Alon Day puts his name in the history books as he ties the all-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series wins record set by Ander Vilarino with his victory from pole position in the Sunday EuroNASCAR PRO Race at Rijeka.
Alon Day had a day to remember last Sunday as the Israeli driver ties Ander Vilarino’s record of 22 wins in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series following his victory in NASCAR GP Croatia’s second EuroNASCAR PRO Race.
Having started the race from pole position, Day led all 17 laps and survived a safety car restart to become the first repeat winner in the EuroNASCAR PRO class this year. With Vilarino withdrawing from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Day has now placed himself in the position to break Vilarino’s long standing record as the Israeli also extended his lead to Lasse Sorensen in the championship standings.
“It’s an amazing feeling!” said Day in the Victory Lane. “We made a lot of homework, me and PK Carsport, with the Monster Energy car and we came prepared as much as we can. Unfortunately, Qualifying didn’t work as well as we wanted but we still managed to make the best out of this situation.”
“I think I equalled the all-time record of winning and I think this is an awesome feeling for me and the team and I’m so grateful to be working with them.”
Loris Hezemans handily grabbed to second place to keep his championship hopes alive as Lasse Sørensen grabbed the final podium spot post-race after teammate Nicolo Rocca received a post-race time penalty following a collision with Stienes Longin.
Rocca had been running in third for most of the race when Race 1 winner Stienes Longin challenged him for the position at the start of Lap 15. Stienes tried to overtake Rocca on the inside at Turn 1, but crucially Rocca held the favoured racing line for Turn 2. Rocca left no room for Stienes and squeezed him off the racing line as they braked into Turn 2, forcing Stienes to run very wide into the grass and do some unintended rallycross action with the No. 11 Camaro that dropped the Belgian all the way down to 9th place.
Stewards did not view the incident kindly for Rocca and he ultimately received a 30-second time penalty that dropped him down to 13th place, capping off a disastrous weekend for Rocca’s championship hopes.
Marc Goossens was classified at 4th in the end as Gianmarco Ercoli crucially scored a Top 5 finish after finding pace in his second race with the Mishumotors Camaro, a crucial result that could pay dividends later in the season.
Justin Kunz one-ups his personal top-class best race finish record after the German finished 6th, just 0.263 seconds away from his first Top 5 finish in the PRO class. PRO class debutant Simon Pilate secured an impressive 7th place finish ahead of Longin, while CAAL Racing drivers Mauro Trione and Mark Škulj completes the Top 10.
For Trione, it’s his best career race finish result and his first Top 10 finish since the second race at Tours in 2018. The 9th place finish also gave him the win in Challenger Trophy, the first time Davide Dallara – who finished 12th after he received a drive-through penalty for starting procedure violations – was beaten on-track by the rest of the Challenger Trophy field this year. He also secured himself the bonus points for the most positions gained, having started from 17th on the grid for Sunday’s race.
For Škulj, the Top 10 finish marked a redemption story for the 16-year old Slovenian after he was denied from a possible Top 10 finish due to a flat tire that took him out late in the first race on Saturday.
Francesco Sini, who made an unscheduled pit stop visit due to a suspected mechanical issue in his No. 12 Solaris Camaro, is classified 11th ahead of Dallara and Rocca. Marko Stipp drivers Evgeny Sokolovsky and Wilfried Boucenna completes the Top 15 as Dario Caso finished 16th, the last car still running at the end, after taking a drive-through penalty late in the race for collision with Niko Pulić.
Martin Doubek and Giorgio Maggi’s day came to end mid-way through the race after the two Hendriks driver collided with each other, causing enough collision damage to put themselves out of the race. Niko Pulić’s collision with Caso puts him out of the race as it broke his front-left suspension, while Lucas Lasserre’s driveshaft failure causes the only Safety Car period of the race as a result of Lasserre parking the broken Mishumotors Camaro on the main straight.
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Alon Day (24)||17||29:20.259|
|2.||2||Loris Hezemans (50)||17||+ 3.181|
|3.||6||Lasse Sørensen (66)||17||+ 5.627|
|4.||8||Marc Goossens (98)||17||+ 13.674|
|5.||12||Gianmarco Ercoli (70)||17||+ 14.440|
|6.||10||Justin Kunz (99)||17||+ 14.703|
|7.||11||Simon Pilate (6)||17||+ 16.486|
|8.||3||Stienes Longin (11)||17||+ 18.752|
|9.||17||Mauro Trione (31)||17||+28.712|
|10.||13||Mark Škulj (88)||17||+ 28.804|
|11.||14||Francesco Sini (12)||17||+ 31.043|
|12.||16||Davide Dallara (89)||17||+ 33.185|
|13.||4||Nicolò Rocca (22)||17||+ 35.3211|
|14.||20||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||17||+ 47.052|
|15.||19||Wilfried Boucenna (46)||17||+ 51.049|
|16.||15||Dario Caso (8)||17||+ 1:19.934|
|17.||5||Giorgio Maggi (18)||13||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|18.||7||Martin Doubek (7)||11||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|19.||18||Niko Pulić (1)||10||DNF (Collision)|
|20.||9||Lucas Lasserre (33)||4||DNF (Driveshaft)|
1 Nicolò Rocca initally finished 3rd, but he received a 30-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Stienes Longin.
Alon Day’s historic win extends his lead in the championship once again as Day now holds a 14 points advantage over Sørensen in second place. Gianmarco Ercoli stays third with 192 points while Hezemans’ podium moved him up to 4th place, three points behind Ercoli and just one point ahead of Stienes coming to the Valencia doubleheader.
Goossens stays in sixth place as Sini and Lasserre trade places in the standings. Rocca moved up to 9th place despite losing the podium post-race while Mauro Trione moves up to 10th place in the overall standings.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.