The 2021 NASCAR GP of Belgium at Circuit Zolder started with two big surprises: in EuroNASCAR PRO, returning ace Stienes Longin grabbed the Pole Position with a phenomenal lap, while in EuroNASCAR 2, Vladimiros Tziortzis scored his maiden NWES Pole Position in a thrilling session with a late dash.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Longin back with a bang!
Stienes Longin returned to the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship in perfect shape. After missing the entire 2021 season, the Belgian stormed to a dominant Pole Position with an exceptional 1:36.855 lap midway through the qualifying session at his home track. Longin will pick up his long-standing rivalry with Alon Day exactly where he left it as the two drivers will start from the front row for EuroNASCAR PRO Round 9.
“It was a blast to comeback in EuroNASCAR with the Pole Position”, said the driver of the #11 PK Carsport Chevrolet, who grabbed his second career Pole Award. “It’s my hometrack and we did a lot of races here this year, so I know every inch of it. We used the setup from 2020 and it worked well right from the start. It’s nice to be back and I hope for a strong race later today.”
Day and his #88 CAAL Racing Camaro were late to the party in the 30 minutes session, leaving pit lane with less than 10 minutes to go on track, but in the 5 laps he completed, the 6-time Zolder winner climbed up to second position, 0.668 seconds behind Longin.
Positions changed rapidly in the final minutes of Qualifying and it was Lucas Lasserre who got into third place. The Speedhouse driver from France was only 0.095 seconds slower than Day and proved that his team is on the right path to contend for the top spot in EuroNASCAR. Developing the car over the 2021 NWES season was the key for Lasserre to improve his qualifying and race pace over the year. At Zolder, the Frenchman is trying to top the fifth place he scored back in 2018.
Vittorio Ghirelli, who is the driver that could benefit the most from the absence of championship leader Loris Hezemans, ended up fourth. The Italian driving the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang clocked a 1:37.753 lap and will start alongside Lasserre in row 2. CAAL Racing returnee Marc Goossens closed the top-5 while his teammate and title contender Gianmarco Ercoli finished sixth. The Italian also topped the ranks in the Junior Trophy classification and hopes to gain some places in EuroNASCAR PRO Round 9 that will start at 2 pm CET.
DF1 Racing’s Nicolo Rocca followed in seventh ahead of Patrick Lemarie, Martin Doubek and Giorgio Maggi, who rounded out the top-10. Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Pierre Combot was the quickest Challenger Trophy driver in eleventh. In his NWES debut, the Frenchman edged Davide Dallara by 0.121 seconds. Francesco Sini will start last due to technical issues on his #12 Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro. The team had to change engine late at night and therefore needed to tweak the car to get back to the usual pace.
EuroNASCAR 2: Maiden Pole Position for Vladimiros Tziortzis
For the first time in his career, Vladimiros Tziortzis put his hands on the Pole Award in the EuroNASCAR 2 Championship. The Cypriot clocked the 4-km Circuit Zolder in 1:37.811 minutes with a great lap late in the session. The Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver pushed Not Only Motorsport’s Naveh Talor from the throne with less than 3 minutes to go. Tziortzis will lead the 24-car field to turn 1 in EuroNASCAR 2 Round 9 at 4:50 pm CET.
“I’m really happy to have scored my maiden EuroNASCAR Pole Position”, said Tziortzis, who also scored the first ever Pole Position for Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport and the first one ever for a Cypriot in NWES. “I made the perfect lap late in the session and put the car in first place. The most important part of the weekend are the races of course, so I will aim to keep the consistency which is the key to success. I want to keep out of trouble and have an amazing race today.”
Talor, who already pictured himself holding the Pole Award for the first time in his career, was shuffled down to second in the closing stages of the 30-minute session. The Israeli was 0.111 seconds slower than Tziortzis and spoke of the “most disappointing second place of his career”. As Talor and Tziortzis get along very well in the paddock, the Not Only Motorsport driver congratulated his buddy for scoring the Pole Position at Circuit Zolder.
Hendriks Motorsport’s Martin Doubek ended up third at the wheel of the #7 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang. The Czech, who won both races in Belgium in 2020, was 0.498 seconds shy of Tziotzis but kept CAAL Racing’s Advait Deodhar at bay. Championship leader Tobias Dauenhauer from Germany rounded out the top-5 and therefore has to start right in the middle of the pack, when EuroNASCAR 2 Round 9 will go green.
DF1 Racing’s Leevi Lintukanto ended up sixth topping the Rookie Trophy standings. The fastest Legend Trophy driver was Team Bleekemolen’s Melvin de Groot in seventh. Max Lanza followed in eighth ahead of Alberto Panebianco and Simon Pilate, who completed the top-10. Arianna Casoli beat Alina Loibnegger in the race for the Lady Trophy.
Both Saturday’s races will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, NWES App – and Motorsport.tv. EuroNASCAR PRO Round 9 will go green at 2 pm CET, while the EuroNASCAR 2 race will start at 4:50 pm CET.
Featured Image Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard