The EuroNASCAR Esports Series delivered another unique night of fun for fans and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series drivers and teams at virtual Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on iRacing. With its action-packed heat racing format and an entry list featuring more than 70 drivers, Round 1 of the ENES saw Guillaume Deflandre come out the winner from a nail-biting four-way battle for the lead in the 30 minute Main Event. The RDV Competition driver scored the first 40 points towards the virtual title.
From the very first lap of the 30-minute, 36-car Main Event race at Brands Hatch, it was clear that the battle for Round 1 of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series would be a nail-biting one. And the EuroNASCAR drivers delivered once again for their fans watching and cheering in live streaming.
Alon Day, on the #24 Monster Energy PK Carsport Camaro led from the pole for the first 11 laps, but a small mistake by the Israeli allowed both Andre Castro and Guillaume Deflandre to pass him on lap 12. Navigating traffic around the 1,929-km Indy circuit played a key role and it was in a traffic situation that Castro and Deflandre slightly collided and the Belgian took the lead on lap 24. Day also snuck past the #122 Df1 Racing Camaro of Castro and the top-4, including 2019 NWES Champion Loris Hezemans, finished the 30-minute bout separated by 1,5 seconds. Deflandre scored win number 1 for RDV Competition in the quest for a title that will bring real-life points for the NWES Teams Championship.
What the top-4 said: more to come in Round 2
The four protagonists of the eventful Round Main Event race all met in the virtual commentary booth.
"This race was really difficult because Alon and Andre were incredibly fast and with this car you need plenty of throttle control to go around Brands Hatch," said Deflandre. "It was really funny and I want to thank the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for building such a great event."
"First of all congratulations to Guillaume for the incredible debut," said Day. "What a bummer for me. I made a little mistake and I paid for it. Controlling these cars on the Indy Circuit takes a lot of focus. It was a heck of a fight and I’ll do my best to win at Watkins Glen. I know the track very well, I already won there on iRacing but I have a lot of work to do to beat these guys."
"It was a good race for me until Guillaume got into me hard enough to allow Alon to pass me as well. It was a good win for Guillaume, but he was lucky I couldn’t get back to him to return the favor in the closing stages. I guess this time was my turn to get moved out of the way," Castro said. "Traffic played a key role in the battle and it was really hard to fight while navigating through it. It was a great show for the fans. Now we head to Watkins Glen and I’m excited because it’s one of my favorite tracks."
"I don’t think I had the pace to keep up with those three, maybe I missed that last tenth, so I was kind of hoping they would all crash with each other and leave me the door open. Hopefully next time out I’ll be able to have my say. Looking forward to more battles with Guillaume, Alon and Andre," said Hezemans.
Where did he come from? Soerensen from 31st to 5th in the Main Event
There’s a very special feeling between Lasse Soerensen and the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. After scoring an unprecedented real-life win from dead last on the grid at the British track in June 2019, the Dane came from 31st to 5th in 30 minutes at the virtual version of the 1,929-km Indy Circuit. Soerensen was quickest in practice, but qualified only 53rd fastest and had to carve his way up through the field. The DF1 Racing driver finished 13th in Heat 2, won the Last Chance Qualifier from 8th on the grid and then put up another memorable comeback in the Main Event.
Crauwels the best team member just outside the top-5
Braxx Racing’s engineer Bryan Crauwels on the #378 Ivar Mustang came home sixth, leading Mishumotors’ Ben Creanor on the #33 Camaro. The young Scottish driver edged Heat 3 winner Jeffrey Roeffen aboard the #307 Hendriks Motorsport Ford. Alex Sedgwick on the #78 Braxx Racing Mustang edged FeedVict Racing’s driver Alessandro Brigatti on the #108 Chevrolet in the battle for ninth place.
Guest stars: Ruben Garcia in the top-30, Michael Niemas leads the NWES tracks’ guest cars
After finishing a solid 10th in his Heat race, three-time NASCAR Peak Mexico Series Champion Ruben Garcia was involved in some contact in the Main Event race and came home 25th in the 60-car field. Multiple-time Slot Car World Champion Michael Niemas led the guest cars supported by real-life NWES tracks with the 9th place in LCQ at the wheel of the #79 Hockenheimring American Fan Fest Chevy. 2019 WRC Junior World Champion Jan Solans had a consistent virtual NASCAR debut on the #727 Fordzilla Circuit Ricardo Tormo Mustang, while the #83 Bohematic Autodrom Most NASCAR Show Toyota of Le Mans Classic driver Michal Fronek came home 16th in the LCQ.
Next stop: Watkins Glen International
The next round of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series will take place on Tuesday, May 6th at the virtual version of one of the most iconic tracks in North America: Watkins Glen International. The ENES field will contest another exciting event streamed live from 20:00 CEST on the EuroNASCAR Youtube channel, Facebook page, Twitch profile and on Motorsport.tv.