The battle for the 2022 Challenger Trophy in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is quickly becoming one of the most interesting of the season. In the special classification for bronze and silver drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO, Henri Tuomaala leads Yevgen Sokolovskiy by only five points. In addition, Fabrizio Armetta and Cosimo Barberini are also still in reach to find their way back into the title battle after the 2022 season hit the halfway-point in Italy.
Two-time Challenger Trophy champion Henri Tuomaala expanded his all-time Challenger Trophy classification lead with a dominant double win that brought his record count to 18 race wins. The closest driver in the list is Armetta, with 13 wins. The Italian is still looking for his first special classification victory of 2022. Tuomaala, driving the #23 Team Bleekemolen Ford Mustang is poised to become the first ever three-time Challenger Trophy champion in the history of EuroNASCAR.
“In Italy, we started to find some speed and pace,” said Tuomaala, who’s tenth in the overall EuroNASCAR PRO standings. “I had a very bad start in Saturday’s race at the Autodromo di Vallelunga but luckily I was able to gain back a lot of positions. Sunday was a very good race and the pace was there and intact. I wish to continue the upward trend we had and take the momentum to the next races and the end of the season.”
Yevgen Sokolovskiy is only five points shy of the Finn and set to give all his best to conquer the lead and his maiden title in EuroNASCAR. The Ukrainian is – like Armetta – still hunting for his first Challenger Trophy win of the season but impressed so far with his consistency. The Marko Stipp Motorsport driver already stormed into the EuroNASCAR PRO top-10 once and sits in eleventh in the overall standings, right behind Tuomaala.
“This year, I’m very happy with my results in EuroNASCAR PRO,” said Sokolovskiy. “I improved my pace and I always fight with the same group of drivers: Dallara, Armetta and Tuomaala. In Vallelunga I scored a top-10 result which was a blast for me. The upcoming tracks at Most, Zolder and Grobnik suit me very well, so I hope to make another step forward and gain some places in the overall standings and grab the Challenger Trophy lead.”
With 18 points to gain on Tuomaala, Armetta follows in third place. The Italian already scored two overall top-10 results in the 2022 NWES season but lacks a little bit of consistency to keep up with Tuomaala and Sokolovskiy. The Italian has a strong pace and cannot be crossed out in the championship battle. After the summer break, Armetta will for sure be prepared to close the gap on the top-2 and fight for the title.
Barberini is a true rookie in the 2022 EuroNASCAR PRO season but the Italian showed a promising pace on his Speedhouse Chevrolet so far. He’s only 25 points behind the Challenger Trophy leader and is still learning to improve his skills at the wheel of a 400hp V8 beast. With the learning curve pointing steep to the top, Barberini could become a surprise in the battle for the special classification’s title.
Dario Caso closes the top-5 in 17th overall, followed by Max Lanza, who missed the NASCAR GP UK due to an ear injury. The one-time Challenger Trophy winner in 2022 leads 2020 champion Davide Dallara, Ricciardo Romagnoli and Claudio Cappelli. Nicolo Gabossi and Christoph Lenz follow in 25th and 26th overall. The record-breaking Challenger Trophy grid is completed by Federico Monti, Ian Eric Waden, Bernardo Manfre, Constantin Kletzer, Stefano Attianese and Yannick Panagiotis.
The 2022 NWES season will continue after the summer break with a total of four races at the Autodromo Most in the Czech Republic. The races on September 3-4 will be broadcast on EuroNASCAR’s official YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and plenty of TV services from around the world.