NWES finale 2022 Grobnik: Alon Day the first ever four-time EuroNASCAR champion
Alon Day has secured the EuroNASCAR PRO title for the fourth time at the Automotodrom Grobnik – But not without some drama
All good things come in threes, or in Alon Day’s case, fours. The Israeli had traveled to the finale of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) at the Automotodrom Grobnik as championship leader and crowned himself champion for the fourth time under the bursting sun of Croatia. Day is now leading the NWES historic ranking ahead of Ander Vilarino.
Day laid the foundation for this on Saturday with a strong start-finish victory. The Israeli prevailed over his rival Gianmarco Ercoli, who had overtaken Patrick Lemarie at the start. The CAAL driver then set off in pursuit of Day, but had to settle for second after 17 laps.
“He was there the whole time, he was pushing really hard and I knew this was about the championship. I still need to catch my breath, that was a tough race! I’m very happy to start on the first row tomorrow. Congratulations to Giorgio for having the pole position and to Ercoli, he pushed me to the limit. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to finish the job, for now we’re focused on tomorrow,” says Day after the race.
Giorgio Maggi and Liam Hezemans rounded out the top-5. In addition to winning the Junior Trophy, the Swiss also secured the fastest lap and thus the pole for Sunday’s race. In the Challenger Trophy, Henri Tuomaala prevailed in eighth place.
Thanks to the double points at the season finale, Day extended his lead to 16 points and was actually in a comfortable position for Sunday’s race. Even if Ercoli had won, a top-5 result would have been enough for the Israeli. But as is so often the case in motorsport, the race got in the way and created a lot of suspense.
In turn 14, the Italian launched an attack to push Day out of second place – which he succeeded in doing. However, there was a contact which dropped the PK Carsport driver back to fifth place. Since Ercoli was unable to pass Maggi at the same time, this was no reason to panic.
On the last restart the Italian managed to take the lead and Day also lost a position. Suddenly it was Ercoli who had a hand on the trophy, but the race was not over yet and Maggi did not think of giving away the victory. And so it came as it had to: during a maneuver by the Swiss, contact was made which threw Ercoli far back. Maggi even had to park his car a little later.
This completely shuffled the leading group. Lemarie secured victory ahead of Nicolo Rocca and Day. “That was a great feeling! I’m so happy, we had a strong weekend. Since the beginning of the season we have been waiting for this kind of weekend, an event full of good results. I’m very happy for the team and for Federico Monti, it feels good to win,” says Lemarie after his first EuroNASCAR win.
Day also had reason to be happy, after all, third place was enough for him to claim his fourth EuroNASCAR PRO title. “I did it, I couldn’t do it without PK Carsport! I think this is the moment to really say thanks to everybody in the team: Anthony for giving me the opportunity to drive here and every person in this team that worked from day to night! Thanks a lot, they deserved this championship more than I do! Now it’s time to celebrate it with my wife on my honeymoon, as I promised a long time ago!” said the Israeli happily after the race.
Ercoli had to settle for third place in the championship in the end because Alexander Graff collected enough points to displace the Italian from second. The Swede finished fifth behind Martin Doubek and, as on Saturday, received the eight bonus points for the most passes.
In the Challenger Trophy, Tuomaala secured the championship for the third time. Finishing seventh, the Finn was also victorious in the second race at Automotodrom Grobnik, beating Fabrizio Armetta and Claudio Capelli. In the Junior Trophy, Leonardo Colavita prevailed against Maggi and Hezemanns on Sunday. However, none of the three drivers saw the checkered flag. The title in the special classification went to Maggi.
Fans won’t have to wait long before EuroNASCAR returns. Already on March 4 and 5, the series will kick off the new season with a special event in Rovaniemi, Finland. For the first time in NASCAR history, the race will be held on ice.