Hendriks Motorsport returns back on top on the final day of American SpeedFest 8 as Loris Hezemans and Tobias Dauenhauer dominated the final EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 race of the weekend to be crowned “King” and “Prince” as the winners of the SpeedFest.
A new “King” and “Prince” of American SpeedFest was crowned yesterday as Loris Hezemans and Tobias Dauenhauer dominated the second EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 race at Brands Hatch to bring Hendriks Motorsport back on top of the series once again.
After the day was started with a wet warm-up session in the morning which saw EN2 racer Alina Loibnegger having an off-track excursion in her Solaris Camaro, the skies cleared up in time for the field of EuroNASCAR PRO to start the second race on dry conditions.
The seeds for a dramatic race was planted as soon as the field races through Paddock Hill Bend for the first time when Alexander Graff and Vittorio Ghirelli made minor contact after the Swede hit the kerbs entering Paddock Hill Bend. The minor contact was enough to send the No. 44 Tapiola Camaro into a pirouette, a mistake that dropped him all the way down on the running order.
Soon, the Top 4 drivers of Loris Hezemans, Alon Day, Gianmarco Ercoli, and Vittorio Ghirelli quickly began to make a breakaway from the rest of the field while fifth place driver Nicolo Rocca had to fend off a train of 8-9 cars that was forming up behind him. The breakaway pack’s progress was quickly cancelled, however, after the Safety Car was called on lap 9 after Igor Romanov ran off the track on the run exiting Clearways, putting the No. 90 Not Only Motorsport Camaro on the gravel trap in the process.
After the marshalls quickly take care of Romanov’s stranded car, the race went back to green on Lap 12 as Alon Day made a quick getaway that allowed him to briefly stole the lead from Hezemans before the championship leader took it back on the next lap. The duo continued to battle for positions until lap 22 when the Safety Car was called again, this time after home driver Scott Jeffs got himself stuck in the gravel at the entry to Clearways.
The race was restarted again on lap 28 when problems struck Race 1 winner Alon Day. As the field races to Paddock Hill Bend, his engine started to make a puff of smoke and ultimately blew as he starts the next lap. This very lap also saw more drama as Evgeny Sokolovsky ran wide at Paddock Hill and got himself stuck in the gravel, necessitating yet another Safety Car period to recover Day and Sokolovsky’s stranded cars.
The mess was cleared with three laps to go and not wanting to risk another Safety Car period, the stewards opted to forgo the double-file restart on the final restart. Ercoli, who was promoted to second, ultimately had no match for Hezemans’ pace as the Dutch driver scored the 10th victory of his career – and his first win at Brands Hatch – by 0.886 seconds.
“I’m really happy with this result today,” said Hezemans in the post-race interview. “We’re able to extend the championship lead, it’s definitely a shame with what happened to Alon because we’re having a good fight but very happy with the result, very happy with how we were able to turn around the weekend come FP1, so overall we’re very happy with how we started our season.”
Finishing behind Hezemans and Ercoli is Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, whose impressive start of the season continued with his second career EuroNASCAR podium finish at Brands Hatch. Giorgio Maggi came home 4th ahead of home crowd favorite Alex Sedgwick, claming the bonus points for most positions gained in the process.
Ghirelli finished 6th while Lucas Lasserre came home 7th for his first penalty-less race of the year. Rocca ultimately finished 8th while Graff recovered to finish 9th ahead of Frederic Gabillon and Ulysse Delsaux. Fellow Scandinavian driver Henri Tuomaala came home in 12th to claim the win in the Challenger Trophy while fellow DF1 teammate Marc Goossens was penalized down to 16th place due to the usage of an unapproved spare tire.
Another DF1 driver, Simon Pilate, also retired late in the race after mechanical issues struck the No. 66 Camaro during the final Safety Car period. Jeffs’ retirement compounds the bad luck he suffered on his return to the series while Day’s engine failure meant that he had no “jokers” in store as he already have 2 retirements. Any future DNFs for the defending champion would be very costly for Day’s hope of claiming a record-breaking fourth title in EuroNASCAR.
Full EuroNASCAR PRO Race 2 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Loris Hezemans (7)||38||39:10.905|
|2.||3||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||38||+ 0.886|
|3.||8||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||38||+ 1.684|
|4.||10||Giorgio Maggi (18)||38||+ 2.450|
|5.||7||Alex Sedgwick (24)||38||+ 3.142|
|6.||4||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||38||+ 3.645|
|7.||13||Lucas Lasserre (64)||38||+ 3.980|
|8.||3||Nicolò Rocca (22)||38||+ 6.294|
|9.||5||Alexander Graff (44)||38||+ 6.473|
|10.||9||Frederic Gabillon (3)||38||+ 6.865|
|11.||14||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||38||+ 7.265|
|12.||15||Henri Tuomaala (23)||38||+ 7.560|
|13.||17||Davide Dallara (89)||38||+ 8.333|
|14.||19||Bernardo Manfre (17)||38||+ 9.574|
|15.||20||Federico Monti (2)||38||+ 12.989|
|16.||12||Marc Goossens (77)||38||+ 14.8861|
|17.||11||Simon Pilate (66)||33||DNF (Mechanical)|
|18.||18||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||29||DNF (Spun Off)|
|19.||2||Alon Day (88)||28||DNF (Engine)|
|20.||16||Scott Jeffs (46)||20||DNF (Spun Off)|
|21.||21||Igor Romanov (90)||6||DNF (Spun Off)|
1 Marc Goossens received a 10-second time penalty for usage of an unapproved spare tire.
The second EuroNASCAR 2 race, which closes out the action for NASCAR Whelen Euro Series at the SpeedFest, started a bit late due to the delays from the supporting races. When the green flag did drop, Tobias Dauenhauer made a quick getaway on his No. 50 Infitto/G-Labo Ford to claim the lead from pole sitter – and Race 1 winner – Advait Deodhar before the first turn. From then on, there was no one to catch Dauenhauer as the German scored his first win of the season by 6.063 seconds from Simon Pilate.
“It was just amazing”, said Dauenhauer to euronascar.com. “To score the first victory of the season is just awesome. It was also great to have some fans back at the race track and hopefully we entertained them all here on the grandstands. The team did an amazing job and gave me a great Ford Mustang. We showed a really good pace and I’m so thankful.”
After being gifted a podium in the previous race due to Francesco Garisto’s post-race penalty, Pilate was able to score his legitimate on-track first podium after he battled Deodhar for the majority of the race. Deodhar, struggling with an imperfect setup, tried his best to make his No. 56 TJB Superyachts Ford to be as wide as possible but a mistake at Graham Hill Bend on lap 26 opened up the space for Pilate to make the pass for second place, his career-best finish in Euro Series to date.
Deodhar, enjoying a historic weekend after becoming the first Indian driver to win in Euro Series yesterday, still came home with a double podium finish in third ahead of Not Only Motorsport’s Naveh Talor, who also scored his career-best finish with a fantastic 4th place effort in the No. 90 Chevy.
Vladimiros Tziortzis ends a tough SpeedFest on a high note after he came home in fifth while home driver Shaun Hollamby also enjoyed a strong race as he had a fantastic battle with Tziortzis on his way to a surprise sixth place finish, easily his best result in Euro Series to date.
EN2 veterans Justin Kunz and Pierluigi Veronesi finished 7th and 8th while Thomas Krasonis rebounded from his Saturday DNF to score a 9th place finish, claiming the most positions gained bonus points in the process. Leevi Lintukanto also rebounded from his Saturday DNF as he scored his first Top-10 finish of the year and a victory in the Rookie Trophy.
The biggest drama of the race came on lap 4 when Garisto spun championship leader Martin Doubek on the entry of Clearways. Garisto, who had already earned the ire of the stewards after he almost pushed Pilate to the grass on the Cooper Straight a few laps earlier, left no room for Doubek as they entered Clearways. The resulting contact send the Czech driver spinning and tumbling down the order while Garisto inevitably received a drive-through penalty for his antics.
Arianna Casoli and Michael Bleekemolen also encountered trouble as mechanical issues forced them to retire in the pits, while Sokolovsky’s bad day continued in the EN2 race as he received a post-race time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Ian Eric Waden.
Sokolovksy’s post-race penalty, coupled with his and fellow countryman Romanov’s retirement in the PRO race, gave a further whammy to Ukraine after the country was eliminated from Euro 2020 – ironically, by the England team – on Saturday.
Full EuroNASCAR 2 Race 2 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||30||25:26.513|
|2.||3||Simon Pilate (66)||30||+ 6.063|
|3.||1||Advait Deodhar (56)||30||+ 6.953|
|4.||5||Naveh Talor (90)||30||+ 7.914|
|5.||7||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||30||+ 8.241|
|6.||8||Shaun Hollamby (77)||30||+ 18.730|
|7.||9||Justin Kunz (22)||30||+ 19.020|
|8.||11||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||30||+ 19.503|
|9.||16||Thomas Krasonis (2)||30||+ 26.175|
|10.||17||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||30||+ 28.861|
|11.||10||Alberto Panebianco (89)||30||+ 29.374|
|12.||12||Max Lanza (88)||30||+ 31.269|
|13.||6||Martin Doubek (7)||30||+ 34.040|
|14.||4||Francesco Garisto (17)||30||+ 46.438|
|15.||13||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||30||+ 1:12.4551|
|16.||15||Ian Eric Waden (44)||29||+ 1 Lap|
|17.||20||Matthias Hauer (64)||29||+ 1 Lap|
|18.||19||Miguel Gomes (46)||29||+ 1 Lap|
|19.||18||Alina Loibnegger (12)||29||+ 1 Lap|
|20.||21||Arianna Casoli (54)||26||DNF (Mechanical)|
|21.||14||Michael Bleekemolen (69)||9||DNF (Mechanical)|
1 Evgeny Sokolovsky received a 30-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Ian Eric Waden.
In the championship race, “King of Brands Hatch” Hezemans would extend his championship lead in the top EuroNASCAR PRO class as he would exit SpeedFest with a 20-point advantage over Ercoli in second place. Rocca retains third with 130 points as Ghirelli also retains his 4th place position with 128 points.
Bleekemolen’s podium finish would promote him all the way to fifth place in the standings with 118 points, three points ahead of Lasserre while Gabillon moves up to 7th with 109 points. Day’s troubled week would still promote him up to 8th in the standings with 108 points, winning a tiebreaker against Maggi thanks to his win yesterday. Marc Goossens completes the Top 10 with 102 points.
Challenger Trophy saw a completely mixed-up order in the standings after the SpeedFest as Davide Dallara now holds the lead with 90 points. Sokolovsky, the leader coming to the round, is 3 points behind the Italian with Tuomaala and Shadow’s Bernardo Manfre not too far behind.
On the EuroNASCAR 2 standings, Doubek’s incident with Garisto would allow “Prince of Brands Hatch” Dauenhauer to take over the reins in the standings as he exits SpeedFest with 144 points on his name. Doubek now trails his teammate by 9 points as Tziortzis retains third with 129 points. Deodhar’s historic first win would propel the Indian driver up to 4th place with 124 points as Veronesi drops down a spot in the standings, albeit just one point behind his former CAAL teammate.
Naveh Talor now sits on sixth place with 120 points, just one point ahead of Pilate in 7th while teammate Alberto Panebianco currently sits in eighth place with 116 points. Kunz and Garisto completes the Top 10 with 111 and 106 points respectively while Sokolovsky retains the Legend Trophy lead with 101 points, 2 points ahead of Max Lanza.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.