Martin Doubek successfully completes the sweep at Circuit Zolder as he wins the second EuroNASCAR 2 race of NASCAR GP Belgium in a race that was dominated by the Safety Car more than the drivers themselves, as incidents in the mixed weather conditions caused the Safety Car to be called four times in the 15-lap race.
Martin Doubek, fresh from winning his first ever race on yesterday’s EuroNASCAR 2 race, successfully completes the sweep on Sunday’s Race 2 that saw minimal on-track action as the Safety Car had to be called four times in the 15-lap race at Circuit Zolder.
“It was not easy like yesterday,” said Doubek on the Victory Lane. “Too many Safety Cars, but I’m really happy. For the first few laps it was good, but some guys had slick tires, so it was not easy because the 98 was behind me, but after the restart he had a crash, so I think it was good that we used the rain tires.”
With the track drying and drivers unsure on whether to go with slicks or wet tires, the race started under the Safety Car to assess the on-track situation. On the first restart on Lap 3, chaos immediately started as Alessandro Brigatti collided with Julia Landauer on Turn 2, ending both drivers’ podium chances before it even began.
While local yellow was used to recover Landauer’s car from the gravel trap, the Safety Car had to be called on the same lap after Matthias Hauer crashed into the tire barriers heavily on the kink just after the hairpin.
The race eventually restarts again on Lap 7 and saw the longest green flag period at a mere 3 laps. Doubek, opting for wets, was chased down by slick-shod Dylan Derdaele. Derdaele successfully passed the Czech driver on Lap 9, but unfortunately for him the Safety Car was called again on that very same lap to recover Max Lanza’s car, which was stuck in the gravel trap after he spun out at the Villeneuve chicane.
As Doubek was still in the lead on the last control line, he was handed back to the lead for the final restart on Lap 12. The restart did not last long however, as Nicholas Risitano collides with Derdaele on Turn 2, sending Derdaele into a spin and collecting both Guillaume Dumarey and Andreas Jochimsen in the process.
Due to schedule constraints, the race was forced to end under the Safety Car and Doubek slowly brought the field to the checkered flag with Vittorio Ghirelli finishing in second, while Francesco Garisto played his cards right as the Shadow driver kept his car clean to score the first podium finish for both himself and the Shadow team.
“It was a crazy race, although we have plenty of Safety Cars,” said Garisto post-race. “We don’t know what’s going on in the track. We have many accidents, many problems on the track, but we finished the race under the Safety Car so maybe I could have tried going for P1 but it’s okay.”
Both Andre Castro and Arianna Casoli also managed to use the chaos on the track to their advantages as they secured a fourth and fifth place finish respectively. For Castro, the results meant that he claimed the bonus championship points for the most positions gained while for Casoli, it was her first ever Top 5 finish, easily shattering her previous best finish of 10th at Franciacorta in 2017 as well as tying the record for the best finishing result for a female driver in the junior class that Landauer set on the Saturday race.
“The best feeling ever,” said Casoli post-race. “I can’t believe I was so in front of the group. I had a very good restart and I stayed out of the mess in front of me and it was so great.”
Derdaele recovers from the spin to finish 6th while Simon Pilate finally had an incident-free race to finish in 7th place. Evgeny Sokolovsky, Eric Quintal, and Vladimiros Tziortzis completes the Top 10.
Alessandro Brigatti initially crossed the line in 5th, but he was demoted 11th as a result of a 5-second time penalty that he received post-race for the collision with Landauer. Once again, it wasn’t a good race for Vallelunga winner Tobias Dauenhauer as technical issues and a crash meant that he eventually finished in 13th place.
Risitano eventually crossed the line in 14th, but he was stripped from the points he received after stewards deemed him guilty for the multi-car pileup on Lap 12. Pol van Pollaert retires late in the race after he suffered a puncture, while Dumarey, Jochimsen, Lanza, Landauer, and Hauer all retired from the incidents that they had.
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Martin Doubek (7)||15||42:31.365|
|2.||8||Vittorio Ghirelli (18)||15||+ 0.539|
|3.||10||Francesco Garisto (42)||15||+ 0.886|
|4.||20||Andre Castro (22)||15||+1.600|
|5.||16||Arianna Casoli (54)||15||+ 2.794|
|6.||6||Dylan Derdaele (98)||15||+ 3.453|
|7.||19||Simon Pilate (6)||15||+ 4.048|
|8.||15||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||15||+ 4.970|
|9.||14||Eric Quintal (33)||15||+ 6.524|
|10.||7||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||15||+ 7.073|
|11.||3||Alessandro Brigatti (8)||15||+ 7.2261|
|12.||18||Igor Romanov (89)||15||+ 7.819|
|13.||12||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||15||+ 23.4202|
|14.||5||Nicholas Risitano (12)||13||+ 2 Laps3|
|15.||11||Pol van Pollaert (43)||12||DNF (Puncture)|
|16.||2||Guillaume Dumarey (24)||11||DNF (Collision)|
|17.||9||Andreas Jochimsen (66)||11||DNF (Collision)|
|18.||13||Max Lanza (88)||8||DNF (Accident Damage)|
|19.||4||Julia Landauer (11)||8||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|20.||17||Matthias Hauer (64)||2||DNF (Accident)|
|21.||21||Alex Ciompi (17)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
1 Alessandro Brigatti initially finished 5th, but he was demoted to 11th place after receiving a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision with Julia Landauer.
2 Tobias Dauenhauer received a 15-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision.
3 Nicholas Risitano received a 30-second time penalty for causing the multi-car collision on Lap 12.
In the championship standings, Brigatti’s 5-second post-race penalty meant that Vittorio Ghirelli will be coming out from Zolder as the championship leader. With 133 points, he leads Dauenhauer by 2 points and Brigatti by just 3 points. Tziortzis moves up to 4th thanks to his consistency while Dumarey and Casoli were tied behind the Cypriot with 104 points.
Risitano’s points penalty meant that he is now tied for 7th with Eric Quintal on 100 points while Landauer, Jochimsen, and Lanza were all tied with 98 points on the battle for 9th place. Garisto’s podium moves him up to 12th, while Doubek’s double victory would slot the Czech driver to 16th in the championship standings.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.