Toine Hezemans must be proud: Liam Hezemans grabbed his maiden NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Series win in a two-lap overtime dash to the checkered flag. The younger brother of the reigning NWES Champion Loris Hezemans is the second son of Toine to make a visit to Victory Lane. The Dutchman made a late pass in Overtime to pip Alberto Naska, who ended up second and crowned himself Prince of Brands Hatch in EuroNASCAR 2.
Just three years after Loris Hezemans’ maiden EuroNASCAR PRO win at Hockenheimring, Germany, Liam Hezemans became the first Dutch driver to win in EuroNASCAR 2 in what was only his fourth start in the second NWES championship.
It was Vladimiros Tziortzis who took the lead from Pole Position after a good launch to Paddock Hill Bend. While Naska took second, Francesco Garisto had to stop his car on the exit of Graham Hill Bend due to a puncture, triggering the first Safety Car period of the race. On lap 15, Naska delivered a tremendous move on the outside of turn 1 passing Vladimiros Tziortzis.
Matthias Hauer crashed on lap 19 at Paddock Hill Bend, initiating another caution. On the ensuing restart, Naska held the lead and already had his third consecutive win in sight, but Paolo Valeri spun on lap 27 triggering the last Safety Car period. The race went in Overtime, with Naska leading the field to the green flag for a thrilling two-lap dash.
But it was Hezemans, who made a perfect single-file start, overtook Tziortzis on the outside and challenged Naska for the lead. The driver of the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang dived to the inside of Naska and took over the first position on the last lap of the race in Paddock Hill Bend. Hezemans sped to victory and celebrated his maiden win in auto racing in the Victory Lane of the American SpeedFest.
“It was crazy! I’m incredibly happy, it was an awesome weekend for sure!” said Hezemans, who also topped the Rookie Trophy classification. “We just heard on the radio that Mark told me we’re going into Overtime, so two laps to go! I just tried it and it worked out. I’m so incredibly happy!”
“I have to say thanks to all my team, that’s for sure! They did an amazing job after I crashed the car on Friday so they just did an amazing job and I have the best coaches in my dad and Loris, two-time NASCAR champion! I have no words!”
Naska, who was also second in the Rookie Trophy standings, made his fourth consecutive visit to the EuroNASCAR 2 podium after winning two races in the row at Valencia and Brands Hatch. The Italian leaves the UK as the newly crowned Prince of Brands Hatch and still the championship leader. The CAAL Racing driver is now leading the championship by 11 points ahead of Liam Hezemans, with Vladimiros Tziortzis and Martin Doubek a further 4 points behind in joint third place.
Polesitter Vladimiros Tziortzis ended up third rounding out another solid weekend in his #5 Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport EuroNASCAR FJ. He was followed by reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek in fourth and Claudio Cappelli, who completed the Rookie Trophy podium and topped the Legend Trophy standings. Ulysse Delsaux was sixth ahead of Alberto Panebianco and Patrick Schober, who scored his maiden top-10 result in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Paul Jouffreau crossed the finish line in ninth, while Tuomas Pontinen closed the top-10. Marko Stipp Motorsport had a say in Legend Trophy classification with Miguel Gomes in second and Yevgen Sokolovskiy in third – the pair ended up 14th and 15th. Taking honors in the Lady Trophy was Aliyyah Koloc ahead of Luli Del Castello and Alina Loibnegger.
With another successful American Speedfest at Brands Hatch in the books, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will head to Vallelunga, Italy, on July 9-10. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR.com, the NWES YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and plenty of TV services from around the world.
Featured image by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric