2017 King of Brands Hatch Alon Day made a royal statement in the first ELITE 1 race of the NASCAR GP UK by winning his third consecutive race of the season. The Israeli took the win from the hands of Stienes Longin with a great move late in the 38-lap race to expand his championship lead.
It was not an easy task though for the 28-year-old driver from Ashdod, Israel. Day started third behind polesitter Stienes Longin and Loris Hezemans. The two-time champion managed to pass Hezemans on lap 10 of 38 and then begin hunt down pole sitter Longin.
While Hezemans couldn’t keep the leaders pace, Day caught Longin and Nicolo Rocca joined the pair, ready to take advantage of any mistake. On Lap 31 Day made his move and took the win from Longin as he did in the Zolder Finals in 2018.
Rocca finished a close third behind Longin and grabbed the Junior Trophy win.
“I’m so happy to win again here at Brands Hatch,” said Day, who won three times at the English track. “I have to be honest, I didn’t expect it. After qualifying I thought Stienes would dominate this one. I don’t know what happened to Loris, but the battle with Nicolo and Stienes was great. This stuff is normal here at Brands Hatch as it’s hard to overtake here. I was very patience and it paid off.”
“It was a tough battle,” said Longin, who will chase his first ELITE 1 win starting fourth on Sunday. “They fought behind me and I managed to open a gap. Alon was faster and so he passed me. Also Nicolo was very fast, so it was not easy to keep the second position. I’m happy with the second place but I would have loved to win here in front of this spectacular crowd.”
“In the beginning I was stuck behind Alon and I didn’t manage to pass him,” said Rocca. “I tried to do a good lap for tomorrow’s race, as the fastest lap wil count for the starting grid. I lost a little bit of time passing Loris. I was able to catch up with Alon and Stienes, but I was not able to get past them. Overall I’m happy with third position.”
Marc Goossens finished fourth after climbing the ranks from seventh. The Belgian put pressure on Loris Hezemans who lost his two places in the first half of the ELITE 1 Round 5. The Dutchman spun after a contact with Goossens and that opened the door for “The Goose” to take over fourth position in his #78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang. The two already got together several times in 2018.
“We had a tough weekend in practice and qualifying,” said Goossens. “We didn’t get the balance right in the car. From lap five on it went really good. I was in the traffic jam for a long time, but I think I was faster than the guys ahead of me. We had this incident in the final laps with Loris, who went a little bit too deep. He tried to come back on the track and slowed down significantly. I was not able to avoid him, but that’s racing.”
“The car was good the first three laps, but than it was too tight”, said Hezemans. “Nicolo and Alon got past me. I gave Marc as much space as possible. Somehow I still got hit and spun. That caught me by surprise. I made a nice 360, which was not ideal. It is what it is. Tomorrow we will start second but first of all we have to fix the issues.”
Former Brands Hatch race winner Romain Iannetta rounded out the top-5, bringing home his best result in the 2019 season.
Lucas Lasserre finished sixth ahead of last year ELITE 1 race winner Gianmarco Ercoli. Marko Stipp Motorsport grabbed his first ever top-10 result with Ant Whorton-Eales at the wheel of the #46 Ford Mustang. The Briton also rounded out the Junior Trophy podium behind Ercoli. Hezemans and Alex Sedgwick closed the top-10.
Jacques Villeneuve and Ander Vilarino had issues to their cars during the first ELITE 1 race of the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch. While the Canadian was able to finish 15th, Vilarino was forced to come to the pits several times. In the end the Spaniard retired early and will start 8th for Round 6.
Henri Tuomaala grabbed the Challenger Trophy win by finishing 17th in the overall ELITE 1 standings. He edged Dario Caso and Kenko Miura who were right behind the Finnish Memphis Racing driver. Francesco Sini was not able to start the race due to engine problems his teammate Naveh Talor had to face in the ELITE 2 Division qualifying.
The ELITE 1 Round 6 at the famous Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook and YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media pages from around the world. The race will start at 2:08 pm CEST.