Giorgio Maggi was “very happy” with what he achieved at American SpeedFest 9 after the Swiss driver returned to the podium for the first time in two years following a second place finish in the second race at Brands Hatch.
Race Art Technology’s Giorgio Maggi returns to the podium for the first time in nearly two years after the young Swiss driver finished second in the second EuroNASCAR PRO race at Brands Hatch’s American SpeedFest 9.
Maggi’s weekend started on Friday with the two Free Practice sessions to collect set-up data for his No. 18 Interconsulting Group Toyota Camry. He finished just outside of the Top-10 in the combined timesheets, logging 32 laps across both Practice sessions.
Maggi was then grouped in Group 2 for Saturday’s Qualifying, which was split into two groups due to the large grid size that EuroNASCAR had for American SpeedFest 9. Maggi’s time of 49.216 seconds was enough to place him in the Superpole session where he would qualify fifth with a time of 49.304, just 0.349 seconds behind pole sitter Nicolo Rocca.
“We went a little more aggressive with the rear axle because the new tires tend to understeer,” said Maggi in his post-race debrief. “In the end, it was a little too aggressive, which made the car very sensitive in corner entry. That’s why I also made a small mistake. It was still enough for a solid fifth place.”
The race that followed went relatively smoothly for Maggi. The Swiss driver was able to get a good start and defend his position in the initial start, but he lost fifth place on the restart to Martin Doubek after the race was neutralized due to Bernardo Manfre and Yevgen Sokolovsky’s collision at Paddock Hill Bend that left Manfre’s Shadow stranded on the gravel trap.
He then spent most of the race battling Doubek and Frederic Gabillon, eventually claiming back fifth place after Gabillon went wide at Graham Hill Bend late in the race. The fifth place finish allowed Maggi to secure a commanding victory at the Junior Trophy and his fastest lap time was enough to put him 7th on the grid for the Sunday race.
Sunday would prove to be better for the 24-year old driver. Having not gained a position initially, Maggi went into overdrive in the first restart period. He gained two positions in the first green flag lap and then gained two more in the next two laps to put himself in third place, just behind race leader Alon Day and Alexander Graff.
Maggi then benefitted from Day’s late drive-through penalty, allowing Maggi to score a second place finish. While he narrowly lost the win by just 0.225 seconds, it was Maggi’s first podium finish in EuroNASCAR since his maiden podium finish at Rijeka two years ago.
The second place finish was enough to give Maggi a sweep in the Junior Trophy sub-classifications. It also propelled him to sixth in the standings, an improvement of four positions from where he is after the season opening round at Valencia.
“At the beginning, I was stuck in seventh and couldn’t get past the car in front even though I was faster,” explained Maggi on his Sunday race performance. “I was on Graff at the end of the race, but since he was faster in turn 1, I couldn’t get past him.”
“I’m very happy with second place because my starting position was not ideal and Brands Hatch is not a track where it’s easy to overtake. I thank the team for a really strong car. We’re making steady progress and I’m sure we’ll be up front at Vallelunga as well.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric / Bart Dehaese.