For the first time in his Club Challenge career, Gordon Barnes stood on the top step of the podium. After being the most consistent driver during the two timed sessions of EuroNASCAR’s regularity based challenge, the Briton parked his #48 Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro in Victory Lane and became the first winner of the 2021 season.
A new rule introduced in the 2021 Club Challenge season allowed each driver to declare a target time to hit during the two 30-minutes sessions at the iconic 4.005-kilometer Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Barnes chose a 1:56.000 lap and got a 0.830 second cumulative penalty time after his runs, the lowest among the competitors. For Marko Stipp Motorsport it’s the first trophy ahead of a busy and exciting 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season.
“It’s a fantastic way to start the season,” said Barnes who ended up third in the 2020 Club Challenge season. “We’ve learnt a lot in the Club Challenge last year and we were able to build on that coming into the new season. The team had a difficult time in Spain last year when the season ended here. It’s a great way to kick the season off with a top step for Marko Stipp Motorsport and just an awesome start into the weekend. We need to keep doing what we are doing and I think we will be one of the front runners at the end of the year.”
Newcomer Paul Jouffrau from France ended up second in his maiden Club Challenge participation. The Speedhouse driver and protege of NWES veteran Lucas Lasserre impressed with a penalty time of 1.152 seconds from his 1:52.00 set time. Another rookie completed the podium: Nicolo Gabossi. The Not Only Motorsport driver had a 1.898-second gap on his chosen 1:59.00 reference time.
Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport’s Federico Monti, a Club Challenger winner in 2020, was fourth ahead of RDV Competition’s rookie Jerome Mure, who closed the top 5. In his first laps in a pure EuroNASCAR car, Marcel Berndt ended up sixth at the wheel of his #17 Speedhouse by 42 Racing Shadow DNM8. In her debut, Simona Lenci was seventh driving the #90 Not Only Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro.
Featured image by: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard