Our second Race Preview for NASCAR GP Czech Republic at Autodrom Most takes a look at what can we expect from the title challengers, Junior Trophy and Challenger Trophy in EuroNASCAR PRO.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is ready to return to action this week for the fourth round of the 2022 season, the NASCAR GP Czech Republic at Autodrom Most.
World of EuroNASCAR’s Race Preview for the NASCAR GP Czech Republic is divided into three parts as Part 2 will be focused on what we can expect from the EuroNASCAR PRO field. We have discussed the changes in the Entry List on Part 1 and a preview for the EuroNASCAR 2 division will arrive on the upcoming Part 3.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Five drivers are separated by just 13 points at the top of the EuroNASCAR PRO table and with Most being the last round where the majority of drivers would earn full championship points before they were subjected to the “Best 8 of 10 in regular season” rule that was in place, it will be a tense moment for the main championship contenders as they all would want to maximize their points haul this week.
PK Carsport’s Alon Day would enter as the championship leader following his dominant performance at Vallelunga. The Israeli became the first driver to score 30 wins in EuroNASCAR after his win in Race 1 at Vallelunga and he certainly will be looking to extend that record this week.
There is, however, one problem for Day: His poor track record at Most. While Day did win the dry-to-wet race at Most last year, all of the other races at Most that Day has participated in have resulted in a retirement. Failure to cross the finish line again on either of the races this week would be a huge blow to Day’s championship hopes regardless of his “joker” status at Zolder.
Nicolò Rocca will be looking to use Most as an opportunity to claw back some of the deficit that he had following the retirement at his home race. Rocca, who is now 12 points behind Day in the standings, knows how to win at Most and a strong finish here will help put Rocca back on the forefront of the title race.
Tied on points with Rocca in the standings currently is the home crowd favorite Martin Doubek, who has quietly placed himself as Hendriks’ lead title challenger after Tobias Dauenhauer was sidelined with sponsorship issues.
Doubek has yet to win this year, but he has scored his first top class podium at Brands Hatch and has been consistently getting Top-5 finishes in the first half of the season. A victory in front of his fans would be the best possible scenario for Doubek to establish himself as one of the drivers to watch in the championship battle.
Right behind Doubek are two drivers that have also established themselves as strong challengers for the title: Alexander Graff and Giorgio Maggi. Graff has taken his career to a new step through his performances so far and with the full support of Lucas Lasserre and the SpeedHouse team, he would have a solid foundation to build on his win at Brands Hatch and 4 other Top-5 finishes in the second half of the season.
Giorgio Maggi’s season started off slow due to a pre-season testing crash and two finishes outside of the Top-5 at Valencia, but a run of three consecutive podiums at Brands Hatch and Vallelunga has allowed Maggi to find his way back to the title race.
Maggi’s move away from Hendriks Motorsport to the returning Race Art Technology team has been a move that is considered to be beneficial for the current Junior Trophy leader’s future and it seems like it will only be a matter of time before Maggi finally wins his first race in the top EuroNASCAR PRO class.
Series veterans Romain Iannetta and Frédéric Gabillon are currently sitting on the outside of the main title race, 26 and 38 points down on Alon Day respectively. The pace to fight at the top has been there for both drivers, but they would need to step up their game on the track if they want to be considered as one of the top championship contenders in 2022.
As for Gianmarco Ercoli, he would need lady luck to mend their situation with him as his three finishes outside of the Top-20 meant that it’s guaranteed that one of those finishes will be counted to his final points total.
Alon Day’s campaign last year has shown that not being able to get rid of some of those retirements thanks to the limited “joker” opportunities would significantly hamper a driver’s title chances and for a driver in Ercoli’s caliber, another retirement in the second half of the season could effectively end his title chances before the final showdown at Rijeka.
In the battle of the sub-classification trophies, Maggi is expected to continue his domination at the Junior Trophy given that he has double the points of Thomas Krasonis, his closest challenger in the Junior Trophy on the standings.
Liam Hezemans will continue to gain some important on-track experience as he will once again do the double duty on the No. 50 Hezeberg Systems Ford Mustang while Leonardo Colavita returns to the PRO field after Double T hired Thomas Ferrando for an one-off appearance at Vallelunga.
Challenger Trophy is expected to continue its unpredictability among its top drivers as Henri Tuomaala, Yevgen Sokolovskiy, and Fabrizio Armetta all entered Most after they secured a Top-10 finish in the previous race at Vallelunga.
Tuomaala, Sokolovsky, Armetta and Max Lanza has proven that they are capable of running with the series’ best from the Top-10 finishes that they have achieved in 2022 and with Most being a track that have seen Challenger Trophy drivers finish in the Top-10 before, expect things to get heated up in the sub-classification for the bronze-graded drivers in ENPRO.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric.