Shadow Racing Cars with 42 Racing has been forced to withdraw from NASCAR GP Croatia after several team members were tested positive for COVID-19. With help from Shadow’s team principal Marco Raggi and Jerome Galpin, Francesco Garisto will be temporarily switching teams to Marko Stipp Motorsport for this weekend’s race at Rijeka.
With less than a week to go before NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ first ever visit to Croatia, a shocking news came yesterday night as it’s revealed that Shadow Racing Cars with 42 Racing will be forced to withdraw from NASCAR GP Croatia after several team members were tested positive for COVID-19 recently.
Shadow’s EuroNASCAR 2 class driver Francesco Garisto was the first to reveal this breaking news, as Garisto states on his social media account that Shadow team principal Marco Raggi called him on Saturday morning to inform Garisto on Shadow’s withdrawal from Rijeka.
“The last 24 hours have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me,” said Garisto on Sunday. “I received a phone call I wouldn’t have wanted to receive yesterday morning. It was Marco (Raggi) telling me we couldn’t take part to the Croatian GP due to major force reasons.”
“Getting to know such bad news a week away from the race has been a deep punch in my stomach. I was completely turned off after I realized my dream was fading away, having spent weeks and weeks working hard to come to Croatia as trained and prepared as possible.”
Fortunately for Garisto, he was able to secure a last-minute deal to race at Rijeka. With help from Raggi and series President and CEO Jerome Galpin, Garisto will be able to compete for Marko Stipp Motorsport in the No. 48 team for Rijeka.
“I had to face two options: cry myself out or find a solution,” said Garisto, who scored a podium finish last time around at Zolder. “I hustled all the way long looking for a plan B and thanks to Jerome Galpin and Marco Raggi who both helped me out looking for a seat, I finally found a solution: I will race the NASCAR Croatian GP next week with Marko Stipp Motorsport.”
“I’m hugely grateful to this team for having welcomed me in and for having given me a solution in such short times. I also have to thank 42 Racing that, although COVID has brought problems to them, they decided to cover my campaign with Marko Stipp Motorsport.”
The same can’t be said for Bernardo Manfrè, Alex Ciompi, and Luigi Ferrara however, as the other three Shadow drivers will be forced to withdraw from Rijeka as a result of the team’s withdrawal.
“With great regret I inform you that unfortunately my team 42 Racing and I will not be present in Croatia. We are very cautious and I hope this pandemic ends soon,” said Ferrara on social media.
Marko Stipp, the owner of Marko Stipp Motorsport, is delighted with Garisto’s addition to the team for Rijeka. Stipp also revealed that the hand injury suffered by his driver Gašper Dernovšek in the opening round at Vallelunga was more severe than expected and thus, Dernovšek will be forced to sit out for the rest of the season.
“Everything came together really quickly,” said Stipp. “We learned that Gašper won’t return this year because of his injury and then we heard that Francesco (Garisto) was suddenly without a seat. We have been following his progress very interestedly since the beginning of the year, so it’s fantastic to get to work with him now. We want to help him step onto the podium again!”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.