In the first ever EuroNASCAR PRO race held at Rijeka’s Automotodrom Grobnik, PK Carsport’s Stienes Longin held off the pressure from pole sitter Giorgio Maggi to claim his first win of the season and became the fifth different race winner in the 2020 season.
After a relatively slow start to his quest for the title this year, PK Carsport driver Stienes Longin is back on the top at Rijeka after he fended off the challenge from pole sitter Giorgio Maggi in the Saturday EuroNASCAR PRO race to claim his first victory of the season.
The victory at Rijeka marked Stienes’ second victory in Euro Series’ top class as he became the fifth different driver to win a race this year, showcasing that the series competition level has not been diminished in the pandemic-affected 2020 season.
“I’m really happy with this victory,” said Stienes in the Victory Lane. “It took a while since I was driving in Elite 1 that I took a win, so now if you know how to win then it becomes easy. I loved to be here in Croatia and I loved the track.”
After a stunning first career EuroNASCAR PRO pole position for Giorgio Maggi in the Qualifying session earlier that day, Maggi would have to wait another day for his first win in PRO as he just lost out from the more experienced Stienes in the 17-lap dash at Rijeka. Despite this, a first career podium in the top class would be a result to remember for Maggi, as it proved to be a breakthrough result for him after struggling to find good results in the earlier races of the season.
Lasse Sørensen completes the podium as he closes the gap to Alon Day in the championship standings. A broken power steering didn’t stop Loris Hezemans from finishing inside the Top 5 in 4th place. Championship leader Day completes the Top 5 and would start Sunday’s race in pole position after the Israeli secured the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:28.508.
Martin Doubek and Marc Goossens crossed the line in 6th and 7th respectively as Justin Kunz finishes 8th to secure his best finish of the year and his best race finishing position in the top class. Lucas Lasserre climbs up 4 places to finish in 9th as Nicolo Rocca faltered down to 10th place at the end due to a power steering failure that left the Italian 3-4 seconds off the pace during the second half of the race.
Davide Dallara once again claimed the Challenger Trophy honors in 11th place as he finishes ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli, who claimed the bonus points for most positions gained after he was demoted to the back of the grid at the start for his temporarily switch to the No. 70 Mishumotors Chevrolet. Ercoli was forced to do the ride change as Arianna Casoli’s scary shunt on Qualifying damaged the No. 54 CAAL Racing Camaro beyond repair, forcing CAAL to withdraw the No. 54 entry for the rest of the weekend.
Simon Pilate and home crowd hero Niko Pulić finishes their first race in the PRO class in 13th and 14th respectively while Wilfried Boucenna’s return to the sport ends up in a disappointing fashion as he only managed to cross the line in 17th place, the last car on the lead lap.
Francesco Sini’s streak of Top 10 finishes ends with a mechanical failure after 9 laps, while Mark Škulj’s impressive debut race ended prematurely after he spun off with two laps to go due to a flat right front tire. Škulj had been running comfortably inside the Top 10 when the incident happened.
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Stienes Longin (11)||17||25:25.473|
|2.||1||Giorgio Maggi (18)||17||+ 0.461|
|3.||4||Lasse Sørensen (66)||17||+ 0.944|
|4.||5||Loris Hezemans (50)||17||+ 3.559|
|5.||8||Alon Day (24)||17||+ 5.711|
|6.||6||Martin Doubek (7)||17||+ 17.967|
|7.||7||Marc Goossens (98)||17||+ 18.210|
|8.||10||Justin Kunz (99)||17||+ 18.728|
|9.||13||Lucas Lasserre (33)||17||+ 19.398|
|10.||3||Nicolò Rocca (22)||17||+ 26.358|
|11.||11||Davide Dallara (89)||17||+ 30.145|
|12.||201||Gianmarco Ercoli (70)||17||+ 35.244|
|13.||19||Simon Pilate (6)||17||+ 37.902|
|14.||14||Niko Pulić (1)||17||+ 39.640|
|15.||15||Dario Caso (8)||17||+ 48.105|
|16.||16||Mauro Trione (31)||17||+ 51.020|
|17.||17||Wilfried Boucenna (46)||17||+ 59.212|
|18.||18||Evgeny Sokolovsky (46)||17||+ 1:33.945|
|19.||9||Mark Škulj (88)||15||DNF (Tire)|
|20.||12||Francesco Sini (12)||9||DNF (Mechanical)|
1 Gianmarco Ercoli initally qualified 6th, but he was sent to the back of the field for changing cars between Qualifying and Race 1.
With championship leader Alon Day finishing two positions behind closest rival Lasse Sørensen, he results in the Saturday race allows Sørensen to close the gap to Day by two points as Stienes Longin now places himself just one point behind third place driver Gianmarco Ercoli in the championship standings.
Francesco Sini’s early retirement allowed Goossens and Lasserre to move up one place in the standings while Maggi’s breakthrough podium puts him up to 9th place, six places above his championship position prior to the weekend. Mauro Trione continues to lead the Challenger Trophy drivers in 11th place with 113 points, although both Sokolovsky and Dallara are now just 7 points behind him in the standings.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.