By winning the 2019 EuroNASCAR 2 title, Lasse Soerensen not only proved his unique driving skills, but also his untamed fighting spirit with a comeback that went straight into the NWES history books.
Not your typical racing driver – Soerensen is 1.96 meters tall – the 22-year-old Aalborg native began his journey towards the championship in the worst possible way: by missing the season opening event at Valencia. The Dane joined Euro NASCAR for the second event at Franciacorta in Italy and he immediately surprised the whole NWES world by winning his first ever NASCAR race. The Dexwet-df1 Racing driver started second and grabbed the win while leading only the last two of the 24 laps and carefully stepped on the door of his #66 Camaro in Victory Lane.
In the second race Soerensen proved that the previous day’s win was no coincidence and finished second in Round 4 of the former ELITE 2 Divsion. He left Italy 21st in points, 63 markers behind leader Giorgio Maggi.
The magic moment at Brands Hatch
That Soerensen would become a title contender became clear after the dominant weekend at Brands Hatch, where the Dexwet-df1 Racing driver scored two impressive wins. The first one was just incredible because he came from 27th on the grid in the 30-lap race on the Indy Circuit. Soerensen carved his way up the ranks and grabbed the lead in the very last lap of the race to score his second career win.
"It felt so good to win such a spectacular race and I think we really showed that we never gave up even if we face such a difficult challenge like at Brands Hatch," Soerensen commented his most remarkable race of the 2019 NWES season.
The next day, no one was able to catch Soerensen and he scored back-to-back wins, of the 2019 season moving within 38 points from championship leader Giorgio Maggi, who came home 12th and third.
The race for the title tightens
The battle continued on the NWES debut at Most in the Czech Republic and it was a draw between Soerensen and Maggi, who scored one win and one second place each, but the Dane moved from fifth to fourth in points. Two weeks later at Raceway Venray Soerensen got the worst results of his season with the seventh place against Maggi’s fourth, but with the lowest score being dropped from the regular season, the Dane’s gap from the Swiss shrunk to 15 points and only Vittorio Ghirelli separated him from Maggi.
Once again, the Semi Finals proved to be crucial in determining the title contenders’ faith. While Ghirelli’s hopes quickly faded in a turn 1 crash, Soerensen once again impressed with a second place on Saturday and a win on Sunday, the fifth of his season. After winning the first race of the weekend, Maggi had to settle for fourth on Sunday and saw his lead drop to just 11 points entering the Zolder Finals.
The Final showdown
It all came down to the Zolder weekend and with another win on Saturday Soerensen brought the gap down to just 1 point.
"It was all about keeping my focus on my own effort and doing everything I could to maximize the results to close the gap," said Soerensen.
The title was to be decided on Sunday, with Soerensen and Maggi starting side by side. Rain added one more level of uncertainty to the last race of the season and the two contenders put up a fantastic show for the Belgian crowd, battling all race long for the lead. Soerensen fended off all the attacks brought by Maggi, who tried everything in the closing laps. The Dane crossed the finish line first and was crowned EuroNASCAR 2 champion, the first rookie to accomplish the feat.
Soerensen has only NASCAR in his mind
"It’s an awesome feeling to grab the championship win in the very last race of the season but again: when you are in a race you always try to focus on doing your absolute best and that was the key to our success in the 2019 season," said Soerensen, who also summed up the last laps of the Zolder Final: "I concentrated on not doing any mistake and driving as we did the whole season. The only thing in my mind was to stay ahead of Maggi".
The close battles and the tight competition are what Soerensen loves about Euro NASCAR: "It’s all about close and pure racing. It feels awesome to see so many cars battling in such a small gap. That’s what’s making Euro NASCAR so unique in European motorsports." said the driver of the #66 Camaro: "I want to continue in 2020 and also try to find opportunities to race in America. Of course I want to come back to Euro NASCAR and I will give my best to do it. Thanks to NASCAR and the whole Team FJ organisation for this amazing championship!"
The new EuroNASCAR 2 champion definitely has the potential to become a title contender in EuroNASCAR PRO soon. Former EuroNASCAR 2 champions Gianmarco Ercoli, Thomas Ferrando and Stienes Longin walked that way before and all of them won a race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series top division. After stepping up to EuroNASCAR PRO, it could be just a matter of time before we see the Danish giant back in Victory Lane.