The situation after Brands Hatch: This is how spectacular the 2022 EuroNASCAR season is!
The NWES has held rounds three and four at Brands Hatch – Here’s how things look in the overall standings and the trophies
The most successful event on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) calendar is undisputedly the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch in the UK. Once again in 2022, over 45,000 spectators visited the track over the entire weekend to watch the races. And they had it all! It’s worth taking a look at the situation ahead of the race in Vallelunga, Italy.
A few statistics in advance: the ninth edition of the American SpeedFest saw two new winners. Alexander Graff won for the first time in EuroNASCAR PRO, while Liam Hezemans celebrated his debut victory in EuroNASCAR 2. With 32 drivers in the PRO classification and 30 participants in the second NWES championship, there were full grids everywhere.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Crash between Day and Ercoli
Probably the most spectacular situation of the race weekend was the crash between Alon Day and Gianmarco Ercoli in Sunday’s race. The former CAAL Racing teammates clashed in the battle for first place after a restart and caused controversial scenes. Ercoli had grabbed the lead from Day, but was not clear after Druids, as it is called in NASCAR lingo.
There was a crash: the two touched and Day seemed to not slow down. He crashed into the rear of the Italian in which his PK Carsport Chevrolet became lodged. The Camaro’s front bumper even touched Ercoli’s rear tire, so deep did the tip bore into the rear end. Ercoli had to retire, Day got a drive-through penalty and ten championship points deducted.
Graff was the laughing third and dusted off the win. Not only was it his first win in the official European NASCAR series, it was also the first for his team, Lucas Lasserre’s Speedhouse. Furthermore, Graff was the first Swede to climb the top step of the podium. Nicolo Rocca continues to lead the overall standings. The CAAL driver has 18 points more on his account than Day, who is ahead of Graff, Martin Doubek and Frederic Gabillon.
Challenger Trophy: Current EuroNASCAR 2 champion at the top
Doubek is also a hot candidate in the title fight in EuroNASCAR PRO after his EuroNASCAR 2 championship win in 2021. Currently, the Czech is also leading the Challenger Trophy, in which he has topped three of four races so far. With 121 points in the overall standings, he is well ahead of his pursuers, who are incredibly close together.
Close together? That’s even an understatement: Fabrizio Armetta, Henri Tuomaala and Yevgen Sokolovskiy share second place in the special EuroNASCAR PRO bronze and silver driver standings with 79 points each. With 15 drivers in the Challenger Trophy field, a hot battle for supremacy in the 2022 NWES season is expected at Vallelunga.
Junior Trophy: Giorgio Maggi takes the lead
Giorgio Maggi celebrated a real sense of achievement at Brands Hatch. After a solid performance with seventh place at Valencia, the Swiss already showed his potential in the Race Art Technology Toyota, but at Brands Hatch he really turned up the heat. With fifth place in the first race he not only clinched victory in the special classification for drivers up to 25 years of age but also collected his first top-5 result. On Sunday, he narrowly missed his first EuroNASCAR PRO victory by finishing second behind Graff.
Valencia dominator Tobias Dauenhauer, however, had to sit out the race in the UK as he got infected by Covid-19. The German will use the Brands Hatch race as a strike result and try to strike back in Italy. He currently lies third in the special classification behind Jonne Rautjarvi. As a reminder, drivers are allowed to scratch their two worst results after ten races in the regular season.
EuroNASCAR 2: Three-way battle for top spot
Two rookies and an experienced NWES driver are currently fighting for first place in the EuroNASCAR 2 standings: Alberto Naska leads the championship with 150 points. The Italian YouTube star has won two races so far and impressed with his killer instinct at Brands Hatch, where the CAAL driver spectacularly passed Vladimiros Tziortzis to win Saturday’s race.
In second place is Hezemans, who went one better: the Dutchman and younger brother of current NWES champion Loris Hezemans passed first Tziortzis and then Naska in overtime on Sunday to secure his first EuroNASCAR 2 win. The Hendriks driver sits second, eleven points behind Naska. Tziortzis completes the top-3 with a 15-point gap to first place.
Rookie Trophy: Naska versus Hezemans
Naska and Hezemans are thus naturally the measure of all things in the Rookie Trophy for rookies in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship. As in the overall standings, the two are separated by just eleven points. Claudio Cappelli made his first appearance on the podium of the special classification on Sunday as the Italian finished a strong fifth. However, he is only ninth in the rookie classification.
Paul Jouffreau currently shares seventh place in the EuroNASCAR 2 standings with Gil Linster and Miguel Gomes. This makes the Frenchman the third best rookie in the field after Brands Hatch. The Frenchman fought a hot battle with Legend Trophy dominator Melvin de Groot at Brands Hatch and went off the track at Paddock Hill Bend. Nevertheless, the Speedhouse driver cut a fine figure. Patrick Schober from Austria and Luli Del Castello rounded off the top-5.
Legend Trophy: De Groot unbeatable
De Groot set the bar very high in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over in EuroNASCAR 2 at Brands Hatch as well. The Dutchman has so far won three of four races in the special classification and also impressed at Brands Hatch with a double win. The Team Bleekemolen driver had stepped in as a replacement for Michael Bleekemolen in 2021 and has earned his full-time cockpit.
He is sixth in the overall standings and thus leads Gomes by just five points. The Portuguese has so far impressed with his consistency in his Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet. The same applies to his teammate Yevgen Sokolovskiy, who is currently third. The Ukrainian is nine points behind de Groot. Marko Stipp Motorsport from Germany therefore has a good chance of joining the fight for the Legend Trophy.
Lady Trophy: Rookies dominate the action
Del Castello is new to the world of NWES, but the Italian seems to have arrived well in the new environment. The CAAL Racing driver has two wins in the special classification so far and leads the women’s standings in EuroNASCAR 2 thanks to her consistency. Del Castello has 81 points under her belt and is 14th overall.
Aliyyah Koloc has also already recorded two victories, but the Buggyra driver is not as consistent as Del Castello. That’s why the race driver from Dubai is currently only third in the Lady Trophy standings. Continuity is the key, as shown by Alina Loibnegger, who regularly finishes on the podium of the special classification and has so far taken second place. The current champion Arianna Casoli is in fourth place.
Next stop Vallelunga: Soon it’s off to Rome
The NWES drivers will get only a short break. On July 9 and 10, the third NWES event of the 2022 season will already take place. The venue is the Autodromo di Vallelunga near Rome. Not only Tobias Dauenhauer, but also Max Lanza, who will contest his home race, are expected back in the grid. The latter had problems with his ears in Great Britain and was therefore not allowed to start for health reasons.
In addition to EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, the Club Challenge drivers will also be back in action in Italy. The regularity test of the NWES will only take place on selected tracks. Marko-Stipp Motorsport driver Gordon Barnes will give his all to defend the title he won in 2021. Excitement is pre-programmed in all categories and special classifications.