Loris Hezemans will be the man to beat on October 5-6 in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals at Circuit Zolder, Belgium. The Hendriks Motorsport driver grabbed his fourth consecutive ELITE 1 win of 2019 in an exciting dash to the checkered flag in which he beat Nicolo Rocca by just 0.203 seconds.
The Dutchman also stretched the championship lead he took over after Saturday’s race to 21 points over Rocca, making it a perfect weekend for Hendriks Motorsport. The team took three wins out of four races at the NASCAR GP Germany.
When polesitter and current race leader Alon Day was sidelined by a technical problem on his #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS on lap 3, his teammate Thomas Ferrando was the quickest to take advantage of the moment and grabbed the provisional lead. Hezemans was too strong for the Frenchman, and moved past the #27 CAAL Racing Mustang just two laps later. He then fended off every attack from a charging Rocca brought in the remaining 15 laps until the checkered flag dropped.
Rocca fought hard to catch Hezemans, but had to settle for second when a couple of door-to-door battles were not enough for the PK Carsport driver to pass the Flying Dutchman.
"It’s been a great feeling to win the second race here at the Hockenheimring," said the Hezemans, who’s the winner of the Tijey’s Fastest Driver Award. "It wasn’t easy as Alon was driving very well until his car broke down. Hopefully he can compensate that at Zolder. When Alon slowed down Rocca and I were a little bit surprised, but then we saw Ferrando take the lead and I was thinking: ‘Wow, we gotta go!’ The team did a great job and we find a great way to have a fast car. In Zolder it’s all about bringing the car home and win the championship."
Rocca said about his second place: "It was a great weekend and we’re still in the middle of the championship battle. We showed that we have the right pace and can fight Loris. I tried my best to overtake him and I was way more aggressive than yesterday. I really wanted to win, but I’m happy with the second place. I hope, it was an entertaining race to watch with all those intense battles. Everything can happen in Zolder and the gap is not that big. We’ll focus on qualifying to have a good starting spot on the grid and we’ll be going for the championship."
Racers Motorsport’s Gianmarco Ercoli carved his way up to third after an intense battle against Racing Engineering’s Romain Iannetta and RDV Competition’s Frederic Gabillon, who closed the top-5.
"It’s amazing to be back on the podium, as this season is not my best one in NWES," said Ercoli. "I worked very hard to be back on top of the standings and I’m really happy about the podium today and the fourth place yesterday. The team did a great job, they really deserved it and we are all very happy."
After leading the race in the early stages, Thomas Ferrando fell back to sixth. Ander Vilarino was part of the podium battle too until lap 18 when he was shuffled back to 15th.
Go Fas Racing driver and former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve was seventh ahead of Alexander Graff. Scott Jeffs finished ninth in his ELITE 1 debut for Braxx Racing and grabbed his first ELITE 1 top-10 in what was his second start in the NWES premier division. Reigning ELITE 2 champion Ulysse Delsaux, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Sunday, rounded out the top-10.
Ioannis Smyrlis won the Challenger Trophy in the very first NWES weekend of his career. The Marko Stipp DF1 Racing driver edged Kenko Miura and Henri Tuomaala in the championship for bronze and silver drivers of the ELITE 1 Division.
The only caution of the race came up in lap 13, just seven laps before the checkered flag. Dario Caso’s Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang broke down and the Italian had to stop the car beside the race track.
On October 5-6 at Circuit Zolder it will be Hezemans versus Rocca for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title. Qualifying and all races from the legendary Belgian track will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the NWES Facebook and YouTube pages, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media pages from around the world.