Once again Alon Day proved to be the man to beat at the Autodromo di Franciacorta. The Israeli led all 29 laps of the ELITE 1 Round 3 and grabbed his fourth win at the Italian track after perfectly handling two restarts, celebrating his 18th NWES victory. The CAAL Racing driver was put under heavy pressure by Marc Goossens, who ended up second in his Braxx Racing Ford Mustang, and Jacques Villeneuve.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to win again,” said Day, who also took the lead of the points standings. “It was tough for me and the team in Valencia. It wasn’t easy as Marc was there the whole time. I saw him and Jacques in my mirrors all the time. It was an honour to stand on the podium with a Formula One champion. We want to build on this win today and do it again tomorrow.”
Jacques Villeneuve was third and clinched his first ever NWES podium. The Canadian showed a strong pace through the 29 laps of the race and will start fourth in the Sunday ELITE 1 race.
“It was a physical race on that short track and it was fun,” said the Go Fas Racing driver. “The fastest lap is important for the grid for the second race. Unfortunately we were faster in the end of the race when the tires weren’t fresh anymore. I was trying to get closer to Marc in case he made a mistake.”
Drama struck early in the first lap of the race. Mauro Trione flipped in the second corner after a contact with Alex Caffi. The #31 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS laying upside down triggered a Safety Car period. All drivers involved were okay after the accident.
“I had a good start and gained some positions,” said Trione. “Alex Caffi was hit hard in the back and then he spun. I was not able to avoid him and then I got pushed from behind. I rolled in a very soft way, so the car is not damaged that bad.”
After the caution was called, championship leader Ander Vilarino ended up spinning after a contact with another competitor. The Spaniard restarted twelfth, but had to retire on lap 24 of 29 due to the damage sustained.
“I was hit by a competitor on my left rear and suffered some damage,” explained Vilarino, who lost the championship lead to Day. “I got my starting position back during the caution. I was able to gain some spots, but unfortunately the car was unable to continue and I had to retire before the end of the race.”
Loris Hezemans ended up fourth after an intense battle with Nicolo Rocca. Hezemans, who started fifth, passed the Italian PK Carsport Racing driver in the final corner of lap 23 to take over fourth place. Rocca lost another position in turn 1 to Luigi Ferrara, who rounded out the top-5. Hezemans also grabbed the Junior Trophy win ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli in his Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang, who ended up seventh.
After two second places at Valencia, Stienes Longin suffered a setback in the first race of the NASCAR GP Italy. The Belgian PK Carsport driver started eighth and wasn’t able to progress in the 29 laps of the race. Francesco Sini and Alex Sedgwick closed the top-10.
Henri Tuomaala won the Challenger Trophy by finishing twelfth. The Finnish Memphis Racing driver bested Ellen Lohr, who grabbed her first Challenger Trophy Podium for Dexwet-df1 Racing in the 2019 season. While Lucas Lasserre managed to finish 17th from starting 20th, Frederic Gabillon lost three spots during the racing and ended up 18th.
The ELITE 1 Division will be back in action on Sunday at the Autodromo di Franciacorta for Round 4. The race will be streamed live at 2:15 pm CEST on Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR Facebook and YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media pages from around the world.