Loris Hezemans and Martin Doubek brought the #7 Hendriks Motorsport car to Victory Lane in all races last weekend at the NWES season opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain
The first race weekend of the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) is in the books and the Dutch team Hendriks Motorsport has written a new chapter: never before in the history of the series has the same car been in Victory Lane four times. Loris Hezemans (EuroNASCAR PRO) and Martin Doubek (EuroNASCAR 2) won their races in the #7 Ford Mustang.
Chronology of the weekend
The first race of the season was the EuroNASCAR PRO round on Saturday. Hezemans started the race from pole position and briefly took the lead. He lost the lead after just a few corners to current champion Alon Day, who will be back behind the wheel for CAAL Racing in the 2021 season.
It was a difficult start to the season for Day, who arrived late in Valencia due to the current situation in his home country of Israel. Having missed Free Practice, NWES offered him a special 15-minute practice session before qualifying. Considering these circumstances, Day put in a strong performance with second place on the grid.
The three-time champion was unable to pull away from Hezemans after his overtaking maneuver, but was immediately put under pressure again by the young Dutchman. This duel at the front meant that Day’s teammate Gianmarco Ercoli quickly closed in on the leading duo and a hot three-way battle for the top spot broke out.
On the fifth lap, Hezemans passed Day again, who lost second position to Ercoli just a few corners later. Hezemans managed to pull away from the two CAAL Racing drivers, who had an intense battle for second place. In the process, they didn’t respect the track limits, which is why both received a five-second penalty after the race.
The laughing third was Nicolo Rocca in the service of DF1 Racing, who was rewarded for his strong race with second place. Ercoli dropped to third as a result of the penalty, followed by Thomas Ferrando, who will compete for Academy Motorsport in the 2021 season. Day finished fifth, followed by Vittorio Ghirelli in the #50 Hendriks Motorsport car.
“It was an eventful race and for sure a challenging one”, said Hezemans, who posted the fastest race lap. “I thought I had a good start but Alon really pushed from second place. It was a great battle up front with Alon and also Gianmarco, who was incredibly fast. It’s great to be back in Victory Lane and start the season on a high note with Hendriks Motorsport here at Valencia. I hope that I haven’t stressed the tires too much for the race tomorrow, but I’m confident that we can be at the front again in the second EuroNASCAR PRO race.”
Ercoli’s third place overall was enough for victory in the Junior Trophy, the special classification for drivers up to the age of 25. Second place in this classification was secured by Ferrando ahead of RDV Competition’s Ulysse Delsaux, who is back on the grid after being forced to take a break due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Not-Only Motorsport driver Andrea Nori secured victory in the Challenger Trophy classification ahead of teammate and defending champion Davide Dallara. Rounding out the podium was Henri Tuomaala in the colors of Iceboys-DF1-Racing.
Doubek with momentum from 2020
In Saturday’s EuroNASCAR 2 race, Martin Doubek piloted the #7 Hendriks Motorsports car, which had been driven to victory by Hezemans just a few hours earlier.
Doubek started the race from pole position, which he also immediately converted into a lead. In the early stages of the race, he was put under strong pressure by Academy driver Vladimiros Tziortzis as well as teammate Tobias Dauenhauer.
But Doubek drove a flawless race and parried any attacks, so that in the end he claimed a perfect start-finish victory at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
“It was not that easy as it looked but also not that hard”, said the race winner, who was clearly out of breath after the demanding race in Valencia. “Starting from Pole Position was the key to success and I’m very happy to be back in Victory Lane. I hope to confirm the momentum we have tomorrow. It was only the first race of the season but I’m confident that we can fight for the title in the 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 season.”
Second place was much more hotly contested, as Tziortzis and Dauenhauer engaged in a thrilling duel. Initially, the Cypriot Tziortzis was passed by Dauenhauer, but he refused to be shaken off and on lap twelve overtook the young German again, who finished second overall in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship in 2020.
A strong fourth place went to Pierluigi Veronesi with his new team Double V Racing. CAAL Racing driver Max Lanza followed behind. With this fifth place in the overall result, the Italian also secured victory in the Legend Trophy, the special classification for drivers aged 40 and over.
A highlight of the race was the wild ride of Naveh Talor. Like his compatriot Alon Day, Talor arrived late in Valencia, which is why he also got 15 minutes of special training. Due to a technical defect on his Not Only Motorsport car, he missed qualifying and therefore had to start the race from 23rd place. But Talor managed to make up 17 positions and ultimately crossed the line in sixth place – which was enough for the four bonus points for the most positions made up.
Yevgen Sokolovskiy from Marko Stipp Motorsport finished second in the Legend Trophy. He managed to finish a respectable tenth overall. Completing the Legend podium was Ian Eric Waden in the service of DF1 Racing.
Victory in the Rookie classification was secured by Not Only Motorsport driver Alberto Panebianco ahead of Iceboys DF1 Racing driver Leevi Lintukantu and Miguel Gomes in the service of Marko Stipp Motorsport.
Debutant Alina Loibnegger finished 16th overall, securing second place in the Lady Trophy. The young Austrian from Solaris Motorsport was defeated by the experienced Arianna Casoli at CAAL Racing, who took victory in the Lady Trophy with 13th place overall.
The races on Sunday
On Sunday, the EuroNASCAR 2 championship drivers took to the track first and it was to be another exciting race.
Again it was Hendriks Motorsport driver Martin Doubek who started the race from pole position. The Czech, who has been a full-time driver in the NWES since 2015, immediately took the lead and did not relinquish this position until the end of the race.
“I’m very happy”, said an exhausted Doubek after the race. “The car is perfect since we hit the track on Friday for Free Practice. With Loris Hezemans, I can rely on a very quick teammate and the team is doing an exceptional job. We found a good setup that made it look so easy to get two wins here in Valencia.”
Like the day before, it was Dauenhauer and Tziortzis battling for second place. In the end, it was Dauenhauer who crossed the finish line in second 2.597 seconds ahead of Tziortzis.
Fourth place was secured by DF1 Racing’s Justin Kunz, who had a lot of bad luck on Saturday. In a promising position at the front of the field, a tire on his Chevrolet Camaro went down, sending him out of Saturday’s race.
The top-5 was completed by Veronesi, who celebrated a successful debut for his new Double V Racing team at the wheel of his #27 Ford Mustang. With his initiative Sbomber, the Italian supports children in an Italian hospital.
Vict Racing’s Valeri took home victory in the Legend Trophy, ahead of Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Sokolovskiy. Third place went to Fabrizio Armetta for The Club Motorsport.
As on the previous day, victory in the Rookie Trophy went to Panebianco from Not Only Motorsport. Joining him on the podium were Valeri and Gomes of Marko Stipp Motorsport, who celebrated a solid debut in the championship with these two third places.
The Lady Trophy podium was also the same as in Saturday’s race: CAAL Racing driver Casoli won ahead of Solaris Motorsport’s Loibnegger. The two engaged in a hot battle for victory throughout the race. Loibnegger even managed to get past Casoli briefly, but was then passed for second place in the special classification by the experienced NWES veteran.
Loris Hezemans at the top again
The final race of the weekend was the second round in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship.
Polesitter Hezemans did the same to his teammate Doubek and drove the #7 Ford Mustang from Team Hendriks Motorsport into Victory Lane. He thus rounded off a perfect weekend for the Dutch team.
It was his ninth EuroNASCAR win overall and his third at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Hezemans is now just one win behind two-time NWES champion Anthony Kumpen, who is fourth on the all-time wins list with ten.
“We really started where we left last year when we won the last race of the season in Valencia”, said the race winner. “I’m very happy with this result and now just bring on the next race! Of course I’m fighting for my second Champion Ring. Everytime I get in a car I want to win and I think we are really there setup-wise. Let’s see how the season will develop, every track is different, but we are definitely there.”
The race got off to a turbulent start as Hezemans was heavily attacked by CAAL Racing returnee Day. After contact with Hezemans on the first lap, the defending Israeli champion rumbled through the gravel, which ultimately washed him back to 19th. Day’s teammate Ercoli inherited second position and held it until the end. The Italian thus underlined his ambitions in the fight for the championship title in the 2021 season.
Somewhat surprisingly, but nevertheless very impressively, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen of Team Bleekemolen finished third, followed by Hezeman’s teammate Ghirelli and DF1 Racing’s Rocca, who drove another solid race.
With his second place overall, Ercoli also secured victory in the Junior Trophy ahead of Academy Motorsport driver Ferrando and Giorgio Maggi, another driver from the Hendriks Motorsport squad.
Bleekemolen not only finished third overall, but also won the Challenger Trophy ahead of Armetta of The Club Motorsport and Dario Caso of Vict Motorsport.
Not only were all four races won by one and the same car, all four heats went off without a single FCY – a caution – which is also a rarity.
Hezemans and Doubek will travel with 80 points each in their luggage to the next races, which will be held on June 19 and 20 in Most, Czech Republic. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast live on the Leadlap.de / Leadlap.net Facebook page.