Alon Day and Tobias Dauenhauer starts off their participation in the 2021 edition of NASCAR GP Belgium on a high note after both driver claimed the top spot in Friday’s Practice, leading both Practice sessions in the process.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series started off their regular season finale at Zolder with the traditional Friday Practice sessions which would ultimately saw Alon Day and Tobias Dauenhauer claimed the top spot in the combined Practice timesheets for EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 respectively, leading both sessions in the process.
In the EuroNASCAR PRO Practice sessions, Day came out on top with a best lap time of 1:37.463 as he aims to try gain as many points as possible during Hezemans’ absence. Despite this, he had to fend off a strong challenge from his former teammate Stienes Longin, who is returning to EuroNASCAR for the first time since the Valencia doubleheader last year.
Stienes would end the day in second with a best lap time of 1:37.479, just 0.016 seconds behind Day. Fellow championship contender Gianmarco Ercoli was the last driver to set a sub-1:38 lap time throughout Friday, setting a time of 1:37.918 to put himself in third behind Day and Stienes.
Vittorio Ghirelli came home fourth in the combined timesheets while Marc Goossens – now driving CAAL’s No. 56 Ford after he made a last-minute team switch – ends his day fifth to put all three CAAL cars in the Top 5 positions.
Lucas Lasserre just misses out on the Top 5 positions in sixth ahead of Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Giorgio Maggi while Patrick Lemarie enjoyed a fine outing in his first ride for Academy Motorsport’s No. 5 team. Lemarie, who is replacing Jacques Villeneuve on the No. 5 team, would finish 9th in the combined timesheets with a best lap time of 1:38.673.
Nicolo Rocca completes the Top 10 while teammate Henri Tuomaala finished the day as the best Challenger Trophy driver in 12th. Finishing right behind Tuomaala is Canal+ analyst Pierre Combot, who finished Friday’s Practice sessions in 13th place on his EuroNASCAR debut for Marko Stipp Motorsport.
Issues were encountered by Martin Doubek, who failed to set a lap time due to mechanical issues while Shadow’s Bernardo Manfre didn’t set a lap time on either session.
EuroNASCAR PRO Combined Practice Times
|RANK||DRIVER||FP1 TIME||FP2 TIME|
|1.||Alon Day (88)||1:37.463||1:37.463|
|2.||Stienes Longin (11)||1:37.805||1:37.479|
|3.||Gianmarco Ercoli (54)||1:38.266||1:37.918|
|4.||Vittorio Ghirelli (50)||1:38.914||1:38.069|
|5.||Marc Goossens (56)||1:38.416||1:38.091|
|6.||Lucas Lasserre (64)||1:38.363||1:38.218|
|7.||Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (69)||1:38.331||1:38.756|
|8.||Giorgio Maggi (18)||1:39.364||1:38.666|
|9.||Patrick Lemarie (5)||1:39.257||1:38.673|
|10.||Nicolò Rocca (22)||1:39.265||1:38.776|
|11.||Francesco Sini (12)||1:40.983||1:39.033|
|12.||Henri Tuomaala (23)||1:40.404||1:39.233|
|13.||Pierre Combot (46)||1:40.528||1:39.289|
|14.||Ulysse Delsaux (10)||1:40.050||1:39.318|
|15.||Simon Pilate (66)||1:40.418||1:39.450|
|16.||Leonardo Colavita (9)||1:40.589||1:39.577|
|17.||Davide Dallara (89)||1:39.655||1:39.661|
|18.||Martin Doubek (7)||1:39.911||No Time|
|19.||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||1:40.767||1:40.473|
|20.||Dario Caso (8)||1:41.658||1:40.766|
|21.||Ian Eric Waden (44)||1:43.837||1:42.079|
|22.||Nicolo Gabossi (90)||1:42.851||1:42.221|
|23.||Federico Monti (2)||1:44.013||1:43.431|
|24.||Bernardo Manfre (17)||No Time||No Time|
Despite looking likely to stay on top of the standings at the end of the weekend thanks to the dropped points, Tobias Dauenhauer continued to stamp his domination on the EuroNASCAR 2 field as he became the only EN2 driver to set a sub-1:39 lap time during Friday to put himself on top of the combined timesheets.
Advait Deodhar was the closest driver to Dauenhauer on Friday, finishing in second with a best lap time of 1:39.225 despite not setting a lap time in FP1 due to clutch issues. Finishing behind Deodhar is Team Bleekemolen’s replacement driver Melvin de Groot, who enjoyed Team Bleekemolen’s best outing in the junior class as of yet.
Academy’s Vladimiros Tziortzis and Shadow’s Francesco Garisto completes the Top 5 ahead of Naveh Talor, who once again performed strongly in Not Only Motorsport’s No. 90 Camaro.
Simon Pilate – who will be doing the double duty in the No. 66 Camaro this weekend – finished the day in 7th ahead of fellow double duty driver Evgeny Sokolovsky, who was the fastest of the Legend Trophy drivers. Max Lanza and Leonardo Colavita completes the Top 10.
More than a few drivers experienced mechanical issues on their car that prevented them from making a competitive lap time on Friday. Apart from Deodhar, Alina Loibnegger also failed to set a lap time in FP1 while Eric Quintal failed to set a lap time in FP2.
On the other hand, Martin Doubek didn’t even set a lap time on either session as the mechanical problems suffered by the No. 7 Orion Ford just after ENPRO’s FP1 session proved to be too much for the Hendriks team to fix for the day.
EuroNASCAR 2 Combined Practice Times
|RANK||DRIVER||FP1 TIME||FP2 TIME|
|1.||Tobias Dauenhauer (50)||1:38.845||1:39.092|
|2.||Advait Deodhar (56)||No Time||1:39.225|
|3.||Melvin de Groot (69)||1:39.535||1:40.741|
|4.||Vladimiros Tziortzis (1)||1:39.575||1:39.894|
|5.||Francesco Garisto (42)||1:40.203||1:39.596|
|6.||Naveh Talor (90)||1:39.707||1:40.564|
|7.||Simon Pilate (66)||1:40.520||1:39.732|
|8.||Evgeny Sokolovsky (48)||1:40.861||1:40.020|
|9.||Max Lanza (88)||1:40.039||1:40.762|
|10.||Leonardo Colavita (9)||1:40.048||1:40.806|
|11.||Justin Kunz (22)||1:40.450||1:40.095|
|12.||Alberto Panebianco (89)||1:40.192||1:40.122|
|13.||Leevi Lintukanto (23)||1:41.635||1:40.202|
|14.||Pierluigi Veronesi (27)||1:40.557||1:40.353|
|15.||Gil Linster (77)||1:40.365||1:42.120|
|16.||Pol van Pollaert (11)||1:41.021||1:41.594|
|17.||Thomas Krasonis (2)||1:43.060||1:41.461|
|18.||Ian Eric Wadén (44)||1:43.040||1:41.846|
|19.||Miguel Gomes (46)||1:42.776||1:41.886|
|20.||Paolo Valeri (8)||1:42.731||1:44.070|
|21.||Eric Quintal (64)||1:46.691||No Time|
|22.||Alina Loibnegger (12)||No Time||1:47.343|
|23.||Arianna Casoli (54)||1:50.314||1:50.694|
|24.||Martin Doubek (7)||No Time||No Time|
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.