Odds-on Franciacorta favorite Alon Day grabbed the pole position for the first ELITE 1 Division race for the NASCAR GP Italy, the second at Franciacorta in his career. Florian Venturi put himself in the best position after struggling in the NWES season opener by setting the fastest lap time in the ELITE 2 Superpole.
Boasting three wins in four races at the Italian track, Alon Day met all expectations by grabbing his 13th career pole position at the wheel of his #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS. The Israeli lapped the 2,5 kilometer long track in 1:12.937, besting a sharp Marc Goossens by 0.114 seconds for the pole position.
“I’m happy to be on pole position here at my team’s home track. As we test here a lot I’m now half Italian, even if I’m Israeli. We know that we are very fast here and I hope to grab the win and the first place on the grid this afternoon. I expect a special race. Marc Goossens is right next to me and I know how he races, but having Jacques behind me is something new. I really don’t know how he will race. It will be exciting.”
Goossens, who had a though season opener at Valencia, is back on the front row in Italy. The Braxx Racing driver showed that the #78 Ford Mustang has the potential compete for the win in Euro NASCAR’s top division.
Jacques Villeneuve proved to be very fast on the technical Franciacorta track. The former Formula One World Champion and Indy 500 winner ended up third only 0.123 short of Day’s time. Nicolo Rocca was a solid fourth in his #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro ahead of Loris Hezemans in the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang. The Dutchman had a small contact with the #19 of Simone Laureti in Qualifying.
Double Valencia winner Ander Vilarino only qualified 12th after exceeding track limits in his first Superpole lap.
Several contenders did not make it to Superpole. Frederic Gabillon, who had some issues during free practice, will have to start 16th. Third in points in 2018, Lucas Lasserre will have to fight his way to the top from 20th on the grid.
Florian Venturi back on top
In the ELITE 2 Division Florian Venturi grabbed the pole position for the first race of the NASCAR GP Italy, the first of his NWES career. The Go Fas Racing driver is looking to rebound from a tough season opener in Spain and sits only 29th in the overall ELITE 2 Division standings.
In Italy he has got the chance to find his way back to the top. Venturi said: “It’s a great result, not only for me but also for the team. They did a really good job preparing me a great car. It’s my first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series pole position and I want to win this race. I’m really happy, but I have to focus on the race right now.”
Lasse Sorensen, who is making his NWES debut for Dexwet-df1 Racing this weekend, was second just 0.420 seconds behind the pole sitter. Andre Castro was third just 0.089 seconds further behind.
Valencia race winner and current points leader Giorgio Maggi ended up fourth ahead of NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Rookie of the Year 2018 Myatt Snider, who rounded out the top-5 in his Racing Engineering Ford Mustang.
The first session of the ELITE 2 Division qualifying had to be red flagged twice. Michael Bleekemolen was stuck in the gravel but was then able to fire his engine back. Racers Motorsport drivers Alessandro Brigatti and Vittorio Ghirelli both had issues and had to stop their cars on track.
While the ELITE 1 Division race will start at 1:15 pm CEST, the ELITE 2 Division will be back at the track at 4:45 pm CEST for Round 3 of the 2019 season. All races will be streamed live at Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR Facebook and YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and a vast of the websites and social media pages from around world.