The one to Valencia was an eventful journey for Naveh Talor, who made his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series comeback at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the 2021 season opener. The Not Only Motorsport’s driver was late at the track and missed Free Practice due to the difficult situation in his home country Israel and had to scrap Qualifying with technical issues but then made a magical comeback in EuroNASCAR 2 Round 1 at the wheel of his #90 Chevrolet Camaro.
The tensions in Israel almost made it impossible for Talor to join the fist event of the 2021 NWES season in Spain. After switching planes a couple of times, Talor made it to the track safely on Friday evening. The NWES organisation granted him and his fellow countryman Alon Day a special 15-minute practice session on Saturday morning right before Qualifying to get at least some feeling in the car. While Talor clocked some laps in this session, he had to sit out Qualifying due to technical issues with his car.
The Not Only Motorsport team did an outstanding job to recover and prepare the Camaro for the first race of the 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 season on Saturday afternoon. Talor was able to join the grid but had to start from the very back of the 23-car grid. But that would not prevent him from making a unique comeback and scoring important points for the overall standings. The 19-year-old, who made his NWES debut in 2019 and joined Not Only Motorsport as a part-time driver in 2020, is considered one of the title contenders in 2021.
The Herzliya-native gained seven positions during the first lap that flooded him up to 16th. During the second lap, Talor made up two more spots by overtaking Didier Bec and Leevi Lintukantu. Then it took the Not Only Motorsport youngster some laps to make ground on the drivers ahead of him, but his pursuit into the top-10 was not over yet. On lap 5, Talor got past Fabrizio Armetta to take over 13th.
On lap 10 of 15 in the EuroNASCAR 2 race, Talor made it into the top-10 ahead of his teammate Alberto Panebianco, who was the fastest rookie at the 2021 season opener. During the last three laps, Talor overtook one competitor in each lap to finish sixth under the checkered flag after an impressive comeback at the iconic 4-km long Circuit Ricardo Tormo. He collected 31 points for the sixth place and 4 bonus points for the most positions gained, which tied him with Vladimiros Tziortzis, who ended up second behind race winner Martin Doubek, in the overall standings.
“The first race was pretty chaotic for me,” Talor said after the event. “I started last and I knew the only way I can go is forward and finish as high as I can. That was my plan, so I told my spotter not to speak to me too much so I can focus on my race. That really helped and I picked them up one by one. I started from 23rd and had a strong first lap on which I passed seven cars. I didn’t have a single contact, it was just easy picking. It continued from there.”
“I started overtaking more aggressively than in the first lap on which I was a little bit more cautious. Turn 2 was especially a good overtaking spot as well as turns 4 and 5. My engineers told me that I was super fast in I think turn 13, so I had a bid advantage there. It was a fun experience getting past the contenders in each lap and picking up sixth place. I think I managed the situation the best I could and next time we aim for the podium.”
In the second race on Sunday, Talor finished 12th after another solid run at the wheel of his #90 Chevrolet Camaro. After the 2021 season opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the Isreali sits in fifth in the overall standings with 60 points on his account. He has a 20-point gap on Doubek, who leads the EuroNASCAR 2 classification after two strong wins in Spain.
The next race will take place on July 3-4 in Brands Hatch, UK. All races will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s social media profiles – YouTube, Facebook, Twitch – and Motorsport.tv.
Credits featured image: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard