Lasse Soerensen and Martin Doubek convinced on Saturday in Zolder with flag-to-flag victories – Loris Hezemans and Tobias Dauenhauer had to accept setbacks
In the second round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) in Zolder, Belgium, Lasse Soerensen (DF1-Racing) from Denmark and the Czech Martin Doubek (Hendriks Motorsport), who recovered from a COVID-19 infection, celebrated unchallenged flag-to-flag victories in the EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 championship. Both the double winner from Vallelunga, Tobias Dauenhauer, and his team mate Loris Hezemans (both Hendriks Motorsport) struggled with issues.
EuroNASCAR PRO classification
Sierensen secured his first EuroNASCAR PRO pole position on Saturday morning, while Stienes Longin (PK Carsport) took the starting position next to the Dane. The race started in pouring rain behind the safety car, which is why the first race laps were driven under yellow flags.
After the green flag fell, Soerensen and Longin immediately pulled away from the field. The local hero Longin put the DF1 driver under a lot of pressure, but when braking for the Jacky Ickx chicane before the start-finish straight he hit the green and ended up in a spin.
This forced him to drive through the pit lane, which washed him back to the end of the field. In his brilliant race to catch up, which ultimately put him in eleventh place, Longin set the fastest lap time, which results in the pole position in Sunday’s race for him.
Soerensen quickly extended his lead, but behind him there were lively duels for the positions. Mark Goossens (CAAL Racing), who started from sixth place, used all his experience to fight his way up to second place.
Third place went to PK Carsport newcomer and two-time champion Alon Day. The Israeli was cautious in the difficult weather conditions with the aim of scoring as many points as possible. When the rain subsided, he became increasingly faster and put his Chevrolet Camaro in third position.
However, Soerensen, last year’s EuroNASCAR 2 champion, was the undisputed winner. Not only did he celebrate his first victory in the EuroNASCAR PRO category, but for the first time since 2014, he drove a DF1 Racing car in the PRO category to Victory Lane. He also secured the win in the Junior Trophy.
“It was a great race but a tough one with the wet conditions here,” said Soerensen. “It was really all about keeping the car at the track and as soon I was gone at the front I tried to manage the gap and the damp track. The car was really good, I have to thank DF1 Racing for that and I’m really happy that I’ve won my first ever EuroNASCAR PRO race here at Circuit Zolder.”
Hezemans, on the other hand, was very unlucky: The Dutchman had an accident in qualifying due to a technical problem and injured his hand slightly. His attempt to fight his way to the front was unfortunately not crowned with success, as he overtook a competitor at the start before the start-finish line and was therefore given a penalty.
So Hezemans finally finished 19th – but secured sixth place on the grid for Sunday’s race thanks to a fast lap time.
The Junior Trophy podium was completed by Gianmarco Ercoli and Thomas Ferrando (both CAAL Racing). The winner of the Challenger Trophy was Martin Doubek (Hendriks Motorsport) ahead of Davide Dallara (Not Only Motorsport) and Mauro Trione (Caal Racing).
EuroNASCAR 2 classification
The rain had subsided at the start of the EuroNASCAR 2 race when pole setter Doubek (Hendriks Motorsport) led the field behind the safety car on the formation lap. Behind him started the double winner from Vallelunga, the young German Tobias Dauenhauer (Hendriks Motorsport). However, as the track was still very wet, the EuroNASCAR 2 race was also declared a “wet race” by the race management and therefore started behind the safety car.
Doubek immediately turned his starting position into a lead and already in the third croner he gained a considerable lead. The young Czech continued to set off a veritable firework display during the rest of the race, and at the finish had a lead of over ten seconds over the runner-up Alessandro Brigatti (Feed Vict Racing). He also secured the pole position for Sunday’s race with the fastest lap.
“Finally! I’m so happy to be in Victory Lane here at Circuit Zolder,” said 25-year-old Doubek. “It was also my first time starting from Pole Position and it’s even more remarkable as it was in wet conditions. I’m really happy to grab my first victory here. Tomorrow we will have to see what the conditions are, but I will start again from the pole, so I hope to make it two wins in a row.”
Tobias Dauenhauer, however, struggled with the balance of his car and fell back place by place. In the end it was only enough for Dauenhauer to finish tenth, who had travelled to Zolder as the leader of the standings after his double victory in Vallelunga.
Apart from Doubek’s impressive start-finish victory, the race was characterized by several battles. Second position was fiercely contested for several laps before Brigatti beat his compatriot Nicholas Risitano (Solaris Motorsport) on lap ten.
Not only Risitano, but also other drivers had to struggle with the overheating of the rain tires on the drying track. Guillaume Dumarey (PK Carsport) was fast in the rain, but had to pay tribute to the tires on the drying track. In the end, the Belgian finished fourth.
The young American Julia Landauer showed her potential for the first time after a rather mixed weekend in Vallelunga and fought her way from ninth place on the grid to fifth place. This also secured her victories in the Lady Trophy ahead of Arianna Casoli (Caal Racing) and Rookie Trophy.
Francesco Garisto (Shadow Racing Cars by 42 Racing) finished second in the Rookie Trophy, ahead of Pol Van Pollaert in the service of PK Carsport. The Legends Trophy was won by Yevgen Sokolovskiy (Marko Stipp Motorsport). He finished ahead of Eric Quintal (MIshumotors) and Casoli.
Very unlucky were Simon Pilate (Feed Vict Racing) and the DF1-Racing drivers Andreas Jochimsen and Andre Castro. Pilate retired early in the race after a collision with Jochimsen in a promising position through no fault of his own. This collision earned Jochimsen a drive-through penalty and in the end he only finished eleventh.
Even worse was his team mate Castro, who not only had to skip qualifying in the morning due to health problems, but was also unable to start the race.