With championship leader Loris Hezemans opting to skip this week’s NASCAR GP Belgium in favor of racing at the Charlotte Roval, we will be looking at the championship table to see how much points can the full-time drivers gain this week with dropped points in place for Zolder.
This week’s NASCAR GP Belgium will have a slightly different atmosphere as Loris Hezemans has opted to skip the round at Zolder in favor of racing in the United States once more following Tuesday’s confirmation that the Dutchman will be competing for a Reaume Brothers-prepared, MBM Motorsports-entered Toyota at the Charlotte Roval.
Hezemans’ move might seem controversial given that the EuroNASCAR championship leader will be throwing his championship chances away on paper, but it isn’t the case as a caveat in the rules this year allowed him to gain the opportunity to do so: Dropped points.
The dropped points caveat was known since May when it was announced that only the drivers’ best 10 results from the first 12 races – along with all results from the double-points awarding final round – will count towards a drivers’ total in the Drivers Championship. The number is subsequently readjusted following the cancellation of Hockenheim’s round, leaving only a driver’s best 8 results from the first 10 races being counted towards the standings.
It was during the first 8 races of the season that Hezemans delivered one of the most impressive streak of performances in EuroNASCAR history, scoring 4 wins and a total of 7 second-place finishes in those 8 races to put himself on top of the standings with 294 points.
With only one finish outside of the Top 2, a comfortable gap of 25 points to second-place driver Vittorio Ghirelli and his rivals subjected to dropped points, we will be answering a question that has been brought up after the confirmation of Hezemans’ Roval participation on Tuesday:
“How far behind are Hezemans’ rivals in the standings once dropped points are subjected to them?”
According to the calculations that we have made, only two drivers – Ghirelli and Gianmarco Ercoli – would have a mathematical chance of beating Hezemans’ points haul once they were subjected to dropped points. Their chances of being able to do so would be extremely slim, however, as explained below.
For Ghirelli’s case, the maximum amount of points that he can get from just on-track finishing results is only 18 points, achievable by winning both races and dropping the two 6th place finishes – one from Valencia, one from Brands Hatch – that he have earned so far.
However, if Ghirelli was able to claim the most positions gained bonus points in both races, he would score a maximum possible total of 26 points – one more point than his current gap to Hezemans. Unfortunately for Ghirelli, there is a problem.
To be able to claim the most positions gained points, he have to do what the name of the point itself implies – Gain the most positions from your starting position during a race. Front-runners like Ghirelli historically have had a tough time of achieving this because of their strong likelihood to start from the front of the field, meaning less chances for them to overtake enough drivers and take advantage of retirements from the other drivers.
To make things even tougher, drivers are subjected to a grid shake-up in Race 2 courtesy of the fastest lap ordering, meaning that they likely won’t start from whatever grid position that they’re starting from in Race 1 – especially if they performed strongly in Race 1 after being forced to start from the back of the grid in that race.
The results have showed that only one race winner – Lasse Sørensen – has been able to score both a win and the positions gained points in the same race, courtesy of his famous last-to-first drive at Elite 2’s first race at Brands Hatch in 2019. No one has been able to achieve that feat more than once, let alone twice in the same race weekend.
As a result, while the mathematical possibility is still there for Ghirelli, the chances of him being able to do so would be extraordinarily slim as he would have to more-or-less achieve the “impossible” at Zolder.
The same scenario applies to Ercoli as without the positions gained points, Ercoli would only stand a chance to gain 28 points with a sweep by Zolder as he would then drop the 10th and 12th place finishing result that he got at Rijeka Race 1 and Most Race 2 respectively.
If Ercoli were to somehow gained the positions gained points on both races, then he would stand a chance to gain 36 points – four more than his current deficit to Hezemans in the standings.
Ercoli could, in theory, tie Hezemans’ points total of 294 if he wins both races and claim the most positions gained points in one of the races. Unfortunately for him, if he were to tie Hezemans’ points total then he still wouldn’t be able to claim the top spot in the standings as Ercoli would lost the best finish tiebreaker to Hezemans – 4 wins to 3, to be exact.
Given the circumstances, Ercoli must also achieve the “impossible” and hope Ghirelli were to have a slightly unlucky weekend if he wants to stand a chance to gain the top spot in the standings.
As for the rest of the field, they wouldn’t be able to score enough points even if they claimed the mathematical maximum amount of points that they can get with dropped points. Here’s the full list of how many points the drivers subjected to dropped points can gain this weekend, with a bracket section added in case a driver earned positions gained points on both races.
- Nicolò Rocca: A maximum possible of 24 points (32 with positions gained points) by dropping an 8th and a 10th, bringing his max possible points total to 273 (281).
- Alon Day: A maximum of 44 points (52) by dropping two 19th’s, bringing his points total to 278 (286).
- Lucas Lasserre: A maximum of 29 points (37) by dropping an 11th and a 12th, bringing his points total to 263 (271).
- Sebastiaan Bleekemolen: A maximum of 37 points (45) by dropping a 12th and a 19th, bringing his points total to 269 (277).
- Marc Goossens: A maximum of 33 points (41) by dropping an 11th and a 16th, bringing his points total to 259 (267).
- Ulysse Delsaux: A maximum of 32 points (40) by dropping two 13th’s, bringing his points total to 243 (251).
- Giorgio Maggi: A maximum of 53 points (61) by dropping a 23rd and a 24th, bringing his points total to 255 (263).
- Evgeny Sokolovsky: A maximum of 40 points (48) by dropping a 16th and an 18th, bringing his points total to 216 (224).
- Henri Tuomaala: A maximum of 49 points (57) by dropping a 20th and a 23rd, bringing his points total to 224 (232).
- Davide Dallara: A maximum of 52 points (60) by dropping a 22nd and a 24th, bringing his points total to 203 (211).
- Bernardo Manfrè: A maximum of 52 points (60) by dropping two 23rd’s, bringing his points total to 201 (209).
Based on this data, we can safely conclude that Hezemans can race at the Roval with the knowledge that his rivals would have a near-impossible chance to earn enough championship points to be able to steal the top spot in the standings this weekend.
However, this does mean that Hezemans – and Hendriks Motorsport’s No. 7 team – must perform at their best in the final round at Vallelunga as not only all drivers would receive all championship points they scored that weekend, double championship points are also awarded at Vallelunga, meaning that any little slip-up would have a much larger implications to the title race.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.