EuroNASCAR PRO: Six drivers still in contention for the title
Six drivers still have realistic chances of winning the title ahead of the EuroNASCAR PRO Finals in Vallelunga, Italy – Loris Hezemans leads the overall standings after two worst results of each driver were dropped
The ten races of the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) regular season are in the books. After the race weekend in Zolder, Belgium, the drivers were allowed to drop their two worst results, which is why only the eight best races are counted for the standings. Although Loris Hezemans missed the NASCAR GP of Belgium due to his start in the Xfinity Series, the Dutchman leads the standings.
In total, there are five chasers who still have a realistic chance of knocking the Hendriks driver off the top spot. His toughest rival is his teammate Vittorio Ghirelli, who took a fourth and a fifth place at Zolder. Ahead of his home race at the Autodromo di Vallelunga, the Italian sits 21 points behind Hezemans at the top.
Gianmarco Ercoli had to retire in one race at Zolder and posted an eighth-place finish on Sunday. This meant that the Italian did not achieve the result he had hoped for, but preserved his championship chances. The CAAL driver is just 23 points behind the overall leader ahead of the finale at Vallelunga, a race track Ercoli has already won at.
Is a surprise victory in the air?
Lucas Lasserre follows in fourth place with a deficit of 33 points. The Frenchman took home 40 points on Saturday, although another driver won the EuroNASCAR PRO race: Stienes Longin. However, the Belgian drove as a guest starter and therefore did not take any points away from the championship contenders. With two podiums in Zolder, Lasserre takes a lot of momentum into the finale, where the Speedhouse driver could be the big surprise.
Alon Day experienced a race weekend with light and shadow in Zolder, as he did in Valencia, Brands Hatch and Most. While the Israeli and current NWES champion retired on Saturday due to a collision, he stormed to victory on Sunday from pole position. Day has proven his comeback qualities several times, which is why he must still be counted on in the title fight despite being 35 points behind.
Hezemans clearly the favorite
Nicolo Rocca, who is 36 points behind the leader, could also become a title candidate if he has a perfect race weekend at his home track. The Italian has lacked victories this season, but he has repeatedly impressed with his consistency, which could catapult the DF1 driver to the front in the end.
Hezemans, who not only started in the Xfinity Series in Charlotte but also presented the new Cup team Hezeberg together with his father Toine Hezemans and his business partner Ernst Berg, is the big favorite. The 23-year-old already managed to win the NWES title in 2019.
A look into the trophy battles
There are two special classifications in the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship: The Junior Trophy for drivers up to and including age 25, and the Challenger Trophy for bronze and silver drivers in the PRO category. In both categories, the championship battles are still completely open.
Ercoli leads the Junior Trophy in third place overall. The CAAL driver is 34 points ahead of Giorgio Maggi from Switzerland, who has really stepped up his game in the second half of the season and achieved good results. Third is Ulysse Delsaux from France, who is 53 points behind the leader of the special classification.
The Challenger Trophy is much closer: DF1 driver Henri Tuomaala leads by just six points ahead of last year’s winner Davide Dallara from Not Only Motorsport. Yevgen Sokolovskiy in the service of Marko Stipp Motorsport also still has every chance of finishing first in the special classification, as the Ukrainian sits only ten points behind the Finn in first place.
The finale will take place on October 30 and 31 at the Autodromo di Vallelunga near Rome. The track is four kilometers long and made its NWES debut in 2020. At that time, Hezemans and Ercoli won the races that opened the 2020 season.