Vladimiros Tziortzis became the first driver in series history to claim the pole position award in both classes after he set the fastest lap time in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2’s Qualifying sessions.
The NASCAR GP Spain at Circuit Ricardo Tormo continues its action today for the first Qualifying session of the year. As usual, Qualifying follows upon the action that had happened on Friday.
Qualifying itself saw Vladimiros Tziortzis etch his name in EuroNASCAR’s history books by becoming the first driver to set the pole position for the same round in both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2. The recap of Friday’s activity and Tziortzis’ record-breaking Qualifying can be checked in the sections below.
Victor Neumann’s maiden victory in Club Challenge, which we covered in this article, was followed by the Free Practice sessions. The format remains unchanged, with two sessions scheduled for both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2.
In EuroNASCAR PRO’s Practice sessions, it was leading title contender Gianmarco Ercoli who led the combined timesheets. The Italian set his fastest lap time of 1:42.269 in the first session, which was enough to fend off Team Bleekemolen’s Vittorio Ghirelli by 0.222 seconds.
Race Art Technology’s Giorgio Maggi came home third, making him the top Junior Trophy driver on Friday. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Liam Hezemans completed the top-5 with Vladimiros Tziortzis just missing out on the top-5 in his first EuroNASCAR PRO practice sessions.
Veterans Frédéric Gabillon, Marc Goossens, Anthony Kumpen and Fabrizio Armetta completed the top-10 with the latter ending up as the fastest in Challenger Trophy. Armetta led Kenko Miura and teammate Riccardo Romagnoli in the sub-classification for bronze and silver rated drivers in the top class.
ENPRO FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS | ENPRO FREE PRACTICE 2 RESULTS
In EuroNASCAR 2, the driver of the No. 50 Hendriks Toyota Camry Gil Linster gets the first strike after he set a time of 1:42.276 in the second session to lead the field, which only has 23 cars participating out of the 27 listed in the Entry List.
He leads Tziortzis and Alberto Naska, who dominated the first Practice session by 0.841 seconds with the help of a set of fresh slicks. Claudio Remigio Cappelli had an impressive day in the office as he led the Challenger Trophy field with his fourth place finish.
Paul Jouffreau is fifth ahead of Kenko Miura, who impressively finished second in the first session. Fabrizio Armetta, Martin Doubek, Riccardo Romagnoli and Patrick Schober complete the top-10, with the latter having an interesting Practice session.
Schober was forced to change engines twice in a span of a day, forcing the Spanish-born Austrian to be sidelined in the first Practice session. Jack Davidson leads the Rookie Trophy contenders ahead of the two Thomases: Toffel and Dombrowski.
EN2 FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS | EN2 FREE PRACTICE 2 RESULTS
Qualifying began on Saturday at 10:00 AM CEST when Max Lanza led the CAAL Racing trio out of the pits for the first EuroNASCAR PRO Qualifying session of the year. The 15-minute long session to determine who advances to the Superpole session was led by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, who set a lap time of 1:41.253.
Hendriks’ Liam Hezemans finished second with a gap of 0.185 seconds over his countryman. Friday’s fastest Ercoli could only finish third, ahead of Tziortzis – the only proper EuroNASCAR PRO rookie to advance to the Superpole session.
Ghirelli was able to tie Tziortzis’ time, but he ended up fifth because the Cypriot had set his time earlier in the session. Gabillon, Kumpen, Goossens, Maggi and the returning Lucas Lasserre completed the top-10.
Lasserre’s performance came at the expense of new teammate Ulysse Delsaux, who just missed out on Superpole in eleventh position. No driver from the Challenger Trophy advanced to the Superpole, with Romagnoli ending up as the best of the drivers eligible for the sub-classification honors.
The 59-year old Italian driver finished in twelfth place, two positions ahead of Challenger runner-up Advait Deodhar. Deodhar also ended up as the second-best driver in the ENPRO rookies, just behind teammate Tziortzis.
The session was stopped with less than a minute to go due to a crash involving Michaela Dorcikova, who failed to stop the No. 90 Bulgarian Team Camaro at Aspar and hit the tire barriers on the run-off.
Stefano Attianese and Christoph Lenz also had their own incidents, with Attianese running wide at Aspar while Lenz spun his car to the inside grass at the exit of Circuit Ricardo Tormo’s final corner, Adrian Campos.
At 10:22 AM CEST, the 10 drivers that advanced to the Superpole hit the track once again for the five-minute long shootout. Tziortzis was able to set a lap time of 1:41.804 in his first flying lap and that turned out to be enough for the pole position as no one was able to improve their time in their second flying laps.
“I can’t believe it, but the hard work paid off!” said Tziortzis after the session. “Until yesterday we suffered from many issues like understeer and oversteer, but in the last session we kept pushing and fighting as much as possible.”
“I think all of the team deserves it, but we keep pushing because in a few minutes I’m jumping back in for EuroNASCAR 2!”
Liam once again came second, as he missed out on his maiden ENPRO pole position by just 0.067 seconds. Also missing out on pole by less than a tenth of a second is Vittorio Ghirelli, who came home third with a gap of just 0.073 seconds away from Tziortzis.
Ercoli finished fourth ahead of Bleekemolen, while the rest of the field was completed by Maggi, Gabillon, Kumpen, Lasserre, and Goossens. Less than a second separated Tziortzis to Goossens, showcasing the competitiveness at the front of the pack in ENPRO.
The first Qualifying session for EuroNASCAR 2 began at 10:40 AM CEST with another CAAL Racing driver leading the field out to the track: Alberto Naska. Naska was the initial pace setter in the session, but he was soon usurped by Paul Jouffreau and Vladimiros Tziortzis as the two youngsters began to trade the top spot in the 20-minute long session.
In the end, it was another Qualifying session that ended with a Red Flag due to a crash involving Max Mason and Michael Bleekemolen. The front left of Michael’s No. 72 Camaro clipped the right side of Mason’s No. 58 Camaro, causing significant damage to both cars heading to the season opening races.
With the early stoppage, this meant that Vladimiros Tziortzis’ fastest time of 1:41.637 was enough to secure pole position. The result proved to be a historic one, as it meant that a driver secured pole position in both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 for the first time in the series history.
“We did what we did before, we still keep pushing and improving because everyone will keep improving from now on,” comments the 26-year old Cypriot driver. “Let’s get as many points as possible this afternoon! Having a good start in both races, clean race and consistency on a lap to lap basis will be the key.”
Paul Jouffreau maintains the second position, giving him the first front row start of his career. Alberto Naska would ultimately finish third ahead of Claudio Remigio Cappelli, who lost his actual fastest lap time due to track limit violations. Both Naska and Cappelli are extremely busy this weekend because both drivers raced in both EN2 and the newly-formed EuroLegend Cup.
Gil Linster was fifth ahead of Riccardo Romagnoli, the best of the Legend Trophy drivers. Patrick Schober and Martin Doubek finished seventh and eighth respectively. Michael Bleekemolen maintained ninth despite his crash and he was classified ahead of Dario Caso, who completed the Legend Trophy top-3 in tenth position.
Fastest of the Rookie Trophy drivers is Thomas Dombrowski, who finished eleventh in the purple-clad No. 66 Camaro. He finished ahead of Toffel and Davidson, who ended up thirteenth and fourteenth respectively.
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