NWES finale 2022 Grobnik: Hezemans secures EuroNASCAR 2 title
Liam Hezemans won both races at the EuroNASCAR 2 finale to be crowned champion – Alberto Naska finished second
Before the final of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) at the Automotodrom Grobnik, Liam Hezemans was sitting second in EuroNASCAR 2 behind Alberto Naska. But thanks to two wins, it was the Dutchman who took home the title. The Hendriks Motorsport driver had a blast during the last weekend of the season.
Before the first race on Saturday, Hezemans was 13 points down on his rival from Italy. The Hendriks driver got off to a great start in Saturday’s race and took the lead in the first turn from Vladimiros Tziortzis, who had to let Naska pass a little later.
Although the Italian then also tried to pass Hezemans, he was forced to defend against Tziortzis, who was charging from third. Hezemans took advantage of this and pulled away to take an unchallenged victory. Thanks to the double points, he thus reduced his deficit to just three points.
“It’s crazy given where we were early in the season! Thanks to my whole team, the car was just perfect! It’s now closer than ever, that’s the first step and now we try to take the second step tomorrow!” says the Dutchman at Victory Lane. “I think it’ll be a bit more difficult because I think he expects it, but I’m definitely super happy! This is exactly what we needed to keep the championship alive.”
Hezemans also triumphed in the rookie standings ahead of Naska. Third place went to Tuomas Pontinen. In the Legend classification, Melvin de Groot had the edge, finishing the race in fourth place. In the Lady Trophy, Luli Del Castello prevailed over Alina Loibnegger and Arianna Casoli.
On Sunday there was a kind of déjà vu. Again it was Tziortzis who started from pole and again he had to let Hezemans pass. This time, however, Naska cut his teeth on the Cypriot and couldn’t make the pass. Even after a restart due to an accident of Miguel Gomes nothing changed in the running order.
“I cannot believe it! I made my first race car start ever in Valencia in the beginning of the season, coming from go-kart and immediately winning the championship! There were so many close battles all the time, we made progress every week, I cannot describe it with words! It’s just an awesome weekend and we couldn’t hope for more,” Hezemans enthuses after the race and the win in the championship.
Naska, who finished the race in third behind Tziortzis, expressed disappointment at losing the title in the final meters: “I mean, we were unlucky this year! I did my best this weekend, but this wasn’t our track in my opinion. I wasn’t fast enough and Hezemans was faster than everybody so he deserves it this weekend but in the end, when you didn’t make any mistake and you lost the championship, it’s tough. I was unlucky this season but the level was so high that the small details decided the outcome. I don’t know what to say, we’ll try again next year!”
As on Saturday, the fourth-place finisher on Sunday was again de Groot, who thus secured the overall victory in the Legend Trophy. Hezemans also prevailed in the Rookie Trophy ahead of Naska to mirror the overall standings. Pontinen completed the podium in the special classification on Sunday and in the overall classification. The best lady in the field was Alina Loibnegger, but her victory was not enough to overtake Del Castello in the overall standings. Arianna Cassoli finished third.
On March 4 and 5, EuroNASCAR will return to action with the “Artic Ice Race” in Rovaniemi, Finland. For the first time in NASCAR history, the race will be held on ice. The 2022 season will kick off with the traditional opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.