It was two first-time race winners in Saturday’s running of NASCAR GP Belgium as Czech Martin Doubek dominates the EuroNASCAR 2 field in a drying track to secure his first career victory in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series on Saturday’s Race 1.
It was a delayed start of the 2020 season for Martin Doubek after he was forced to miss Vallelunga after being tested positive for COVID-19, but the Czech driver showed his expertise in his return to the series at NASCAR GP Belgium as Doubek dominates the first race of EuroNASCAR 2 in a drying Zolder track on Saturday to score his first career victory in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
The race initially started with three laps behind the Safety Car to allow the officials to assess the track situation. The green flag was waved on lap 4 and Doubek, who started from pole, quickly broke away from the rest of the field. It was a showcase of masterful domination for the driver of the No. 7 Orion/Cataclean Ford Mustang as Doubek went on to grab the win by 10.804 seconds from Alessandro Brigatti.
“Finally, its my first victory!” said Doubek in the Victory Lane. “I had pole position, have a good quali, and first victory so I’m happy. I think I’m starting from first position (tomorrow), so we’ll see.”
Nicholas Risitano holds off Guillaume Dumarey by 0.118 seconds to claim the final podium positions, while Julia Landauer scored a fifth-place finish to secure not only a career-best result for herself and the win in Rookie Trophy, but also the best ever finishing result for female drivers in the junior class of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as well as the first female driver Top 5 finish in EuroNASCAR since Carole Perrin’s fifth-place finish at Tours in 2013.
“I feel a lot better than in Italy,” said Landauer post-race. “It was unfortunate that have a starting penalty, but I just try to take it smart and consistent, let other people make mistakes and we came out with a Top 5 and a good starting position for tomorrow.”
Francesco Garisto in the Shadow claimed a sixth-place finish despite being hit with a 5-place grid penalty that dropped him to 14th on the grid, while Pol van Pollaert climbed up from 16th on the grid to secure both 8th place and the bonus championship points for the most positions gained during the race.
Vladimiros Tziortzis finished 9th ahead of Vallelunga’s double winner Tobias Dauenhauer, who had a tough race in his hands after the Hendriks team set their tire pressures too high for the race. This setup blunder proved capped off a disastrous day for the No. 50 Hendriks team after Loris Hezemans can only finish in 19th in the PRO Race earlier that day.
Evgeny Sokolovsky, subbing for the injured Gašper Dernovšek, claimed the Legend Trophy honors with a 13th place finish. Home driver Dylan Derdaele had a strong run that was undone after he spun out to the gravel trap at Kleine on the final lap of the race. While he did managed to bring his car out of the gravel trap, he ended up finishing just barely under the 5-minute time limit that prevents his race from being classified as a DNF on the record books.
The sole DNF of the race came from Simon Pilate, as the luckless Belgian once again had an on-track incident as he was spun out by Andreas Jochimsen on the first green flag lap of the race. Andre Castro did not make the start due to stomach illness, while Alex Ciompi ultimately was unable to take part in both EN2 races due to the damage sustained by the No. 17 Shadow Ford in the PRO race earlier that day.
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Martin Doubek (7)||15||29:37.519|
|2.||4||Alessandro Brigatti (8)||15||+ 10.804|
|3.||3||Nicholas Risitano (12)||15||+ 16.115|
|4.||7||Guillaume Dumarey (24)||15||+ 16.233|
|5.||91||Julia Landauer (11)||15||+ 18.836|
|6.||141||Francesco Garisto (42)||15||+ 37.213|
|7.||10||Vittorio Ghirelli (18)||15||+ 37.949|
|8.||16||Pol van Pollaert (43)||15||+ 38.653|
|9.||12||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||15||+ 39.630|
|10.||2||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||15||+ 41.161|
|11.||5||Andreas Jochimsen (66)||15||+ 49.331|
|12.||13||Max Lanza (88)||15||+ 54.511|
|13.||11||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||15||+ 1:06.755|
|14.||17||Eric Quintal (33)||15||+ 1:14.188|
|15.||19||Arianna Casoli (54)||15||+ 1:30.896|
|16.||8||Dylan Derdaele (98)||15||+ 4:59.483|
|17.||15||Matthias Hauer (64)||14||+ 1 Lap|
|18.||202||Igor Romanov (89)||14||+ 1 Lap|
|19.||4||Simon Pilate (6)||4||DNF (Collision)|
|20.||21||Andre Castro (22)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
|21.||18||Alex Ciompi (17)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
1 Julia Landauer and Francesco Garisto received a 5-place grid penalty following infractions in Practice.
2 Igor Romanov received a 10-place grid penalty following infractions in Practice, although this didn’t affect his starting position.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.