Ghirelli (118)||6||+ 29.671|
|9.||6||Alain Mosqueron (299)||6||+ 36.314|
|10.||9||Jakub Krafek (83)||6||+ 43.463|
|11.||6||Simon Pilate (106)||6||+ 45.438|
|12.||12||Riccardo Alitta (389)||6||+ 1:04|
|13.||11||Sven van Laere (191)||5||Retired|
|14.||10||Ander Vilariño (22)||3||Retired|
|15.||13||Alexander Graff (77)||2||Crash Damage|
|16.||16||Luca Canneori (354)||2||+4 Laps|
The third Heat Race was won by Hendriks crew chief Jeffrey Roeffen, ahead of Florida-born driver Eric Filgueiras in the second Mishumotors entry. Filgueiras finished ahead of Ulysse Delsaux and Tobias Dauenhauer, while pole sitter Bavo Follon – who had been battling with Filgueiras for 2nd place – made a mistake later in the race that eventually dropped him down to 5th place.
Ex-Formula E driver Alex Fontana finished 6th ahead of Giorgio Maggi, who recovered from a first lap off-track excursion to finish in 7th. Stefan Kresin brought home the Hockenheim wildcard entry car in 8th, while Romain Iannetta and Stienes Longin completes the Top 10 to earn the final Heat Race transfer spots.
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen finished 11th ahead of Davide Dallara, who ran wide at the East Horseshoe on lap 4. Scott Jeffs, who spun off twice in the race, finished 13th ahead of Arianna Casoli and Alessio Bacci. Not Only Motorsport’s Igor Romanov, who finished last, had a spin on the final lap that nearly took Filgueiras out of the race.
HEAT RACE 3 RESULTS
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Jeffrey Roeffen (307)||6||Winner|
|2.||3||Eric Filgueiras (70)||6||+ 3.539|
|3.||5||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||6||+ 6.521|
|4.||4||Tobias Dauenhauer (150)||6||+ 8.281|
|5.||1||Bavo Follon (311)||6||+ 12.901|
|6.||7||Alex Fontana (342)||6||+ 16.230|
|7.||6||Giorgio Maggi (18)||6||+ 18.082|
|8.||10||Stefan Kresin (79)||6||+ 23.042|
|9.||16||Romain Iannetta (32)||6||+ 29.037|
|10.||9||Stienes Longin (11)||6||+ 31.738|
|11.||12||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||6||+ 35.077|
|12.||8||Davide Dallara (189)||6||+ 38.062|
|13.||11||Scott Jeffs (90)||6||+ 41.728|
|14.||14||Arianna Casoli (154)||6||+ 55.618|
|15.||15||Alessio Bacci (102)||6||+ 1:17|
|16.||13||Igor Romanov (289)||5||+ 1 Lap|
While the Heat Races proved to be relatively clean, the Last Chance Qualifier race was a different story. As the drivers entered the first corner for the first time, Simon Pilate spun his No. 106 Camaro in front of the pack, setting up a chain reaction crash that saw Ferrando, Vilariño, Bacci, Jeffs, Romanov, and Canneori all getting involved.
Not long after, Roy Hendriks and Luigi Ferrara made contact as they exited the International Horseshoe, sending both cars to the inside barrier. Both drivers then made contact again at oval Turns 1 & 2 after Hendriks made contact with Scott Jeffs, sending his car into a spin to the outside wall and collecting Ferrara along the way. More chaos ensued as Sven van Laere and Bacci tangled together at the exit of oval Turn 4, sending both cars into a hard impact with the outside wall.
Amid the chaos, Davide Dallara quickly ran away from the rest of the field and he would comfortably win the LCQ race by 16 seconds from second-place man Justin Kunz.
Kunz, who started at the back of the field, ran into problems of his own on the second lap when he ran wide at the East Horseshoe but was able to retain 2nd place after Bleekemolen, Lanza, and Romanov were all involved in an accident at the Bus Stop chicane on the same lap.
Igor Romanov impressively finished 3rd despite starting from dead last, while Jeffs was able to recover from his first corner spin into a 4th place finish. Bleekemolen completes the Top 5 ahead of Pilate, who at one point climbed back up to 3rd place before spinning out at the Horseshoe on the penultimate lap. He eventually finished 6th, just enough to earn the final transfer spot to the Main Event.
Allita, Lanza, Graff, Hendriks, Casoli, Ferrando, Sokolovsky, Ferrara, Bacci, Canneori, van Laere, and Vilariño rounds out the LCQ field and ultimately failed to qualify for the Main Event.
LAST CHANCE QUALIFYING RACE RESULTS
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||6||Davide Dallara (189)||6||Winner|
|2.||16||Justin Kunz (99)||6||+ 16.471|
|3.||18||Igor Romanov (289)||6||+ 18.691|
|4.||9||Scott Jeffs (90)||6||+ 24.721|
|5.||3||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||6||+ 27.528|
|6.||2||Simon Pilate (106)||6||+ 30.129|
|7.||5||Riccardo Alitta (389)||6||+ 37.916|
|8.||10||Max Lanza (188)||6||+ 49.361|
|9.||14||Alexander Graff (77)||6||+ 1:04|
|10.||1||Roy Hendriks (318)||6||+ 1:11|
|11.||12||Arianna Casoli (154)||6||+ 1:17|
|12.||13||Thomas Ferrando (27)||5||Retired|
|13.||7||Evgeny Sokolovsky (46)||5||+ 1 Lap|
|14.||4||Luigi Ferrara (42)||3||Collision Damage|
|15.||15||Alessio Bacci (102)||3||Collision Damage|
|16.||17||Luca Canneori (354)||2||Retired|
|17.||8||Sven van Laere (191)||1||Collision|
|18.||11||Ander Vilariño (22)||1||Collision|
The Main Event itself started with a series of first lap incidents, with drivers such as Brigatti, Tziortzis, and Dallara all spun out as a result of contact with other drivers. Day and Castro, who started at the front row, quickly formed a breakaway lead group and they would stay together in the lead group for the remainder of the race.
After Castro took the lead on the penultimate lap, Day regained the lead as they raced through the first corner for the last time before Castro controversially bumped Day onto the grass on the East Horseshoe, giving the lead back to the DF1 Racing driver. Castro would hold on to the win by 1.355 seconds from Day, with Roeffen completing the podium positions after a race-long battle with Hendriks teammate and defending series champion Loris Hezemans.
“I gotta own up to that one,” said Castro in the post-race interview. “It was such a good race up until that point. We just kept trading the lead and once I finally got him, he got back down in the middle of turn 1 and then down into the Horseshoe at turn 3 and 4 he braked really early all the time, so I figured out maybe try to give him a little bump. Honestly, I think it’s a bigger of a bump because of the lag a little bit, but it’s definitely something I expect to get in return.”
“It was a good fight with Andre,” said Day in the post-race interview. “He gave me a bump-and-run so aggressively. I had such a clean race with him, it’s a shame that it ended with a bump and run. It’s not over, that’s what I can say but it was fun. I will train as hard as I can to try beat him, without the bump and run!”
Sedgwick finished in 4th ahead of Creanor, with his teammate Crauwels finishing 6th as the best finishing team member. Dauenhauer ran a quiet yet clean race to finish in 7th ahead of Kremers, who got spun out by Filgueras early in the race. Delsaux brought home his No. 10 GCS Camaro in 9th place ahead of Filgueiras, who completes the Top 10 despite a drive-through penalty for spinning Kremers.
Lenerz was 11th ahead of Maggi, while Deodhar narrowly edges Fontana for 13th place by 0.251 seconds. Bavo Follon was in contention for a possible Top 10 finish before a spin at the kink dropped him down to 15th place, finishing just ahead of fellow crew chief Guastaveglie while Brigatti nurses his damaged No. 108 car to a 17th place finish.
Last year’s Elite 1 runner up Stienes Longin gained 12 places to finish in 18th ahead of Pilate, who gained the most positions in the race having climbed up 17 places during the race. Narrowly beaten by Pilate is Krafek, who finished in 20th place as the best of the wildcard entries. Mosqueron finished 21st after having been hit with a drive-through penalty early in the race, ahead of Kresin, Jeffs, and García as the last cars finishing on the lead lap.
Hezemans was classified in 25th place after Roeffen made contact and wrecked him out of the race on the final lap. Garisto finished 26th after having a spin on lap 8, while Iannetta finished 27th after having a spin on his own early in the race. Lecuona nursed home a battered car to finish in 28th ahead of Bleekemolen, who also brought a damaged car back home in 29th place as the last car still running in the race. Talor, Tziortzis, Tuomaala, Dallara, Ghirelli, Kunz, and Romanov all retired from the race.
MAIN EVENT RESULTS
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Andre Castro (122)||17||Winner|
|2.||1||Alon Day (24)||17||+ 1.355|
|3.||3||Jeffrey Roeffen (307)||17||+ 8.203|
|4.||7||Alex Sedgwick (78)||17||+ 16.302|
|5.||5||Ben Creanor (33)||17||+ 16.670|
|6.||13||Bryan Crauwels (378)||17||+ 17.022|
|7.||12||Tobias Dauenhauer (150)||17||+ 29.644|
|8.||10||Marijn Kremers (105)||17||+ 30.738|
|9.||9||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||17||+ 33.899|
|10.||6||Eric Filgueiras (70)||17||+ 42.953|
|11.||11||Marcel Lenerz (199)||17||+ 43.128|
|12.||21||Giorgio Maggi (18)||17||+ 47.561|
|13.||16||Advait Deodhar (31)||17||+ 49.738|
|14.||18||Alex Fontana (342)||17||+ 49.989|
|15.||15||Bavo Follon (311)||17||+ 51.239|
|16.||19||Stefano Guastaveglie (388)||17||+ 54.743|
|17.||8||Alessandro Brigatti (108)||17||+ 55.724|
|18.||30||Stienes Longin (11)||17||+ 1:03|
|19.||36||Simon Pilate (106)||17||+ 1:08|
|20.||29||Jakub Krafek (83)||17||+ 1:08|
|21.||26||Alain Mosqueron (299)||17||+ 1:20|
|22.||24||Stefan Kresin (79)||17||+ 1:32|
|23.||34||Scott Jeffs (90)||17||+ 1:39|
|24.||15||Rubén García Jr. (888)||17||+ 1:42|
|25.||4||Loris Hezemans (50)||16||Collision|
|26.||17||Francesco Garisto (142)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|27.||27||Romain Iannetta (32)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|28.||28||Iker Lecuona (727)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|29.||35||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|30.||25||Naveh Talor (112)||8||Retired|
|31.||20||Vladimiros Tziortzis (101)||6||Disqualified|
|32.||22||Henri Tuomaala (23)||5||Collision|
|33.||31||Davide Dallara (189)||5||Retired|
|34.||11||Vittorio Ghirelli (118)||3||Retired|
|35.||32||Justin Kunz (99)||2||Retired|
|36.||33||Igor Romanov (289)||2||Collision|
The EuroNASCAR Esports Series will return next week for the second event and the first championship race of the season at the virtual Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Just like the Prologue race, the races of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series will be streamed live starting from 20:00 CEST on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and Motorsport.tv.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Guillaume Hesnault / iRacing.