EuroNASCAR 2 in Grobnik: Hendriks scores strong double victory
Hendriks Motorsport really came up trumps in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship in Grobnik, Croatia – The Dutch team won both rounds last weekend with Martin Doubek and Tobias Dauenhauer at the wheels
Hendriks Motorsport had every reason to celebrate last weekend at the Automotodrom Grobnik. The team from the Netherlands recorded two victories in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) EuroNASCAR 2 championship. On Saturday, Martin Doubek managed to close the gap in the championship with a first-place finish. On Sunday, front runner Tobias Dauenhauer struck back.
Saturday: Doubek wins, Dauenhauer gets penalty
At first, in the first round of the EuroNASCAR 2 championship, it looked as if pole-sitter Dauenhauer was heading for a safe victory. The German immediately pulled away from teammate Doubek and Academy Motorsport’s Vladimiros Tziortzis at the start. However, as the Hendriks mechanics had still been working on the #50 Ford Mustang on the grid, and therefore Dauenhauer was given a drive-through penalty.
This left the track clear for Doubek, who had his hands full fending off the attacks of Tziortzis. The Cypriot ultimately finished in second place. “I don’t know what happened to Tobias but I think I would have caught him in two laps”, said Doubek, who is now only 28 points shy of championship leader Dauenhauer.
“I got the lead and put the pedal down, but Vladimiros put a lot of pressure on me. It was a really stressful race for me. I did it and I collected the big points for me and my team, who did a great job.”
DF1 Racing driver Justin Kunz grabbed the second podium of his NWES career. The German benefited from a puncture by his teammate Simon Pilate and finished third. Pilate had previously collided with lapped Alina Loibnegger, which is why his Chevrolet had suffered damage before riding into the gravel bed.
The winner in the Rookie Trophy was Italian Alberto Panebianco at the wheel of the #89 Not Only Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro. Second place was secured by Melvin De Groot from Team Bleekemolen. The experienced Dutchman made his NWES debut with the Dutch team at Grobnik as regular driver Michael Bleekemolen recovers from an injury.
Leonardo Colavita rounded off the Rookie Trophy podium. The 16-year-old Italian not only celebrated a solid debut in EuroNASCAR but also made history. At 16 years and three days, he is the youngest driver ever to compete in the European NASCAR series. Previously, Ben Creanor held the record at 16 years and 29 days.
With his second place in the rookie classification, De Groot also secured victory in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over. Second place went to Massimiliano Lanza in the service of CAAL Racing. Yevgen Sokolovskiy from Marko Stipp Motorsport rounded off the podium in the special classification. The Lady Trophy was won by Loibnegger of Solaris Motorsport. However, since Arianna Casoli skipped the Croatia race, the Austrian had no competition.
Dauenhauer’s drive-through penalty washed him back to sixth overall – but the young German was to make an impressive comeback in Sunday’s race.
Sunday: Dauenhauer back at the top
Right at the start, the Hendriks driver took the lead and celebrated an unchallenged start-finish victory. Dauenhauer ultimately finished a full 7.791 seconds ahead of Doubek, who thus made the double victory perfect for the Dutch top team of Roy and Joep Hendriks.
“After the penalty yesterday, it’s a real relief”, said the 23-year-old Heppenheim native after the race. “Today was a good day for us as everything went just perfect. The car was great and I was leading the whole race, so there was nothing more to wish for.”
“Thanks to the whole team that kept the focus and provided me with a fantastic car. Now I look forward to the race at Circuit Zolder, a completely different track than Grobnik. It’s the team’s home track so we are ready to attack at the front again.”
Third place again went to a DF1 Racing driver, as it had the day before: this time it was Pilate who got to spray champagne for the Austrian team. It was already his fourth top-5 result of the current season. DF1 Racing had another reason to celebrate as Leevi Lintukanto took victory in the Rookie Trophy ahead of De Groot and previous day’s winner Panebianco.
As on the previous day, De Groot also took home the victory in the Legend Trophy at the same time, relegating his opponents Sokolovskiy and Lanza to second and third place. The previous day’s winner Loibnegger also secured victory in the Lady Trophy in race two – without any competition.
Dauenhauer now travels to Zolder, Belgium, the home track of Hendriks Motorsport – even though the circuit is in another country – with a 33-point lead over Doubek. The regular season ends there on October 9 and 10, after which all drivers are allowed to drop their two worst results. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast on the Facebook page of Leadlap.de / Leadlap.net.