A chaotic EuroNASCAR 2 season opening race at Vallelunga saw pole sitter Tobias Dauenhauer became the first German driver to officially win a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race in dominating fashion, with teammate Vittorio Ghirelli and FEED Vict’s Alessandro Brigatti completing the podium for the first EuroNASCAR race of 2020.
Tobias Dauenhauer became the first German driver to win a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race after he dominated the chaotic EuroNASCAR 2 season opening race at Vallelunga that saw two Safety Car periods and multiple drivers having incidents during the 15-lap race at Euro Series’ newest addition to the calendar.
Having started from pole, Dauenhauer dominated from start-to-finish in his debut race and no other driver looked to be able to challenge the German for the lead of the race.
“I’m absolutely happy, I can’t describe it in words,” said Dauenhauer in Victory Lane. “Hendriks Motorsport gives me with an awesome car, it just feels amazing and thanks to my sponsor RZOIL for making all of this possible. I’m happy and I hope this will also continue in the second race.”
Teammate Vittorio Ghirelli finished 2nd to bring home a Hendriks 1-2 after a close fight between him and Alessandro Brigatti throughout the race and he did all of that despite having no power steering in his No. 18 Hendriks Ford.
“It was a very hard race because I have no power steering from Lap 1, so I had to give it all with some good racing in the first few laps. I couldn’t do more, with no power steering the car is very hard to drive. Second place is the maximum we could achieve for how the situation was,” said Ghirelli in the post-race interview.
Alessandro Brigatti completes the podium to make it his second consecutive career podium in the series as he had finished on the podium in last year’s season finale race at Zolder.
The race was interrupted by two Safety Car period, the first of which happened on Lap 2 after FEED Vict’s Simon Pilate and CAAL’s Dylan Derdaele tangled together on the final corner of the first lap. The incident resulted in Pilate’s car stranded in the apex of the final corner, necessitating the Lamborghini Huracan safety car to be called for Pilate’s car to be safely recovered back to the pits.
The Lamborghini Huracan safety car was called again on Lap 11, this time for two separate incidents that happened on Lap 10. 42 Racing’s Francesco Garisto have a massive off-track excursion in Vallelunga’s high speed Curva Grande section that causes his No. 42 car to be stuck on the gravel trap before Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Gasper Dernovsek crashed out at Tornantino as he suffered a brake failure on Vallelunga’s stadium section.
The lengthy safety car periods, coupled with the schedule constraints caused by it, necessitated the officials to forgo the double-file restart on the final restart as the field restarted single-file for the one lap dash to the finish.
Finishing behind Brigatti in 4th place is Alex Ciompi, who made a huge impression in his debut race as a EuroNASCAR 2 driver. Fellow Italian Nicholas Risitano completes the Top 5 in his first race for Solaris.
Debutants Kris Richard, Giovanni Trione, Vladimiros Tziortzis, and Davide Dallara all secured an impressive 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th place finish respectively as Max Lanza completes the Top 10 in his first race as a full-time driver in the series. Giovanni’s 7th place finish would also secure him the 4 extra championship points as the driver that gained the most positions in the race.
Julia Landauer won the Lady Trophy by virtue of her 11th place finish in what proved to be an interesting first race for the NASCAR Roots star.
“That was a weird race,” said Landauer in the post-race interview. “I wish we got a little more on the green flag but I’m really excited to gain a few places on the start and went up to the Top 10. I went for a pass that in hindsight it was a little too aggressive, but I want to get positions and I spun, went to the back, and was able to get back to 11th. It’s an interesting introduction to Euro Series and hopefully we’ll get more green flag (periods) in the next race. I had fun and I’m ready to do it again!”
Eric Quintal secures the Legend Trophy victory in 12th just ahead of Arianna Casoli, who finished in 13th as the last car still on the lead lap.
DF1 Racing have a very disastrous season opening race, as their best placed car Andre Castro could only finish in 14th after early race problems saw the American having to go to the pits in the opening few laps – which sent him a lap down – before he had to drop down yet another lap after being caught in the Dernovsek accident.
Andreas Jochimsen was running in 3rd when he lost control of his car exiting the Cimini double right-handers and got into contact with Derdaele that sent both drivers out of the race. Meanwhile, Marcel Lenerz would fail to make the start as the technical gremlins in the No. 99 car proved to be too much for DF1 Racing to handle for Race 1.
Guillaume Dumarey was forced to retire from the race as well after a collision with Kris Richard on the Cimini complex caused enough accident damage for the Belgian to retire from the race.
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||15||37:01.859|
|2.||3||Vittorio Ghirelli (18)||15||+ 0.378|
|3.||4||Alessandro Brigatti (8)||15||+ 0.888|
|4.||6||Alex Ciompi (17)||15||+ 1.922|
|5.||10||Nicholas Risitano (12)||15||+ 2.506|
|6.||14||Kris Richard (48)||15||+ 2.878|
|7.||17||Giovanni Trione (31)||15||+ 4.700|
|8.||8||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||15||+ 4.985|
|9.||13||Davide Dallara (89)||15||+ 6.143|
|10.||20||Max Lanza (88)||15||+ 7.968|
|11.||12||Julia Landauer (11)||15||+ 9.259|
|12.||19||Eric Quintal (33)||15||+ 11.861|
|13.||18||Arianna Casoli (54)||15||+ 13.849|
|14.||7||Andre Castro (22)||13||+ 2 Laps|
|15.||15||Gašper Dernovšek (46)||10||DNF (Accident)|
|16.||16||Francesco Garisto (42)||10||DNF (Spun Off)|
|17.||5||Andreas Jochimsen (66)||8||DNF (Collision)|
|18.||11||Dylan Derdaele (98)||8||DNF (Collision)|
|19.||9||Guillaume Dumarey (24)||6||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|20.||2||Simon Pilate (6)||0||DNF (Collision)|
|21.||21||Marcel Lenerz (99)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.