Max Lanza was “very proud” of the results that he had achieved on his EuroNASCAR PRO debut season in 2022 despite admitting that the crash in the final race at Rijeka was not the way he would like to end his season.

Max Lanza entered the 2022 EuroNASCAR Finals at Croatia’s Automotodrom Grobnik with a chance of winning the Challenger Trophy after the results at Zolder placed him on the top of the Challenger Trophy leaderboards alongside The Club Motorsport’s Fabrizio Armetta, who is tied on points with his fellow countryman.

Lanza’s pursuit for the Challenger Trophy did not start on a good note, however, as the driver of the No. 88 CAAL Racing Chevrolet was only able to finish Friday’s Practice sessions in 21st place on the combined timesheets. 

Saturday morning’s Qualifying session did not produce a better result as he was only able to qualify in 21st place, but a strong performance in the race allowed Lanza to finish on the Challenger Trophy podium with a 14th place overall finish.

Unfortunately for Lanza, the Sunday race took a turn for the worse. Racing in the middle of the pack on the first restart after the Safety Car was called due to a crash involving Jonne Rautjarvi, Lanza ran wide on the left-hand kink at Turn 16 and was unable to avoid the tire barriers that had been placed on the next turn to discourage corner cutting attempts.

The crash immediately took Lanza out of the race and Lanza, understandably, expressed his frustrations to the stewards after he was able to get out of his wrecked Chevrolet. He was eventually classified in 21st position, the second retirement in what turned out to be a highly attritional race.

“For sure this is not the end of the season we hoped for,” commented Lanza about the crash. “I did not deserve it, the team did not deserve it. All of my fans, partners and supporters did not deserve this kind of Final. But, sometimes, this is racing.”

The crash in the final race of the season, coupled with a Top-10 result for his closest Challenger Trophy rivals, meant that Lanza finished the year in fourth place on the Challenger Trophy standings and 17th in the overall standings. Despite this setback, Lanza remains proud of what he had achieved on his debut season in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ top division.

“Anyway, I’m very proud about my 2022, it did not end as expected but we had great races and weekends!” said Lanza. “I’m thinking of the 29 positions I recovered in Valencia, overtakes by overtakes, or the overall Top 6 finish conquered in Most.”

“We were very competitive all season long, we grabbed 4 Top-10’s and we were in the title contention until the end of the season. We arrived here in Grobnik first in the standings after an impressive comeback. We missed just the last step, but this was definitely a very solid season. Now we take some days off for a little bit of vacation in order to recharge ourselves and prepare for a memorable 2023!”

Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.

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