Alon Day survives a spin and a sudden downpour to win one of the wildest NASCAR Whelen Euro Series races in yesterday’s EuroNASCAR PRO race while Tobias Dauenhauer dominated the EuroNASCAR 2 field on a crazy Saturday at Autodrom Most.
Weather continues to wreak havoc on the Saturday’s running of the OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show at Autodrom Most as Alon Day survives a mid-race spin and an unscheduled pit stop caused by a sudden downpour to claim his second victory of the season while Tobias Dauenhauer extended his EuroNASCAR 2 championship lead with a commanding victory over the rest of the field.
Saturday started off with a wet EuroNASCAR PRO Qualifying session which saw the 24 drivers compete in a 30-minute shootout for the pole position. The Qualifying session itself saw the first usage of a live onboard camera in Euro Series as the audience was introduced to shots taken from the inside of Marc Goossens’ No. 77 Lettner Trans Camaro.
Despite the weather condition, the Qualifying session proved to be a highly competitive one as the track began to dry out and improve as time goes on. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen’s early pace time of 1:55.101 was quickly bettered by the defending champion Alon Day as the Israeli driver lowered the benchmark time down to the 1:53 mark on the halfway point.
Day, Bleekemolen, Jacques Villeneuve, Vittorio Ghirelli, Giorgio Maggi, Romain Iannetta, and Loris Hezemans all traded the fastest lap times on the second-half of Qualifying as they pushed themselves to the limit to take advantage of the improving track conditions. In the end, it was Hezemans that timed it to be best after the championship leader set a lap time of 1:51.364 to claim pole position for Race 1 later in the day.
Villeneuve would accompany Hezemans on the front row as his time of exactly 1:52.000 was enough to secure second place on the grid. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, the sole Team Bleekemolen driver for this weekend as father Michael was out due to a back injury, qualified third while Day claimed fourth despite having an off-track excursion late in the session.
Ghirelli qualified fifth ahead of the returning Iannetta while Ulysse Delsaux secured an impressive seventh-place result in the No. 10 RDV Camaro. Maggi’s best lap time was only enough for eighth place ahead of the rookie Andrea Nori while Lucas Lasserre completes the Top 10.
Fred Gabillon only qualified 11th despite a third-place finish in Friday Practice’s combined timesheets, but Goossens had a worse session as he shockingly was only able to qualify 19th in the grid. Goossens wasn’t the only DF1 Racing driver to struggle on Qualifying, however, as none of the DF1 drivers made it to the Top 10 and only Nicolo Rocca was able to qualify inside the Top 15.
Dario Caso was the fastest Challenger Trophy qualifier in 13th place while Davide Dallara, who was the top Challenger Trophy driver coming to the weekend, failed to set a lap time as Not Only Motorsport was busy repairing the No. 89 Camaro from crash damage sustained on Friday’s Practice.
Full EuroNASCAR PRO Qualifying Result
|1.||Loris Hezemans (7)||1:51.364|
|2.||Jacques Villeneuve (5)||1:52.000|
|3.||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||1:52.283|
|4.||Alon Day (88)||1:52.390|
|5.||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||1:52.400|
|6.||Romain Iannetta (46)||1:52.546|
|7.||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||1:52.752|
|8.||Giorgio Maggi (18)||1:53.025|
|9.||Andrea Nori (90)||1:53.065|
|10.||Lucas Lasserre (64)||1:53.124|
|11.||Frédéric Gabillon (3)||1:53.264|
|12.||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||1:53.469|
|13.||Dario Caso (8)||1:53.618|
|14.||Nicolò Rocca (22)||1:53.665|
|15.||Francesco Sini (12)||1:53.798|
|16.||Patrick Lemarié (66)||1:54.020|
|17.||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||1:54.486|
|18.||Henri Tuomaala (23)||1:54.777|
|19.||Marc Goossens (77)||1:55.345|
|20.||Michaela Dorcikova (1)||1:55.736|
|21.||Bernardo Manfré (17)||1:56.555|
|22.||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||1:56.611|
|23.||Federico Monti (2)||1:59.478|
|24.||Davide Dallara (89)||No Time|
The weather continues to improve for EuroNASCAR 2’s Qualifying session as the track continues to dry out more and more as the session goes on, eventually culminating in a session that was dry enough for the drivers to set their fastest lap times on the slick Hoosier tires.
While the track was still damp in the early parts of Qualifying, most drivers opted to go out early with the slicks already in use on their cars. Times quickly tumbled down as drivers quickly shaved multiple seconds off from the early benchmark time of 1:49.802 set by Tobias Dauenhauer.
Just like EuroNASCAR PRO’s Qualifying, the final stages of the EN2 Qualifying session was a hotly contested one as the likes of Dauenhauer, Advait Deodhar, Naveh Talor, Simon Pilate, Vladimiros Tziortzis, and home crowd favorite Martin Doubek traded times at the top of the timesheets. Dauenhauer eventually was the one to claim pole position after the German driver set a lap time of 1:42.586 to claim his first pole position of the year, a lap that unfortunately was not caught by the broadcast due to the media team’s poor broadcasting direction.
Pilate claimed second with a time of 1:42.701 while Tziortzis and Doubek claimed the second row positions on the grid. Deodhar and Talor would have to contend with a third row start for the race later in the day. Francesco Garisto, now back in the No. 42 Shadow, was seventh ahead of Leevi Lintukanto and Justin Kunz as Kunz made a rather unsuccessful gamble to wait until the latter stages of the session to set his time.
Max Lanza, who was the fastest EN2 driver in yesterday’s Practice sessions, was the fastest of the Legend Trophy drivers in 10th place while Alina Loibnegger ends the session as the fastest Lady Trophy driver in 18th place. Gi Linster qualifies the onboard-carrying No. 77 Camaro in 13th place on his first EuroNASCAR Qualifying session since 2018.
Full EuroNASCAR 2 Qualifying Result
|1.||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||1:42.586|
|2.||Simon Pilate (66)||1:42.701|
|3.||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||1:43.011|
|4.||Martin Doubek (7)||1:43.123|
|5.||Avdait Deodhar (56)||1:43.260|
|6.||Naveh Talor (90)||1:43.619|
|7.||Francesco Garisto (42)||1:43.805|
|8.||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||1:43.963|
|9.||Justin Kunz (22)||1:44.363|
|10.||Max Lanza (88)||1:44.397|
|11.||Thomas Krasonis (2)||1:44.597|
|12.||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||1:45.061|
|13.||Gil Linster (77)||1:45.369|
|14.||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||1:46.325|
|15.||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||1:46.945|
|16.||Miguel Gomes (46)||1:48.064|
|17.||Paolo Valeri (8)||1:48.727|
|18.||Alina Loibnegger (12)||1:48.934|
|19.||Alberto Panebianco (89)||1:50.354|
|20.||Arianna Casoli (54)||1:55.086|
|21.||Eric Quintal (64)||1:56.944|
The first race of OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show began on 13:55 local time as 24 drivers took the green flag for the first EuroNASCAR PRO race of the week. Drama quickly unfolds as Villeneuve spun in the first chicane from contact with Ghirelli while Day misses the chicane altogether and had to take the escape road to get back on the track.
Hezemans maintains the lead in the early parts of the race ahead of Ghirelli and Bleekemolen while Andrea Nori, who controversially moved out of the starting row before he crossed the start line, climbed up to fourth.
As the field races through the third lap of the scheduled 17 laps, rain began to fall once again as drivers started to turn on their windshield wipers. Nori was able to get past Bleekemolen to claim third position at the end of that lap, but he then spun out Ghirelli at the chicane on the start of the 4th lap. Day then got spun by Iannetta just seconds after Nori spun Ghirelli, dropping the two drivers down the running order as Villeneuve moves back up to 4th after he squeezed his No. 5 FJ in-between the two spinning cars.
The rainfall and contact with Ghirelli didn’t deter Nori, however, as he made an aggressive lunge on the inside of Hezemans to claim the lead at the end of the 4th lap. Meanwhile, Lucas Lasserre – who was also running an onboard camera in his car – became the first driver to dive into the pits at the end of the previous lap as he opted to make a switch to a set of wet-weather tires.
The majority of the field soon dived into the pits at the end of the 4th lap and due to factors such as the regulations only allowing up to 3 mechanics to do in-race pit services and the fact that Euro Series races wasn’t designed with pit stops in mind, drivers that do switched to the wet tires were effectively sent a lap down as the likes of Nori, Bleekemolen, Iannetta, and Villeneuve gambled to stay on slicks for the time being.
As rain continued to fell heavier at Most, those that gambled to stay on slicks began to realize that they wouldn’t be able to do a Brad Binder and dived into the pits for a tire change. Bleekemolen was the first to take the bite at the end of lap 5 while Nori, Ghirelli, Goossens, and Michaela Dorcikova followed suit on the following lap.
Iannetta, Villeneuve, Francesco Sini, and Henri Tuomaala bravely held on to the slicks, but the rain was falling even heavier and their decision to stay on the slicks bit them at the end of lap 8 as all four drivers went wide at the penultimate corner. The off-track excursion was enough for Iannetta and Sini as they dived into the pits, but amazingly Villeneuve and Tuomaala continued on despite it became more and more apparent that switching to wets was the right call.
Villeneuve and Tuomaala eventually dived into the pits at the end of lap 9, but their decision to stay out for too long proved to be costly as Rocca and Day, the leaders out of those that got sent a lap down from the tire change, was able to unlap themselves before JV and Tuomaala was able to complete the lap.
Once JV and Tuomaala completed their pit stop, it was Alon Day that shuffled himself to the top of the leaderboards after he went past Rocca at the end of the 9th lap. Ercoli moved up to third place as Goossens amazingly moved up to fourth place thanks to the quick pit stop work done by the DF1 mechanics in the pit lane.
The chaos continued on, however, as Sini spun out on the penultimate corner at the end of lap 10 before he aquaplaned himself to the gravel trap just after he recovered from his spin. Sini then spun yet again on the following lap as he backed his car into the wall at Turn 15, necessitating the Safety Car to be called out as Federico Monti also crashed out on the run to the penultimate corner.
The race was eventually restarted with a 2-lap dash to the checkered flag as Alon Day held on to claim an improbable win at Most – his second win of the season and the 26th of his career – to close the gap to Hezemans at the top of the standings.
“I don’t know what happened in the first lap, I just saw Jacques being spun by someone and I had to cut the track and already lost a lot of places,” said Day in the Victory Lane. “And then I got bumped from behind and I got spun from somebody, but being able to overcome that and when the rain dropped the guys did an amazing job swapping the tires.”
“The victory belongs to them, they did an amazing job in the pit stop. I just want to celebrate this victory now and think about tomorrow.”
Day’s teammate Ercoli would eventually finish in second place to bring home a CAAL Racing 1-2 finish as Goossens managed to get into the final podium position despite having started from 19th on the grid, easily claiming the bonus points for most positions gained in the process. Ghirelli once again misses out on the podium while Rocca would be very disappointed with the results achieved after he tumbled down from second to fifth on the two-lap dash at the end.
Gabillon finished sixth ahead of Maggi while a slow tire change from Hezemans left the championship leader in 8th place at the end. Lasserre and Bleekemolen completes the Top 10 while Villeneuve would eventually finish just outside the Top 10 in 11th after he was sent to the back of the pack once he completed his tire change pit stop.
Finishing behind JV is Tuomaala, who would bring home victory in the Challenger Trophy sub-classifications. Nori and Iannetta’s antics early in the race ultimately resulted in the two drivers receiving a 10-second penalty that dropped them to 14th and 17th respectively.
Dario Caso was poised for his first Top-10 finish on his career only to crash into the tire barriers late in the race, while Patrick Lemarie and Davide Dallara both retired from the race after the two drivers made contact on lap 2 – Dallara retiring immediately while Lemarie carried on until he parked his car in the pits at the end of lap 15. The last retiree of the race was Bernardo Manfre, who retired after he experienced technical issues on his Shadow DNM8.
Full EuroNASCAR PRO Race 1 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||4||Alon Day (88)||17||42:12.995|
|2.||12||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||17||+ 2.299|
|3.||19||Marc Goossens (77)||17||+ 4.333|
|4.||5||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||17||+ 6.816|
|5.||14||Nicolò Rocca (22)||17||+ 9.478|
|6.||11||Frédéric Gabillon (3)||17||+ 9.834|
|7.||8||Giorgio Maggi (18)||17||+ 9.984|
|8.||1||Loris Hezemans (7)||17||+ 13.373|
|9.||10||Lucas Lasserre (64)||17||+ 13.707|
|10.||4||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||17||+ 19.258|
|11.||2||Jacques Villeneuve (5)||17||+ 20.477|
|12.||18||Henri Tuomaala (23)||17||+ 20.961|
|13.||7||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||17||+ 22.180|
|14.||9||Andrea Nori (90)||17||+ 24.9311|
|15.||17||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||17||+ 27.563|
|16.||20||Michaela Dorcikova (1)||17||+ 27.791|
|17.||6||Romain Iannetta (46)||17||+ 29.1081|
|18.||22||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||17||+ 29.498|
|19.||13||Dario Caso (8)||15||DNF (Accident)|
|20.||16||Patrick Lemarié (66)||13||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|21.||15||Francesco Sini (12)||11||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|22.||20||Federico Monti (2)||8||DNF (Accident)|
|23.||21||Bernardo Manfré (17)||4||DNF (Mechanical)|
|24.||24||Davide Dallara (89)||2||DNF (Collision)|
1 Andrea Nori and Romain Iannetta received a 10-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision
While the EuroNASCAR PRO race proved to be perhaps the single most chaotic race in the series history, EuroNASCAR 2’s first race at Most was to be a calmer one as 20 drivers took the green flag in a single-file formation at 16:20 local time. Problems would immediately befell pole sitter Dauenhauer after he misjudged his braking point on the run to Turn 1, forcing him to take an evasive action on the gravel while DF1 teammates Kunz and Ian Eric Wadén spun out at the chicane.
Said gravel excursion for Dauenhauer would prove to be the only problems that he would encounter in this race, however, as the German driver would lead from start to finish and claim his second victory of the season with a winning gap of 7.356 seconds.
“It wasn’t boring,” said Dauenhauer in the Victory Lane. “It was difficult outside and I did a little bit of mistake at the start, but I managed to get a small gap to the second place car so I’m very happy. Many thanks to the team, they did an amazing job. I had a really good car, it’s been a ton of fun and I’m looking forward for the next race.”
Finishing in second place is Advait Deodhar, bringing home a highly emotional podium finish as he dedicates his podium to his late brother Akshay – who passed away just 6 days after Deodhar’s first career victory at Brands Hatch. Home crowd hero Martin Doubek would complete the final step of the podium.
Leevi Lintukanto brought home a surprise fourth place finish – claming the Rookie Trophy honors in the process – as Pilate lacked the pace to run at the top of the pack, eventually coming home in fifth place. Francesco Garisto was sixth in the Shadow as Max Lanza claimed a 7th place finish to bring home top honors once again in the Legend Trophy.
Sokolovsky and Valeri finished 8th and 9th as Alberto Panebianco brought home the most positions gained bonus point with a 10th place finishing result. Pierluigi Veronesi finished 11th despite having to serve a drive-through penalty for changing tires too late while Alina Loibnegger secured another victory in the Lady Trophy with a 14th place finish.
Championship contender Vladimiros Tziortzis had a race that he would like to forget yesterday. Academy Motorsport reluctantly moved himself down to the last row of the grid as the No. 1 Remedica Ford experienced mechanical issues on the pre-race build up, with the team still fixing the issues on his car when the call to start the engines was announced by the Grand Marshall. He would trundle down on the back of the pack for four laps before he spun out on lap 5, eventually retiring not long after due to a burnt out clutch.
Early contact for Naveh Talor would result in a lengthy visit to the pits while Gil Linster was forced to stop his car with just 3 laps to go due to clutch issues on the onboard camera-carrying No. 77 Lettner Trans Camaro. Thomas Krasonis failed to make the start as Academy Motorsport wasn’t able to fix the No. 2 car in time for the EuroNASCAR 2 race.
Full EuroNASCAR 2 Race 1 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||14||26:53.858|
|2.||5||Advait Deodhar (56)||17||+ 7.356|
|3.||4||Martin Doubek (7)||14||+ 7.713|
|4.||8||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||14||+ 31.091|
|5.||2||Simon Pilate (66)||14||+ 36.421|
|6.||7||Francesco Garisto (42)||14||+ 36.808|
|7.||10||Max Lanza (88)||14||+ 37.284|
|8.||12||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||14||+ 44.590|
|9.||17||Paolo Valeri (8)||14||+ 1:01.324|
|10.||19||Alberto Panebianco (89)||14||+ 1:01.800|
|11.||15||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||14||+ 1:03.397|
|12.||14||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||14||+ 1:09.452|
|13.||16||Miguel Gomes (46)||14||+ 1:25.604|
|14.||18||Alina Loibnegger (12)||14||+ 1:56.534|
|15.||20||Arianna Casoli (54)||13||+ 1 Lap|
|16.||21||Eric Quintal (33)||13||+ 1 Lap|
|17.||13||Gil Linster (77)||11||DNF (Clutch)|
|18.||9||Justin Kunz (22)||11||+ 3 Laps|
|19.||6||Naveh Talor (90)||10||+ 4 Laps|
|20.||3||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||4||DNF (Clutch)|
|21.||11||Thomas Krasonis (2)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.