Gianmarco Ercoli and Tobias Dauenhauer bounces back to the top on Sunday’s running of Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia after both drivers avenged their Saturday penalty heartbreaks with a victory on their respective Sunday races to strengthen their position in the title race.
Gianmarco Ercoli and Tobias Dauenhauer were not destined to win last Saturday after their respective penalties ended their chances of winning, but they were ultimately destined to win on Sunday after both Ercoli and Dauenhauer bounced back to the top with their victories in Sunday’s running of Fracasso NASCAR GP Rijeka.
After a short warm-up session to kick off Sunday’s activities, the second EuroNASCAR 2 race began on 10:30 AM with all 21 starters from the previous race being able to take the start in the Sunday race.
Dauenhauer, who started on pole once again thanks to his fastest lap in the Saturday race, made a great start and was able to open up a significant gap to his teammate Martin Doubek on the run to the first set of corners.
The start proved to be the decisive factor for Dauenhauer as no one was able to caught up to the German driver over the course of the 14-lap race, eventually winning with a margin of 7.791 seconds over Doubek who claimed his second podium finish of the weekend.
“I’m feeling so happy now,” said Dauenhauer in the Victory Lane. “Today is a good day for us, yesterday as you said we have a technical issue at the rear wheel so we have to change it on the starting grid.”
“We got caught working on the grid, we got a penalty and unfortunately we finished P6 but today all went perfect. The car is still fine, we’re leading the whole race and thanks to the whole team. They keep their focus, the car was great and I’m just happy now.”
Behind the Hendriks duo, Simon Pilate won a fantastic battle with Vladimiros Tziortzis for the final podium position as both drivers fought each other very hard throughout the race. Tziortzis was able to get the jump on Pilate at the start but Pilate got the inside line through Turns 3 and 4, allowing Pilate to get past the Academy Motorsport driver at Turn 5 in the opening lap.
Despite Tziortzis’ best efforts, which saw him claw back a one and a half second deficit following an off-track excursion in the short chute between Turns 15 and 16 on lap 3, he was not able to get past the Belgian driver as Pilate brings home the No. 66 DF1 Camaro in third for his first podium finish since Brands Hatch.
Justin Kunz ran a quiet race on his way to a Top-5 finish ahead of teammate Leevi Lintukanto, who bounced back to 6th after a tough first race for the Finnish driver. Naveh Talor won a spectatular three-way battle between himself, Melvin de Groot, and Gil Linster to claim 7th ahead of the two Benelux drivers, although de Groot would still bring home another win in the Legend Trophy with his 8th place finish on Race 2.
Francesco Garisto completes the Top-10 in his Shadow as numerous top contenders experienced a tough time in Race 2. Alberto Panebianco, who finished 4th on Saturday, was only able to finish in 11th while Brands Hatch race winner Advait Deodhar was only able to finish in 14th after he struggled with his car all-race long, dropping down 6 places from his initial starting grid position in the process.
Paolo Valeri was the sole retirement from the race after a last-lap tangle with Miguel Gomes at Turn 15 resulted in a spin to the gravel trap and he was not able to bring the No. 8 Vict Camaro out of the gravel trap. Despite this incident and a 10-second time penalty for leaving the start formation too early, he was still classified ahead of Eric Quintal in the final results.
Finishing ahead of Valeri and Quintal is Alina Loibnegger, who once again claimed the win in Lady Trophy by default.
Full EuroNASCAR 2 Race 2 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||1||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||14||21:00.470|
|2.||2||Martin Doubek (7)||14||+ 7.791|
|3.||4||Simon Pilate (66)||14||+ 11.117|
|4.||3||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||14||+ 11.425|
|5.||5||Justin Kunz (22)||14||+ 14.394|
|6.||6||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||14||+ 20.663|
|7.||11||Naveh Talor (90)||14||+ 29.284|
|8.||9||Melvin de Groot (69)||14||+ 29.548|
|9.||10||Gil Linster (77)||14||+ 29.646|
|10.||13||Francesco Garisto (42)||14||+ 32.835|
|11.||7||Alberto Panebianco (89)||14||+ 35.357|
|12.||12||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||14||+ 35.852|
|13.||14||Leonardo Colavita (9)||14||+ 37.676|
|14.||8||Advait Deodhar (56)||14||+ 38.395|
|15.||15||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||14||+ 40.765|
|16.||17||Thomas Krasonis (2)||14||+ 42.413|
|17.||16||Max Lanza (88)||14||+ 52.136|
|18.||18||Miguel Gomes (46)||14||+ 57.059|
|19.||20||Alina Loibnegger (12)||14||+ 1:37.642|
|20.||19||Paolo Valeri (8)||13||DNF (Collision)1|
|21.||21||Eric Quintal (64)||13||+ 1 Lap|
1 Paolo Valeri received a 10-second time penalty for leaving the start formation row before the start of the race.
The final race of the weekend began at approximately 2:45 PM local time as 23 drivers take the green flag for the second EuroNASCAR PRO race at Automotodrom Grobnik. This time, Loris Hezemans was able to defend his lead on the run to the first set of corners and held the lead for the opening lap, although the lead wouldn’t last long as Ercoli was able to get past the championship leader at Turns 3 and 4 on the following lap.
Alon Day, who started third, also sniffed an opportunity to get past Hezemans as both driver touched wheels at Turn 5, sending Hezemans’ Ford into a long slide. More contact between the pair of them followed at the next corner before Hezemans’ car went loose at Turn 7, sending the Dutchman for a long trip to the gravel and grass that dropped him down to 9th place.
As Hezemans tumbled down the order, Jacques Villeneuve climbs himself up to third place as he now finds himself leading a train of cars that is chasing the leading CAAL Racing duo. JV, Lucas Lasserre, and Vittorio Ghirelli quickly broke themselves away from the pack while Hezemans fought his way past Francesco Sini, Marc Goossens, and Giorgio Maggi – who retired early due to power steering and tire issues – to climb his way up to 6th place on the next few laps.
Ercoli and Day briefly enjoyed a three-second lead toward the chasing pack, but it wouldn’t last long as within three laps the chasing pack of JV, Lasserre, Ghirelli, and Hezemans caught up to the leading duo to create a six-car battle for the lead. JV then muscled his way past Day at Turn 16 on lap 8, a move that unsettled Day as he slids all the way to down 6th place within the space of just 7 corners.
While Henri Tuomaala, Dario Caso, and Patrick Lemarie were forced to make an unscheduled stop to the pits due to mechanical issues, the battle for the lead still rages on as it turned to a 5-car battle after Alon Day lost sight of the leading pack. Despite Villeneuve’s best efforts, Ercoli fought as hard as he can to maintain his lead as the battle for the lead would take a dramatic turn on lap 16.
As the field races through the tricky Turn 15 for the penultimate time, Lasserre made contact with JV’s car and aggressively pushed the Canadian to a spin in the gravel trap. JV was able to get himself out of the gravel trap but he retired not long after while Lasserre unsurprisingly gets himself a hefty 30-second time penalty that will be applied post-race.
The contact between JV and Lasserre was exactly what Ercoli needed as he surges his way cleanly to score his first win of the season, the third of his career and his first win since the second Vallelunga race in 2020.
“It’s been a very good job,” said Ercoli in the Victory Lane. “Yesterday I didn’t get the victory but I think it’s important for the championship. For me the best goal was to finish first and second for CAAL Racing but the race is very difficult. It’s a fantastic job, I’m very happy and now I’m waiting for the other races.”
Ghirelli and Hezemans would cross the line in second and third place on the road, but Ghirelli was hit with a 5-second time penalty post-race for avoidable contact with Lasserre in the aftermath of the JV-Lasserre incident. The penalty would ultimately promote Hezemans up to second while Alon Day was able to capitalize from it to gain a third-place finish in the final results.
Ghirelli drops down to fourth ahead of Francesco Sini, who finally scored his first on-track finish of the year with a spectacular 5th place finish for the Solaris driver. Goossens, Nicolo Rocca, Romain Iannetta, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, and Ulysse Delsaux completes the Top-10.
Lasserre’s 30-second penalty would ultimately drop him all the way down to 11th place, classifying himself ahead of Fabrizio Armetta as the driver of the Red Attack Camaro brings home a double victory in the Challenger Trophy.
Elsewhere, the sole Shadow of Bernardo Manfré was hit with a 10-second time penalty after Manfre left the start formation line too early, although it wouldn’t affect his position in the final results nor would it affect the bonus points he received for most positions gained.
Full EuroNASCAR PRO Race 2 Result
|POS||GRID||DRIVER||LAPS||TIME / GAP|
|1.||2||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||17||25:42.342|
|2.||1||Loris Hezemans (7)||17||+ 1.349|
|3.||3||Alon Day (88)||17||+ 5.366|
|4.||4||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||17||+ 5.6441|
|5.||10||Francesco Sini (12)||17||+ 20.385|
|6.||7||Marc Goossens (77)||17||+ 20.639|
|7.||9||Nicolò Rocca (22)||17||+ 20.867|
|8.||11||Romain Iannetta (46)||17||+ 21.089|
|9.||15||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||17||+ 21.709|
|10.||14||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||17||+ 31.399|
|11.||8||Lucas Lasserre (64)||17||+ 31.8692|
|12.||18||Fabrizio Armetta (55)||17||+ 33.886|
|13.||17||Leonardo Colavita (9)||17||+ 34.087|
|14.||13||Davide Dallara (89)||17||+ 37.830|
|15.||21||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||17||+ 38.338|
|16.||23||Bernardo Manfré (17)||17||+ 1:20.5403|
|17.||6||Jacques Villeneuve (5)||16||DNF (Collision Damage)|
|18.||22||Federico Monti (2)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|19.||20||Nicolò Gabossi (90)||16||+ 1 Lap|
|20.||16||Henri Tuomaala (23)||15||+ 2 Laps|
|21.||12||Patrick Lemarié (66)||10||DNF (Mechanical)|
|22.||19||Dario Caso (8)||10||DNF (Mechanical)|
|23.||5||Giorgio Maggi (18)||2||DNF (Power Steering + Tire)|
1 Vittorio Ghirelli received a 5-second time penalty for avoidable collision with Lucas Lasserre.
2 Lucas Lasserre received a 30-second time penalty for avoidable collision with Jacques Villeneuve.
3 Bernardo Manfré received a 10-second time penalty for leaving the start formation row before the start of the race.
Loris Hezemans would continue to lead the championship in the EuroNASCAR PRO division as he extends his lead to teammate Ghirelli to 25 points at the conclusion of Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia.
Gianmarco Ercoli stays in third with 262 points as he opens up a bigger lead over Nicolo Rocca in fourth place. Alon Day’s first double finish of the year allowed him to climb up to fifth place with 234 points with Lucas Lasserre sitting right behind the three-time champion in sixth by virtue of losing the tiebreaker to the three-time champion.
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen drops down to 7th after a relatively silent weekend for him as Marc Goossens and Ulysse Delsaux climbs up to 8th and 9th place respectively, beating Giorgio Maggi who drops down to 10th in the standings following his double DNF at Rijeka.
Evgeny Sokolovsky, sitting in 11th with 176 points, regains the lead in Challenger Trophy but only just as he currently only have an advantage of just a single point over Henri Tuomaala. Meanwhile, Frederic Gabillon’s non-participation allowed Jacques Villeneuve to usurp the Frenchman’s position as the highest-placed part-time driver as the Canadian climbs up to 13th in the current standings.
In EuroNASCAR 2, Tobias Dauenhauer also continues to lead the championship but his Race 1 penalty meant that Martin Doubek – who scored a win and a second at Rijeka – was able to cut the gap down from 37 points to just 33 points.
Vladimiros Tziortzis stays in third with 252 points as Alberto Panebianco moves up to 4th in the battle for “best of the rest”, currently sitting just one point ahead of Advait Deodhar who slips down to 5th place.
Justin Kunz’s double Top-5 finish allowed him to climb up to 6th place in the standings with 229 points, just one point ahead of DF1 teammate Pilate and Shadow’s Francesco Garisto who are now tied with 228 points on their name. Naveh Talor and Pierluigi Veronesi completes the Top-10 in the current standings.
Max Lanza would maintain his lead in Legend Trophy as Alina Loibnegger now climbs up to the top of the Lady Trophy sub-classifications. Unfortunately for Loibnegger, with her now being subjected to dropped points it is likely that she won’t maintain the lead for long as Arianna Casoli would be allowed to gain full championship points should she participated at Zolder in two weeks time.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.