EuroNASCAR in Belgium: Liam Hezemans dominates at Zolder
Loris Hezemans had a perfect weekend at Zolder – the Dutchman won both races and made up ground in the battle for the title
There are race weekends where everything just fits together. Liam Hezemans experienced such days on the Circuit Zolder in Belgium. After his victory on Saturday, there was no way around the Dutchman in the second race of EuroNASCAR 2. Therefore he gained important ground in the battle for the title in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ second division.
On Saturday, however, Hezemans first had to fight his way to the front from fifth on the grid. Up front, Gil Linster grabbed his maiden EuroNASCAR Pole Award by edging championship leader Alberto Naska. This time, however, it was the Italian who was out of luck. Only a short time after the start Naska had to pit with a broken gearbox. CAAL Racing managed to replace it within a very short time.
A few laps later, Hezemans took over the lead from Linster before the Safety Car was deployed for the first time. The reason for this was an accident between Martin Doubek and Vladimiros Tziortzis, who got injured by the impact and was transported to hospital. It was not to be the last accident.
Shortly before the end of the race there was another crash involving Matthias Hauer, Miguel Gomes, Yevgen Sokolovskiy, Kasparas Vingillis and Christoph Lenz. Once again the Safety Car had to come out and the race went into overtime. But here, too, there was another crash after Christian Malcharek got tapped in the back and collided with Paul Jouffreau. The latter’s car then flew through the air and the race came to an end under yellow.
“It was a really eventful race, it’s so unfortunate to finish under full-course yellow, but you had to be first when the checkered flag waved. The team did a great job, the car was really classy, and congratulations to Gil too! For Alberto it was very unfortunate because I saw that there was something wrong with his car, which was a shame for him, but I’m happy to be back after Most! We got the points back and I’m happy,” said Hezemans, summing up the race action. Gil Linster finished second scoring his maiden NWES podium.
In addition to the race win, Hezemans also beat Tuomas Pontinen and Leonardo Colavita in the Rookie Trophy. In the Legend Trophy, Melvin de Groot triumphed by finishing in third. Claudio Cappelli and Michael Bleekemolen completed the podium. The best lady in the field was Luli Del Castello followed by Alina Loibnegger and Ariana Casoli.
On Sunday, Hezemans continued his performance from the previous day and drove home the victory in dominant fashion. “It couldn’t be better! It’s just an awesome weekend, thanks to the whole team because to win by 8 or 9 seconds, you cannot do it if you don’t have a good car so thanks to them! It’s just an awesome weekend, we couldn’t hope for more! We just have to keep our head focused on the next race and it’s going to be a nice title battle. Everything can happen with double points, so we’ll see how it goes!” said Hezemans
Finishing behind the Dutchman were Tuomas Pontinen and Claudio Cappelli. The three drivers were also on the podium in the Rookie Trophy. Fourth place went to Ulysee Delsaux. Naska, meanwhile, fought his way up from 16th to fifth and collected the four bonus points for the most overtaking maneuvers.
“I wanted to get the points and bring the car home safely. We scored 36 points, more than the second placed driver and we are in a good position for the Finals,” the CAAL driver emphasizes. Nothing stands in the way of an exciting battle for the title at the final race weekend at the Autodrom Grobnik.
In the Legend Trophy classification, de Groot and Sokolovsky finished second and third behind Cappelli. The Dutchman and the Ukrainian will also have an exciting duel for the title in the special classification in Croatia. In the ladies’ battle, Del Castello prevailed over Casoli.
The season finale will take place on October 29 and 30 at the Grobnik Autodrom. In both races there will be double points, so everything is still open. The races will be broadcast live on the EuroNASCAR YouTube channel.