What a story for Hendriks Motorsport! Giorgio Maggi grabbed the win in the ELITE 2 Round 7 at the Autodrom Most after the team had to install a new engine in less than two hours before the start of the race on Saturday.
The engine of the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang blew up in the ELITE 1 race earlier in the day, but the Dutch team put a brand new engine in the car with an impressive effort and sent Maggi to the grid just a few seconds before pit lane closed for the ELITE 2 race. The Swiss repaid his team’s hard work with an authoritative drive around the 4.222 kilometers of the Autodrom Most.
After starting from the pole, Maggi had to defend the lead against Lasse Soerensen and mastered a restart with seven laps to go on the way to his second NWES career win. In the process he also stretched his championship lead in the ELITE 2 Division to 14 points on Vittorio Ghirelli.
"After the disaster with Loris [Hezemans] the guys put the new engine in the car in a very short time," said the race winner. "It was just a miracle but this is why I love those Hendriks Motorsport guys. Nobody asked the question: ‘Can we make it?’ They just did it and we won, I’m so happy. They are very professional and the whole team did an amazing job."
Soerensen tried his best in the closing laps to catch the leader, but had to settle for second, continuing his impressive streak of five consecutive podium finishes since joining NWES. The Dexwet-df1 Racing driver gained some more points on the top-3 of the most unpredictable division in Euro NASCAR and is now sitting fourth with a 43-point deficit from Maggi.
"It’s always great to be on the podium but first of all I want to win races," said Soerensen, who is focusing on the ELITE 2 championship race. "When it’s not possible to win, the second place is the next best thing to achieve. We had some problems in qualifying, but we found the pace in the race. I’m super happy for the whole team."
Andre Castro, who sat eighth in points before the race, moved up to sixth in the ELITE 2 championship by securing his third NWES podium finish in the 2019 season. The American, third under the checkered flag, bested Advait Deodhar, who started fifth and gained one position during the 14-lap race. Justin Kunz closed the top-5 after a strong comeback from twelfth on the grid. The overall podium mirrored the Rookie Trophy classification.
"It was a tough race out there, but we finally got the result on Saturday," said Castro, who never earned a top-10 finish in the first day of a race weekend in 2019. "It’s all we wanted. The car was strong the whole race, but we have to do some little tweaks to catch up with the frontrunners. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow."
Representing the Czech Republic, Martin Doubek was sixth at the finish on his home track after losing two spots in the race. The Hendriks Motorsport driver fended off Ghirelli’s attacks in an intense battle and Nicholas Risitano followed the pair in eighth place.
Freddie Hemborg had a strong run culminating in the ninth place in the race. The Memphis Racing driver climbed the ranks from 15th and scored his second top-10 of the 2019 season. Myatt Snider started 14th after missing Superpole for the first time this season and managed to find his way back in the top-10.
Eric De Doncker was first in the Legend Trophy classification by finishing eleventh. He was joined by Mirco Schultis and Michael Bleekemolen on the podium reserved to drivers aged 40 and over. Arianna Casoli grabbed the Lady Trophy win by finishing 15th.
The safety-car was deployed in the very first lap of the race after a collision between Alessandro Brigatti and Jesse Vartiainen. Both cars suffered damage but the drivers climbed out of their V8 machines by themselves.
The ELITE 2 Division will be back in action on Sunday at 10 am CEST. The race will be streamed live 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.