NWES home race: Gianmarco Ercoli strikes back after Saturday’s setback
Gianmarco Ercoli and Liam Hezemans took the place in the sun on Sunday – However, it did not go completely without drama
One thing is for sure: There was no boredom for fans at Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) races. In both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, the drivers provided plenty of action at the Autodromo di Vallelunga. The victories were secured by Gianmarco Ercoli and Liam Hezemanns.
For the Italian, it was a bit of redemption for Saturday’s EuroNASCAR PRO race, in which he missed out on victory after a puncture. On Sunday, however, the race went like clockwork for Ercoli.
Shortly after the start, the CAAL driver passed Alon Day and defended the lead until the finish. The latter also lost a position to Nicolo Rocca, who, however, was unable to finish the race due to a technical problem. The second place for the Israeli was also enough to take the lead in the championship.
“It was a difficult race but I started very fast from the first row and managed my speed because today we had plenty of it. I took the win at my home track and I’m very happy,” said Ercoli.
There was also drama in EuroNASCAR 2. At first it looked as if Vladimiros Tziortzis was heading for a sure victory. But then the engine gave up the ghost. A duel for victory ensued between Martin Doubek and Alberto Naska, which ended in an accident. While the Italian continued to fight at the front, Doubek got a drive-through and dropped back.
Suddenly Hezemans, who had lost a few positions at the start of the race, was now in the lead. But his victory was anything but certain, as the Dutchman in the employ of Hendriks Motorsport received a ten-second penalty for his part.
“I really don’t know! I started the race and then I got a bit tangled with Alberto and lost a couple of positions. The race was awesome because I was taking it quite easy as I thought we’re in the lead and then I heard that I had a 10-second penalty, so I just pushed as hard as I could. I locked up the tires three times or something but it worked out, it feels so nice!” explained Hezemans.
But the Dutchman was not the only one who was initially unaware of his time penalty. Second-placed Finn Tuomas Pontinen wasn’t informed about it either. If I’d known, I could have been in contention for victory, but I’m still very happy about second place,” he says. So in the end Hezemans was able to extend his lead to 11.4 seconds and win Sunday’s race despite the penalty.