The 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season is set for a thrilling Sunday with two championships on the line. In EuroNASCAR 2 Liam Hezemans closed in on Alberto Naska by speeding to a phenomenal victory at Automotodrom Grobnik. The Dutchman took the lead at the start by overtaking polesitter Vladimiros Tziortzis in the first turn. Naska also got past the Cypriot, slotted in for second and started to hunt down the Hendriks Motorsport driver. Despite Naska’s efforts, Hezemans managed to pull away and collected his fifth win of the season, moving within three points of the points leader.
The #50 Toyota Camry drove like on rails, allowing Hezemans to extend his lead lap by lap, while Naska battled for second with Tziortzis. The younger brother of two-time EuroNASCAR PRO Champion Loris Hezemans cruised to victory and clocked the second fastest lap of the race that will grant him a starting spot on the first row for Sunday’s final race of the season. Tziortzis will start from pole while Naska grabbed the third spot on the grid for EuroNASCAR 2 Final 2.
“It’s crazy given where we were early in the season! Thanks to my whole team, the car was just perfect! It’s now closer than ever, that’s the first step and now we try to take the second step tomorrow!” said Hezemans in Victory Lane. “I think it’ll be a bit more difficult because I think he expects it, but I’m definitely super happy! This is exactly what we needed to keep the championship alive.”
“It was a tough race, there was not a single corner where I was able to relax,” said Naska. “Liam was definitely faster than me and I was defending against Vladimiros, who was also faster than me. It was really difficult. I’m a little bit sad, because we struggled with the setup today. Liam and Vladimiros found a good setup while we are still struggling. It’s all about tomorrow and I will do my best to bring home the big title!”
Naska was set to attack Hezemans and challenge the Dutchman for the win, but the CAAL Racing driver found himself in defense mode as Tziortzis was charging throughout the whole 14-lap race. In the end Naska kept the Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver at bay and limited the damage ahead of the final race of the season. The Italian is still the championship leader but the battle couldn’t be much tighter.
This is the math for the last race of the season: Whoever between Naska and Hezemans wins Sunday’s race is going to be the EuroNASCAR 2 champion, but if another driver visits Victory Lane things are getting more complicated. In this case, to win the title Hezemans would need to finish at least two positions ahead of Naska. These are the ingredients for a spectacular EuroNASCAR 2 finale.
Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek finished fourth behind Tziortzis in third, while Melvin de Groot not only rounded out the top-5 but also topped the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and more. Tuomas Pontinen completed the Rookie Trophy podium behind Hezemans and Naska in sixth after an intense battle with Claudio Cappelli in seventh.
Christian Malcharek followed in eighth ahead of Club Challenge runner-up Neo Lambert, who scored his second top-10 finish in just his second EuroNASCAR 2 race weekend. Leonardo Colavita completed the top-10. Luli Del Castello won the battle in the Lady Trophy ahead of Alina Loibnegger and Arianna Casoli to strengthen her solid position in the battle for the victory in the special classification.
The 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championships and trophies will be decided in Sunday’s races. The Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia will continue with the EuroNASCAR 2 Final 2 at 10:10 am CET, while the EuroNASCAR PRO will culminate a phenomenal season at 1:45 pm CET. All races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all round the world.