Amazing battles for the fans: These drivers impressed with their skills in Valencia

Amazing battles for the fans: These drivers impressed with their skills in Valencia
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series opened the 2023 season at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo – Two duels stood out from all others

The opening round of the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) had everything a motorsports fan’s heart desires: great duels, lots of overtaking maneuvers, a few accidents and plenty of drama. Four drivers stood out in particular at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain: Vladimiros Tziortzis, Gianmarco Ercoli, Martin Doubek and Patrick Schober. They delivered duels in their races that have been given their own chapters in the NWES history books.

The first race of the 2023 season had it all. At the front, Liam Hezemans drove to his first EuroNASCAR PRO race win with a dominant performance. All eyes were on the battle for second place, however, as Ercoli and Tziortzis engaged in an extraordinary duel. The two drove door to door and exchanged a lot of paint, but always left their rivals enough space to keep the car under control.

The decision was not made until the 17th of 18 laps, when Tziortzis overtook Ercoli in the first corner. Earlier, the Cypriot in the service of Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport had dropped from pole position to third. Tziortzis finished second, with CAAL Racing driver Ercoli having to settle for third. Both were enthusiastic about the fairness and intensity of the duels after the race.

“I think all the drivers did their best and I congratulate Ercoli for third place and Hezemans for the win,” says Tziortzis after his second place in the first EuroNASCAR PRO race. “I’m looking forward to an interesting championship battle. What we showed was strong racing and the better driver won today. I thank Gianmarco for this great fight.”

“I was very fast in the first five laps, but then I had a problem with the car and I fully concentrated on defending second place,” Ercoli says. “It was the first race and we know that the season is very long. Now it’s important to score a lot of points. It was a clean duel and I am very happy with the race. It was really good.”

Next battle in EuroNASCAR 2

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Just a few hours after the EuroNASCAR PRO opener, Doubek and Schober showed a similarly intense duel in EuroNASCAR 2, with many moments right next to each other as the Czech and Austrian battled for fifth place in the race. There were repeated contact between the two, but as in the battle between Ercoli and Tziortzis, Doubek and Schober dealt with each other very fairly, so that the fans were able to enjoy a breathtaking duel between the two for many laps. In the end, Doubek prevailed over the Austrian in the first corner on the penultimate lap and took fifth place.

“That was a battle over ten laps,” explains Doubek after the race on the challenging 4.005-kilometer circuit. The Hendriks driver from the Czech Republic continued, “It was very intense and I think Patrick enjoyed the battle as much as I did. NASCAR fans want to see a show and I think we gave them just that. This was real motorsports that I really enjoyed. There were touches, but everything was clean. We both enjoyed it.”

Schober, who was in the Double V Racing Ford, also praises the duel: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin. I’m looking forward to more battles like this, because I really enjoyed it. That was one of the most intense duels of my career. I can’t even describe it, it was just fantastic. I love it when there’s a little bit of contact as well and that was the racing that the fans in NASCAR want to see and we drivers really enjoy it as well.”

Schober sits fifth in the EuroNASCAR 2 standings, 17 points behind points leader Tziortzis, with Doubek in seventh, six points behind the Austrian. Sixth place in the first race and fifth place in the second race “are just the beginning,” says Schober. The 18-year-old will give everything to establish himself at the top of the EuroNASCAR 2 championship.

André Wiegold