Yevgen Sokolovskiy takes over the lead in the EuroNASCAR PRO Challenger Trophy

It was a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series weekend that Yevgen Sokolovskiy will not forget. The Ukrainian scored his second EuroNASCAR PRO top-10 finish and ended up second in the Challenger Trophy standings for bronze and silver drivers in NWES’ premier championship. The Marko Stipp Motorsport driver therefore took over the lead in the overall standings of the special classification with an eight points advantage on Henri Tuomaala, who had a nightmare of a race weekend.

With no scores dropped, Yevgen Sokolovskiy has 176 points on his tally, while Tuomaala – the winningest Challenger Trophy driver ever with 18 class wins – collected 168 points so far. The latter finished 19th and 21st in the races at Autodrom Most and lost his momentum in the battle for the Challenger Trophy. With Sokolovskiy being the new leader, the regular season finale at Circuit Zolder on October 8-9 promises a lot of excitement.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric

All drivers are allowed to drop their two worst results after the NASCAR GP Belgium as the series then heads towards the finals at Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia, which will award double points. Sokolovskiy will do his best to keep his form and defend the lead at Circuit Zolder. The driver of the #48 Chevrolet Camaro is poised to take the next step and win the maiden EuroNASCAR PRO trophy of his career.

“The team did an amazing job at Autodrom Most and I had a new spotter, a GT3 driver from Ukraine,” said Sokolovskiy. “He’s helping me a lot as he’s a racecar driver himself. Qualifying is still my biggest weakness, but the pace in the races was really good. I had good battles, avoided the chaos and brought home the car without any major scratches. I injured my hand on Saturday in the EuroNASCAR 2 race, so the following EuroNASCAR PRO race was a tough challenge. I’m satisfied and really happy about the performance. I know Zolder very well and hope to defend my lead.”

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

The driver of the weekend in the Challenger Trophy was for sure Max Lanza in his #88 Chevrolet Camaro. The CAAL Racing driver won both races in the Challenger Trophy to increase his wins total to three in the special classification over the course of the 2022 season. Lanza sits in fifth in the Challenger Trophy ranks behind Sokolovskiy, Tuomaala, Cosimo Barberini and Fabrizio Armetta.

The Italian missed out on the races at Brands Hatch Circuit due to an injury, but with the joker races applied, Lanza could make his way back in the title battle for the Challenger Trophy in EuroNASCAR PRO. He finished sixth in Saturday’s race in the Czech Republic and ninth on Sunday, collecting two top-10 finishes with the Italian powerhouse CAAL Racing. Lanza is set to take on the challenge and fight for the title at Automotodrom Grobnik.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric

“AfterQualifying, the morale was bad, but we were able to transform our sadness into the right power for race 1. And it worked! 14 positions gained in a very eventful race: overtakes, contacts, safety car and restarts. We crossed the finish line sixth, my team went mad! With a luckier Qualifying, we could have also aimed for the podium!” commented Lanza. “Race 2 was less eventful and we battled with the top drivers. We raced thinking about the championship and we brought home another top-10 and the second win in the Challenger Trophy. It was a perfect weekend!”

With Barberini and Armetta, there are two more drivers who aim for the Challenger Trophy win at the end of the 2022 EuroNASCAR PRO season. The Club Motorsport driver Armetta is a true NWES veteran, who joined the series back in 2013, while Speedhouse’s Barberini is a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series rookie. Both Italian drivers had a solid season so far and therefore cannot be crossed off the list of the Challenger Trophy contenders.

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Two more Italians follow in sixth and seventh of the special classification: Dario Caso and Ricciardo Romagnoli. They are ahead of their fellow countrymen Claudio Cappelli and Davide Dallara, while Federico Monti and Nicolo Gabossi round out the top-11 of the Challenger Trophy standings. All of them have two more opportunities in the current season to step up their game and leave a mark in Europe’s official NASCAR series.

The regular season finale at Circuit Zolder in Belgium will take place on October 8-9, while the 2022 NWES season will come to an end at Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia on October 29-30. All qualifying sessions and races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and plenty of TV services from around the world.