At the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, centimeters can decide between win and defeat. In Qualifying, every thousand of a second was crucial in the battle for the coveted NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Pole Awards. In the end, Valencia race winners Nicolo Rocca and Vladimiros Tziortzis set the bar in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 by turning the fastest lap around the iconic British track.
While Tziortzis grabbed his second consecutive Pole Award, Rocca topped the Qualifying standings for the eighth time in his EuroNASCAR career, the first since 2019 at Autodrom Most. With one win each already on their accounts, the pole sitters are poised to score another strong result in the tight battle for both titles. While Rocca leads the EuroNASCAR PRO standings one point ahead of Alon Day, Tziortzis aims at challenging Alberto Naska for first in EuroNASCAR 2.
EuroNASCAR PRO: 1-2 finish for CAAL Racing
With a record 33 competitors on track in EuroNASCAR PRO, Qualifying was split in two groups. Rocca clocked a 48.930s to punch his ticket for Superpole – a shootout for Pole Position among the top-10 drivers. In Superpole, Rocca set the benchmark with a 48.995s beating his teammate Gianmarco Ercoli by just 0.068 seconds and monopolizing the EuroNASCAR PRO Round 3 front row for CAAL Racing.
“I’m feeling great! Pole position is always an amazing feeling, it means you’re the fastest of them all!” said a visibly happy driver of the #56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet. “The car was mega, obviously CAAL Racing always put some incredible cars on the track and I just gotta do my job. Me and Gimmy [Ercoli] did it today and we capitalized on our experience. Obviously we’re a strong team and I’m so happy to be with them and we hope we can convert this into something good later on. It’s gonna be a long race, I don’t take it for granted but starting from the Pole is a good omen and I’m definitely pleased with this!”
Missing just 0.051 seconds on Ercoli, Day will be starting third in Saturday’s race. The Israeli topped the standings in group 2 and Qualifying as a whole but was ultimately bested by the CAAL Racing drivers in the decisive Superpole session. The PK Carsport driver and three-time EuroNASCAR PRO Champion is on a quest to tie Ander Vilarino’s all-time record of five race wins at Brands Hatch.
Friday’s Free Practice topper Frederic Gabillon ended up fourth in his #3 RDV Competition Chevrolet Camaro. The NWES veteran was 0.344 seconds off Rocca but for sure will have a say in the battle for the race win by starting from row 2. Giorgio Maggi rounded out the top-5 and also topped the Junior Trophy standings for drivers aged 25 and under. Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek followed in sixth and took first place in the Challenger Trophy ranks for bronze and silver driver in EuroNASCAR PRO.
Patrick Lemarie qualified in seventh ahead of Fabrizio Armetta, EuroNASCAR PRO rookie Liam Hezemans and Claudio Cappelli, who completed the top-10 in Superpole. All four qualified for Superpole from group 1. Valencia Pole Award winner Alexander Graff suffered from issues in group 1 when the Swede had to park his #64 Speedhouse Ford Mustang off track at Graham Hill Bend. He will start from twelfth place. The session ended under red flags 21 seconds before the checkered flag due to an incident involving Max Lanza.
EuroNASCAR 2: Second Pole in a row
In EuroNASCAR 2, the 28-car grid was also split in two groups but the combined results of the two sessions decided who grabbed the Pole Award of the 2022 NASCAR GP UK at Brands Hatch. Like in EuroNASCAR PRO, only a few centimeters made the difference in the battle for the crucial top spot on the grid. Tziortzis set the benchmark by clocking a 48.928-lap in the closing stages of the second session. Before setting the fastest lap, Tziortzis, Naska and Ulysse Delsaux exchanged the lead several times.
“I’m so happy to be on Pole here at Brands Hatch,” said the Cypriot in the colors of Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport. “It’s my second consecutive Pole Award and it was a tough battle against Naska and Delsaux. The car was amazing and the team did a great job. Now we focus on the race. I want to make a good start, get into my rhythm and take the checkered flag here at Brands Hatch.”
Just a blink of an eye behind Tziortzis was 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Ulysse Delsaux. The Frenchman was just 0.031 seconds adrift of the pole sitter as the RDV Competition driver went for a late charge. Championship leader Naska ended up third – 0.132 shy of Tziortzis – and topped the Rookie Trophy classification. Behind the Italian, reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Doubek and CAAL Racing’s Gil Linster rounded out the top-5.
Liam Hezemans qualified sixth while 2021 Brands Hatch race winner Advait Deodhar turned the seventh fastest lap of group 2 and the combined classification ahead of Francesco Garisto and Melvin de Groot. The latter dominated the Legend Trophy ranks ahead of Yevgen Sokolovskiy, who was 18th. Rookie Paul Jouffreau made it into the top-10 in 49.742s at the wheel of his #33 Speedhouse Ford Mustang. Tuomas Pontinen was the fastest of the group 1 drivers in eleventh place while Aliyyah Koloc will lead the Lady Trophy pack in 16th place.
EuroNASCAR PRO Round 3 kicks off the race action at 1:55 pm CEST (12:55pm local time), while the EuroNASCAR 2 race will start at 5:15 pm CEST (4:15 pm local time). All races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR.com, the NWES YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from around the world.