EuroNASCAR season half-time: German-speaking teams and drivers in focus
It’s mid-season in the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series – The German-speaking drivers and teams have been convincing so far
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) event at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic marked the halfway point of the 2021 regular season, with Tobias Dauenhauer from Germany currently leading the EuroNASCAR 2 championship, while DF1 Racing from Austria and Marko Stipp Motorsport are up front in the championships and trophies. Furthermore, Giorgio Maggi from Switzerland and Alina Loibnegger are also doing well. Gil Linster celebrated his return at Most.
DF1 Racing is third in the overall team standings after six races in the 2021 NWES season with the #22 car. Both Nicolo Rocca (EuroNASCAR PRO) and Justin Kunz (EuroNASCAR 2) have been busy scoring points in the Chevrolet Camaro. While the EuroNASCAR PRO driver from Italy is fourth overall with four top 5 results, the German is tenth in the EuroNASCAR 2 standings with three top 5 finishes.
“I would have loved to be on the podium [at Most], but I was just as fast as the third-placed driver, who had a perfectly working car, despite the damage – a good sign that we have the pace,” Kunz said after the round in the Czech Republic. “I scored important points for the championship, that’s all that counts.”
For Gil Linster from Luxembourg, the NASCAR GP Czech Republic was the first NWES race since 2019. With his US adventure interrupted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 27-year-old has opted to race the remainder of the EuroNASCAR season for DF1 Racing. He retired in the first race while running seventh with a technical issue, but in the second race the NWES returnee stormed to a strong fifth-place finish in the EuroNASCAR 2 category.
“I’m very happy to be back, even if I’m not completely satisfied with the result,” said Linster. “To retire with a defect is always tough. But I have a good team behind me in DF1 Racing and can rely on my crew. I can live very well with fifth place in the second race because I learned a lot. The team worked all night to put me in a great car, so I’d like to say a big thank you for that.”
Furthermore, Simon Pilate, who shares his Camaro with Patrick Lemarie for the Austrian team, is busy collecting points in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship. The Belgian is currently fifth in the overall standings. Ian Eric Waden is fighting for victory in the Legend Trophy, where he is third, while Henri Tuomaala has taken four wins in the Challenger Trophy. The Finn leads the special classification in twelfth place.
Marc Goossens claimed his first podium in Most. The experienced Belgian is ranked tenth in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship. Leevi Lintukanto won his first Rookie Trophy race as a newcomer with a fourth place in the first Most race.
Marko Stipp Motorsport
Marko Stipp Motorsport from Herford is relying on two constants in 2021: Yevgen Sokolovskiy, who competes in both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, and rookie Miguel Gomes. At Most, the racing team from Germany also secured the services of NWES veteran Romain Iannetta, who collected two lead laps.
In the Challenger Trophy of the EuroNASCAR PRO championship, Sokolovskiy is just behind Tuomaala. The two title contenders in the special classification for bronze and silver drivers are separated by just five points. It is similarly close in the Legend Trophy of the EuroNASCAR 2 series for drivers aged 40 and over: There, too, the Ukrainian is in second place – just eight points behind Max Lanza from Italy.
Gomes clinched the first Rookie Trophy victory of his career at Most. In the second EuroNASCAR 2 race on Sunday, the Portuguese pushed past the competition to finish ninth and secure first place in the special classification for new drivers in the official European NASCAR series.
“Yevgen and Miguel showed a really strong weekend with their Trophy podiums, they are making continuous progress which is bearing fruit with the podiums”, said teamboss Marko Stipp. “For Miguel, it was a special moment with his first Rookie Trophy win and the reward for our hard work together.”
Gordon Barnes, meanwhile, claimed his second victory in a row in the Club Challenge. Having already been the most consistent driver in the regularity test in Valencia, the Brit also took first place at Most. As a result, he clearly leads the overall standings. In addition, Andreas Kuchelbacher from Austria celebrated his Club Challenge comeback with Marko Stipp Motorsport.
Tobias Dauenhauer, Giorgio Maggi, Alina Loibnegger and Marcel Berndt
Dauenhauer from Germany dominates the EuroNASCAR 2 championship. With his first win of the season at Brands Hatch and a dominant double win at Most, the Hendriks Motorsport driver clearly leads the EuroNASCAR 2 standings. He has a 37-point lead over NWES veteran Martin Doubek. After losing the EuroNASCAR 2 title in the last race in 2020, he now has only one goal in mind: to win the championship.
Maggi from Switzerland has not had an easy time in the 2021 EuroNASCAR PRO season so far, as he has repeatedly struggled with technical issues. At Most, the Hendriks Motorsport driver, who finished second in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship in 2019, flashed his potential.
With sixth place in Sunday’s race, he secured victory in the Junior Trophy for drivers up to and including the age of 25. The race driver from Hergiswil is eighth in the overall standings after six rounds. So far, Maggi has finished in the top 5 once and in the top 10 four times. As the Automotodrom Grobnik has a similar character to Most, the Swiss is also to be reckoned with in Croatia.
Loibnegger fought a fierce battle with Arianna Casoli for the Lady Trophy. The Austrian has already beaten her rival twice with Solaris Motorsport from Italy. In Sunday’s race at the Autodrom Most, she even finished second in the Rookie Trophy of the EuroNASCAR 2 championship for the first time.
For Marcel Berndt, things are still not quite running smoothly in the Club Challenge, the EuroNASCAR regularity test. The Berlin native missed the podium at the Autodrom Most. However, Berndt is gaining important experience in a NWES V8 monster with Speedhouse / 42 Racing.