NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

Vittorio Ghirelli seamlessly continues strong performance from 2020

Michael Großgarten / Leadlap.de

Vittorio Ghirelli finished fourth and sixth in both Valencia and Brands Hatch – But the Italian is not yet satisfied and wants to go all the way to the top

In 2021, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) again promises plenty of excitement in the battle for the title. This is also due to Vittorio Ghirelli, who as the current champion of the EuroNASCAR 2 Series has moved up to the EuroNASCAR PRO championship with Hendriks Motorsport.

There, the Italian is seamlessly continuing his form from last season and impressing with consistent performances. At the season opener in Valencia, the Hendriks driver already brought home sixth and fourth places. Ghirelli then confirmed this performance at Brands Hatch – despite technical issues in qualifying.

“Qualifying was a disaster, because the third gear got stuck four times and that’s why we only ended up sixth on the grid”, Ghirelli said. “Fourth place in the first race was a good start and I was able to battle for a spot on the podium at Brands Hatch. It’s quite hard to overtake here so I did not get past Nicolo during the race.”

Ghirelli unlucky in second race – fourth in the championship

Credits: Michael Großgarten / Leadlap.de

In the second race, Ghirelli started from fourth place, but improved to third immediately after the start. However, in the first corner he drove over an oil track and therefore came out wide. Consequently, he lost a few positions and dropped back to sixth place, where he finished.

“There was nothing I could do. I lost control of the car and three positions. In the end, I finished sixth. This weekend was very unfortunate and I missed out on a podium finish we would have deserved,” Ghirelli emphasized.

After the first four races, the Italian is fourth in the overall EuroNASCAR PRO standings, just 27 points behind his teammate Loris Hezemans. This puts Ghirelli in the thick of the title fight.

“Last year’s EuroNASCAR 2 season went very well and we already knew back then that I have the pace to keep up with the front runners in EuroNASCAR PRO,” said Ghirelli. “The first two race weekends were unfortunate as we had to deal with some technical issues and a lot of bad luck. I couldn’t really show my full potential yet!”

“The level is much higher in this championship and there is no room for mistakes – everything has to run perfect. I’m confident that things will turn around and we will get the wins we deserve. I’m not fully happy with fourth place but I’m sure we will get there where we belong.”

Ghirelli shines with consistency

Credits: Michael Großgarten / Leadlap.de

Yet the Italian is doing very well so far in comparison with other drivers who have moved up from the EuroNASCAR 2 championship. Gianmarco Ercoli only finished 14th in his first start in the EuroNASCAR PRO division at Venray Raceway in 2015, while in his first full season the Italian finished fifth and 13th at Valencia.

It was a similar story for Thomas Ferrando, who finished 24th and eighth in his first PRO Division races in 2016. Ulysex Delsaux even remained outside the top 10 on his debut, finishing eleventh and 24th, and the young Frenchman is still waiting for his first victory.

Ferrando and Ercoli each managed to do so in the 2018 season. While Ercoli was the first driver to sign the winners’ lists in both EuroNASCAR 2 and EuroNASCAR PRO at Brands Hatch, Ferrando followed at Zolder in 2019. Both drivers had two years of experience in the EuroNASCAR upperhouse at that point.

Ghirelli’s next chance for his first podium or even his first win in EuroNASCAR PRO comes as early as the end of August. The NASCAR GP of the Czech Republic in Most is on the calendar on August 28 and 29.