Max Lanza returns to on-track competition in front of plenty of passionate fans on last week’s NASCAR GP Italy as he scores a podium finish in the Challenger Trophy that he dedicates to all the fans that came to Vallelunga.
Max Lanza returns to on-track competition in last week’s NASCAR GP Italy at Autodromo Vallelunga after he was sidelined due to ear infection in the previous round at Brands Hatch.
With the round at Vallelunga being his home race and his status as the teammate of popular YouTuber and EuroNASCAR 2 championship leader Alberto “Naska” Fontana, it’s no surprise that Lanza was put into the spotlight by the fans that visited the circuit.
“I don’t think there are proper words to describe what it means to race with this passionate public! There were fans everywhere, I wanted to achieve good results for them,” said Lanza on the impressive turnout that the Italian fans showcased at Vallelunga.
After finishing 11th and 13th in the two Practice sessions on Friday, problems in Saturday Qualifying meant that Lanza was only able to put his No. 88 Chevrolet in 19th place on the grid. Despite this, he was able to perform well in the first Race and secured a 15th place finish that gave him a podium finish in the Challenger Trophy.
“After the bad luck in quali when we were not able to make a flying lap, we had a great comeback in the race and we stepped up on the podium,” explained Lanza on his performance during the Saturday Qualifying and Race.
“I want to dedicate this result to everyone who trusts in me and supports me in my career, to all my friends and partners that allowed me to be here today, to the tons of fans on the grandstands in front of us.”
Sadly, the luck ran out for Lanza in the Sunday EuroNASCAR PRO race. Lanza, who was running in the middle of the pack, was involved in a crash on the first restart that was started by Sebastian Bleekemolen spinning out his countryman Liam Hezemans at the Tornantino hairpin.
As the cars started to collide in an accordion effect, Lanza rammed the No. 3 Camaro of Frédéric Gabillon – spinning the French veteran driver in the process – and the contact caused enough damage in the front end to force him into retirement immediately after. He was eventually classified in 25th place.
While the retirement does make it harder for Lanza on his quest to win the Challenger Trophy this year as he currently sits in 19th place on the overall standings with a 39 points deficit to Henri Tuomaala, the hunt is certainly not over just yet as he should be able to drop his two non-starting races at Brands Hatch providing that he starts the remaining races of the 2022 EuroNASCAR season.
“We lost some points in Brands Hatch and here in Race 2, we have some points to recover to fill the gap but I know we can arrive at the last round in Grobnik ready to fight for the title until the last corner of the last lap,” said Lanza on his outlook for the second half of the season.
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric.