Bleekemolen’s first NWES podium: Balance at the front helped
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen has claimed his first podium at the EuroNASCAR season opener in Valencia, Spain – The Dutchman believes the setup of the Ford Mustang was the key to success
“Actually there is no real secret for our good performance, but we did really well from the beginning,” Bleekemolen told ‘EuroNASCAR.com’ after the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. The Dutchman made it to the podium for the first time in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship. He believes the setup of the #69 Ford Mustang was the key to success.
Many drivers reported understeer on the four-kilometer MotoGP circuit in Valencia. But that problem has been addressed by Team Bleekemolen, which made its NWES debut in 2019 but had to skip the 2020 NWES season due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We found something for the front of the car that worked well,” the 42-year-old reported.
Bleekemolen with solid race
“I think we had a really good setup and we had a solid testing day in Zolder,” said Bleekemolen. “A lot of competitors were struggling with understeering. The car was pretty good at the front so maybe this helped us a little bit.” Still, it wasn’t an easy second EuroNASCAR PRO race for the experienced race car driver, as he had to work his way up from sixth on the grid to third.
For me it was a nice race”, Bleekemolen summed up the second round. “I was kind of in a sandwich after the start in turn 1 so I backed off a little bit. “I got past some cars easily and the overtaking maneuver on the #50 car of Vittorio Ghirelli in the penultimate lap was awesome. I forced him into a small mistake and I think he thought I would overtake him in the last turn.”
Decisive move on Ghirelli
“He started to defend and that was not a good idea as he entered the start-finish straight with not much speed so I was able to overtake him at turn 1. It was a nice move I think and very fair. We touched a little bit in turn 2 but that’s NASCAR racing. I was very happy afterwards and I was shouting in the cockpit: ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’. It was nice to stand on the NWES podium for the first time.”
There was shadow as well as light at the first NWES weekend for the Dutch team: In the first race, the 42-year-old had to park his Ford Mustang early due to technical issues. As a result, Bleekemolen sits in tenth place in the overall standings after the first two races of the new season. He has 28 points less on his account than Loris Hezemans, who won both EuroNASCAR PRO races with Hendriks Motorsport.