An exciting Sunday at Autodrom Most saw Vittorio Ghirelli claim his first victory in the top EuroNASCAR PRO class with a commanding flag-to-flag victory while teammate Tobias Dauenhauer completed the sweep in EuroNASCAR 2 to extend his championship lead in the junior class.
An exciting Sunday in the OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show saw Vittorio Ghirelli score his maiden win in the top EuroNASCAR PRO class with a commanding flag-to-flag victory while teammate Tobias Dauenhauer completes the sweep at Autodrom Most to further extend his lead in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship standings.
An early morning warm-up session precedes the second EuroNASCAR 2 race which began on 10:30 AM local time in dry conditions. Pole sitter – and Saturday’s race winner – Dauenhauer quickly launched himself to the lead on the first corner as the field stacked up behind him with the likes of Leevi Lintukanto, Simon Pilate, and Max Lanza among those that were involved in the first corner incident.
The ensuing melee would cause punctures to Lintukanto and Pilate’s cars, necessitating a costly visit to the pits for the two DF1 Racing drivers while Lanza was left with practically no front bodywork on his car, although he is able to keep his car going without having to make a visit to the pits.
More drama was to happen in the opening lap as a few moments later front row sitter Pierlugi Veronesi and Advait Deodhar collided at Turn 15. Deodhar was trying to get past his former teammate only for Veronesi to rapidly close the gap, causing a collision that immediately took out both drivers – Veronesi retiring on the spot while Deodhar retired his car in the pits.
The opening lap chaos meant that Dauenhauer, Martin Doubek, and Francesco Garisto was able to open up a staggering 8-second advantage over the rest of the field, with Lanza retaining 4th place while rookie Miguel Gomes somehow finds himself in 5th place at the end of lap 1. Championship contender Vladimiros Tziortzis also managed to carve his way nicely as he managed to gain 10 places on the opening lap to move up to 7th position.
Lanza’s time in 4th didn’t last long as Paolo Valeri pulled off a double overtake into the chicane to move himself to 4th place, which soon became 3rd when Doubek was forced to retire due to rear axle issues. Tziortzis quickly gets himself up to 4th position to challenge Valeri for the final podium position once he got past Lanza and Gomes, who struggled to keep up with the pace of the front runners.
Valeri wasn’t going to let 3rd place away with ease as he fought hard to keep Tziortzis, fending off multiple overtake attempts from the Cypriot with Justin Kunz and Naveh Talor also joining the fight. Tziortzis then tried to make another overtake attempt at Turn 10 on lap 6, but Valeri closed the gap too soon which resulted in a spin for the Italian as Talor also got turned around when he and Kunz stacked up behind Tziortzis’ Remedica Ford.
As the squabble for the final podium position continued on, Dauenhauer was able to extend his lead from Garisto and in the end he would cross the line in first position to sweep the two EN2 races and score his third win of the season while Garisto would finally score Shadow’s first podium with his second place finish, finishing 10.570 seconds behind Dauenhauer.
“I’m very happy at the moment,” said Dauenhauer in the Victory Lane. “It was just a perfect weekend for the whole team and me. We show such a great performance the whole weekend during the rain conditions and the dry conditions. The team did an amazing job to give me the perfect car, I drive my maximum and it’s just the perfect weekend.”
Tziortzis would eventually bring home a third place finish to keep his championship hopes alive, bringing home the bonus points for most positions gained in the process. Kunz came home fourth while Gil Linster enjoyed a return to the top positions with a hard-fought 5th place finish.
Talor would recover to 6th place – setting the fastest lap in the process, the first of his career – while Ian Eric Waden came home 7th for another win in the Legend Trophy classification as well as his first career Top-10 finish in Euro Series.
Lanza brought his battered No. 88 Camaro to an 8th place finish while Gomes survived a collision with Alberto Panebianco and teammate Evgeny Sokolovsky at the chicane to score his first career Top-10 finish, bringing home the top rookie honors in the process.
Arianna Casoli kept her car clean to score her first Top-10 finish since Zolder in 2020 as well as a win in Lady Trophy, beating Lady Trophy rival Alina Loibnegger who had a spin midway through the race. Panebianco had to contend with a 12th place finish in the end as Eric Quintal, Lintukanto, and Pilate completed the list of finishers.
Valeri would retire his car late in the race as Sokolovsky’s collision with Gomes and Panebianco ultimately took the Ukrainian driver out of the race in the spot, classifying himself in 17th place on the final results. Thomas Krasonis’ bad weekend continued as his engine blew after just 3 laps while Doubek, Deodhar, and Veronesi received a huge blow to their championship chances with their respective DNF’s.
Full EuroNASCAR 2 Race 2 Results
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||14||24:18.672|
|2.||5||Francesco Garisto (42)||14||+ 10.570|
|3.||17||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||14||+ 22.588|
|4.||10||Justin Kunz (22)||14||+ 24.324|
|5.||11||Gil Linster (77)||14||+ 38.352|
|6.||18||Naveh Talor (90)||14||+ 40.108|
|7.||9||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||14||+ 44.160|
|8.||7||Max Lanza (88)||14||+ 47.550|
|9.||15||Miguel Gomes (46)||14||+ 1:09.125|
|10.||19||Arianna Casoli (54)||14||+ 1:27.526|
|11.||16||Alina Loibnegger (12)||14||+ 1:30.909|
|12.||12||Alberto Panebianco (89)||14||+ 1:38.450|
|13.||20||Eric Quintal (33)||13||+ 1 Lap|
|14.||6||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||13||+ 1 Lap|
|15.||8||Simon Pilate (66)||12||+ 2 Laps|
|16.||13||Paolo Valeri (8)||11||DNF (Mechanical)|
|17.||14||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||9||DNF (Collision)|
|18.||21||Thomas Krasonis (2)||3||DNF (Engine)|
|19.||4||Martin Doubek (7)||2||DNF (Rear Axle)|
|20.||3||Advait Deodhar (56)||1||DNF (Collision)|
|21.||2||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||0||DNF (Collision)|
Closing out the action at Autodrom Most is the second EuroNASCAR PRO race, which saw Vittorio Ghirelli claim his first pole position in the top class after he set the fastest lap on Saturday’s crazy dry-to-wet race with Team Bleekemolen’s Sebastiaan Bleekemolen starting alongside him on the front row.
The start went well for Ghirelli and Bleekemolen as they were able to maintain their position at the end of the first lap with Loris Hezemans trailing them in third place, but the Safety Car was called at the end of the opening lap due to yet another incident on the first chicane.
Andrea Nori and Jacques Villeneuve, both starting from the fourth row, were able to get a great launch off the line and got past the No. 12 Solaris Camaro of Francesco Sini on the run to the first corner. As the field brakes for the chicane, Sini missed his braking point and brake checked into JV’s car, climbing over Nori’s car in the process when Sini’s car clipped the front-left corner of Nori’s “Mustang” – Not Only Motorsport was forced to use a Mustang front-end bodywork after they ran out of spare Camaro bodyworks.
Further mess happened behind them as Saturday’s surprise podium finisher Marc Goossens collided with teammate Ian Eric Waden’s car, sending Waden into the path of Bernardo Manfre’s Shadow while Sokolovsky’s freshly-repaired Gulf Camaro had to take avoiding action through the gravel trap.
Nori, Waden, and Manfre’s race was over immediately while Goossens had to made an unscheduled stop to change his blown-out front-right tire. Teammate Patrick Lemarie also made a visit to the pits as he was forced to retire his car after the opening lap due to mechanical issues.
The field circulated behind the Safety Car for 3 laps before the race was restarted on lap 5, which was done as a single-file restart to try prevent more crashes to be happening at the frontstraight chicane. Ghirelli, Bleekemolen, and Hezemans were able to retain their positions at the start as Alon Day and Villeneuve managed to get past Romain Iannetta at the end of the lap to claim 4th and 5th respectively.
Villeneuve then managed to past Day in the run to the chicane on the start of lap 7 as Day suddenly slowed down as he exited the chicane. Day then brought his car to the pits after it became apparent that the No. 88 Monster Energy Camaro blew its engine, giving Day his third retirement of the year and another major blow to his championship chances.
Bleekemolen and Hezemans continued to pile the pressure on Ghirelli, but Ghirelli preserved and he was able to held on to the lead to claim his first victory in EuroNASCAR PRO on just his sixth race in the top class.
“It’s a fantastic win!” said a highly emotional Ghirelli in the Victory Lane. “I pushed every lap and try to keep focus. On lap 2 I actually had a bee in my helmet, so I locked up [as a result] and Bleekemolen was fast but then I got a good rhythm and took a good gap and in the end I controlled.”
“What can I say, good job to team Hendriks to give me a very good car. The championship is still long so we will keep believing and keep pushing.”
Hezemans eventually was able to get past Bleekemolen to claim second place when Bleekemolen started to have some struggle with his tires late in the race. Bleekemolen’s pace was dropping in the latter stages of the race, but he would hold on to third as Villeneuve misses out on a podium finish by just 0.576 seconds – the Canadian having gained 3 seconds to Bleekemolen on the last 3 laps.
Lucas Lasserre, whose car brought one of the two live onboard cameras this weekend, claimed his first Top-5 finish of the year after a hard-fought battle with Giorgio Maggi. Henri Tuomaala, who finished 9th, would claim his first Top-10 finish of the year as well as another win in the Challenger Trophy.
Championship contenders Nicolo Rocca and Gianmarco Ercoli struggled all-race long as they finished 10th and 12th respectively, Ercoli in particular finished with the front bodywork missing from his car. Finishing behind Ercoli is the returning Michaela Dorcikova, who claimed the 4 bonus championship points for most positions gained.
The second race at Most proved to be a race of high attrition as 9 out of the 23 drivers that started the race failed to make the checkered flag. Romain Iannetta, Dario Caso, and Davide Dallara were also forced to retire from the race due to persistent mechanical issues, Dallara in particular having to retire his car on the grass at the inside of the last corner.
Francesco Sini, who finished 9th on the road, was eventually disqualified after he failed to serve a drive-through penalty that was given for the incident on the opening lap. Federico Monti is the sole non-starter as Academy Motorsport was unable to fix the engine issues in time, but Monti took his DNS on a good stride as he mimics the act of driving inside his car on the pre-race build up.
Full EuroNASCAR PRO Race 2 Results
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||17||33:28.584|
|2.||3||Loris Hezemans (7)||17||+ 2.686|
|3.||2||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||17||+ 8.440|
|4.||8||Jacques Villeneuve (5)||17||+ 9.016|
|5.||9||Lucas Lasserre (64)||17||+ 14.872|
|6.||10||Giorgio Maggi (18)||17||+ 17.444|
|7.||12||Frédéric Gabillon (3)||17||+ 20.991|
|8.||13||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||17||+ 24.948|
|9.||15||Henri Tuomaala (23)||17||+ 27.870|
|10.||17||Nicolò Rocca (22)||17||+ 39.210|
|11.||18||Marc Goossens (77)||17||+ 39.423|
|12.||11||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||17||+ 42.990|
|13.||21||Michaela Dorcikova (1)||17||+ 55.766|
|14.||19||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||17||+ 56.246|
|15.||4||Romain Iannetta (46)||14||DNF (Mechanical)|
|16.||14||Dario Caso (8)||11||DNF (Mechanical)|
|17.||5||Alon Day (88)||7||DNF (Engine)|
|18.||23||Davide Dallara (89)||4||DNF (Electrical)|
|19.||24||Patrick Lemarié (66)||1||DNF (Mechanical)|
|20.||16||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||0||DNF (Collision)|
|21.||20||Bernardo Manfré (17)||0||DNF (Collision)|
|22.||7||Andrea Nori (90)||0||DNF (Collision)|
|23.||6||Francesco Sini (12)||17||DSQ (Disqualified)|
|24.||22||Federico Monti (2)||0||DNS (Did Not Start)|
The results from an exciting OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show saw Hezemans exit Autodrom Most still in the lead of the championship with 219 points. His lead in the championship was reduced slightly, however, as Ghirelli now moves up to 2nd place in the standings with a deficit of 18 points behind his teammate.
Both Ercoli and Rocca dropped down to 3rd and 4th place in the standings with 195 and 189 points respectively while Sebastiaan Bleekemolen retains 5th place with 179 points on his name. Lasserre and Frederic Gabillon maintains 6th and 7th place while Maggi now clears Alon Day by just one point in the battle for 8th place.
Marc Goossens’ podium on Saturday strengthens his position in the Top 10 as teammate Tuomaala moved up to 12th place in the standings as the new leader of the Challenger Trophy. Villeneuve now moves up to 14th as the highest-placing driver of those that missed at least one race this season.
In EuroNASCAR 2, Dauenhauer’s sweep and problems by his closest championship rivals meant that the German has quadrupled his lead in the championship, having entered the race week with a 9-point lead and exited it with a 37-point gap over teammate Martin Doubek.
Tziortzis and Deodhar maintains their position in the standings as Simon Pilate moves up to 5th place in the standings with 173 points. He and Alberto Panebianco exited Most with the same amount of points, but Pilate sits ahead due to having a better race finish result – 2nd for Pilate and 4th for Panebianco.
Garisto’s podium moves the Shadow driver up to 7th place while Talor and Veronesi drops down to 8th and 9th place in the standings, a 2 and 4-place drop respectively. Max Lanza returns to the top of the Legend Trophy sub-classification as he moves up to 11th place in the standings while Casoli’s Top-10 finish would secure her position as the lead driver in the Lady Trophy.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.