EuroNASCAR in Valencia: Hezemans and Tziortzis triumph on Saturday

EuroNASCAR in Valencia: Hezemans and Tziortzis triumph on Saturday
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

On Saturday, the fans of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series were saw exciting duels at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo – The victories were secured by Liam Hezemans and Vladimiros Tziortis

The wait is over. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series kicked off the new 2023 season on Saturday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. It is already the tenth edition of the NASCAR Fest in Valencia. In EuroNASCAR PRO, Liam Hezemans prevailed after a highly exciting race. Vladimiros Tziortzis triumphed in EuroNASCAR 2.

Despite the high temperatures, Hezemans did not break a sweat during the first race of the new season. At the start, the Dutchman beat polesitter Tziortzis and did not relinquish the lead until the end. It was his fifth consecutive win over the seasons and his first triumph in EuroNASCAR PRO. This makes the Hezemans brothers the first pair of siblings to win in the highest class of NASCAR’s European offshoot.

Behind them, Tziortzis and Gianmarco Ercoli had an exciting duel over the entire race distance. The Italian also passed Tziortzis at the start, but could not follow Hezemans due to some mistakes. The Cypriot behind him, however, could not find a way past him in the beginning. It was only shortly before the end that Tziortzis managed the decisive pass that secured him second place on the podium. Ercoli crossed the line in third place.

“That’s racing, I think.The best always wins. Thanks to Gianmarco for the great fight,” says Tziortis in the post-race interview. And there was also praise from the CAAL driver for the fair duel on the track: “Clean fight. I’m happy about the race.”

But it was not only the duel with Tziortzis that made the Italian happy. He also burned the fastest lap into the asphalt and will thus start from pole position on Sunday. “I will try to win tomorrow,” Ercoli makes clear.

Vittorio Ghirelli, Sebastiaan Belekemolen and Lucas Lasserre followed in fourth to sixth place. Series returnee Anthony Kumpen finished in 7th place. The Belgian is driving a full season for the first time since 2017.

In the Junior Trophy, Hezemans beat Tziortzis and Giorgio Maggi, who was in fourth place for a long time. But after issues with his brakes, the Swiss dropped back to tenth behind Marc Goossens and Frederic Gabillon.

Tzirotzis wins in EuroNASCAR 2

In EuroNASCAR 2, things went much better for Tziortzis. From the start, the Academy Motorsports driver put his stamp on the race. “I think I did my best! We did our job like earlier this morning [in EuroNASCAR PRO], we kept pushing and stayed consistent to bring home the first place! There was an issue with the start in EuroNASCAR PRO compared to this one, but anyway this is racing and I showed today that we’re here and still rising!” says the Cypriot.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

His first pursuer: Alberto Naska. However, the CAAL Racing driver was no match for the Cypriot’s pace and had to settle for second place. Paul Jouffreau completed the podium. Gil Linster finished the race in fourth place.

The highlight of the race was the duel between Martin Doubek and Patrick Schober. The two drivers fought a close duel for several laps. There was also an exchange of paint. However, the Czech had the better cards and managed the decisive pass shortly before the end of the race.

In the Legend Trophy, Riccardo Romagnoli, who finished behind the duo, beat Roberto Bendetti and Kenko Miura. Best rookie in the field was Thomas Dombrowski. Thomas Toffel and Nick Schneider completed the podium. Ariana Casoli took the Lady Trophy.

Toffel and Schneider were involved in incidents with Paolo Valeri. The Vict Motorsport driver was first penalized for a contact with Toffel. A little later, Schneider received a penalty for a collision with the Italian. The latter’s team-mate Dario Caso was even penalized twice after colliding with Miura and Jack Davidson.

The Club Challenge was already on the agenda on Friday. Victor Neumann secured victory with Marko Stipp Motorsport on his debut, ahead of Federico Monti and Alain Mosqueron, the Frenchman celebrated his comeback after two years.

“The cars are easy to drive, which means they handle very well and have a very good balance, which makes them great fun to drive on a track like this,” said Neumann. “I’m really happy to have won in my first Club Challenge appearance and I’m already working hard to put together a programme for the 2024 season!”

Racing action at Circuit Ricardo Tormo enters its second round on Sunday, 7 May. The races at Circuit Ricardo Tormo will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and several TV channels.

Simon Mones