Three top-10 results: Alina Loibnegger from Austria finally arrived in EuroNASCAR
Alina Loibnegger contested her second full NWES season in 2022 – The Austrian finished in the top-10 no less than three times, securing second place in the Lady Trophy
Alina Loibnegger has made an impressive journey in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES). From a former Club Challenge driver (regularity test), the young Austrian has become a real title contender in the Lady Trophy of the EuroNASCAR 2 championship. In the 2022 NWES season, she drove into the top-10 three times together with Racingfuel Motorsport and snatched second place in the special women’s classification behind champion Luli Del Castello.
The season began with a real bang for the 27-year-old: Loibnegger was actually set to race for Not Only Motorsport, but since her car was not ready at the season opener in Valencia, Spain, she switched to the new NASCAR team Racingfuel Motorsport, led by Ferruccio Finkbohner, while being already at the track. This turned out to be a good decision for the racer from Wolfsberg in the course of the year.
Racingfuel Motorsport was brand new to EuroNASCAR at the time and first had to get used to the format, the tracks and the car of the series. As a result, not everything went smoothly at the start, but the team from Switzerland had a lot of fun but also showed a very professional spirit in the paddock right from day one. At Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Loibnegger did not finish in the top-20, but nevertheless the foundation was laid for a solid season.
With 16th place in Sunday’s race, Loibnegger then approached the top-15 for the first time at the Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch, but the breakthrough was not to come until after the event in Italy in the Czech Republic. At the Autodrom Most, the Austrian really turned up the heat after the summer break and her team had also taken a big step in the right direction. On Saturday, Loibnegger was rewarded with a top-10 result for the first time in the number 94 Chevrolet.
Sometimes you go down after going up – and this happened twice: in Most as well as in Zolder, the 27-year-old managed to finish in the top-10 on Saturday, but the races on Sunday were completely forgettable. She still lacked the last piece of consistency to finally compete for the Lady Trophy title. At the finale in Grobnik, Croatia, Loibnegger secured her only Lady Trophy race win in the 2022 NWES season on Sunday with her third tenth-place finish – It was also her eighth career Lady Trophy victory. She ended up second in the special classification.
“It was a very cool race today [Sunday in Grobnik] because I kept improving and improving,” Loibnegger says happily in an interview with ‘Leadlap.net’. “I finally got the win that I had wanted so much. This is what we have been working towards the whole season and I am really happy. But I’m also very happy that the lap times keep improving and we’ve found a good setup for the car.”
Loibnegger wants to “work hard for it” in the winter so that she can also “compete again in the 2023 season”. About the 2022 NWES season in general, she says: “It was a great championship and I learned a lot. I’m so grateful to the team as we continued to improve.” Finishing 17th overall out of 41 racer drivers scored, she beat out three-time Lady Trophy champion Arianna Casoli, who finished third, and twins Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc.