NASCAR GP BELGIUM 2018
Day takes over the championship lead with a spectacular win
The CAAL Racing driver edges Stienes Longin at Circuit Zolder
One race can change everything: Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry) jumped back on top of the ELITE 1 standings after winning the first Euro NASCAR Final at the iconic Circuit Zolder. The Israeli prevailed at the end of an intense battle against 2016 ELITE 2 Champion Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro), who finished second by 1.048 seconds.
Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Competition Toyota Camry) kept his title run alive by finishing third while Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mavi Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) and Loris Hezemans (#50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang) both took a big hit by being forced to retire when running in the top-5.
Day overtook Longin 12 laps into the 16-lap race after surrendering the lead to the Belgian at the first corner. The Israeli had then to defend his first place from the return of Longin, who put a lot of pressure on the defending champion. Day was able to sustain the pressure and grabbed the checkered flag.
“I don’t have words,” said Day after the intense duel with Longin. “It’s crazy winning this race. It was the fairest fight I’ve ever had and it was so much fun to drive. I knew that I was in a good position for the championship as Stienes is not part of the battle, but he was so quick and drove so good. He’s definitely going to be a contender next year. It’s nice to see drivers coming from ELITE 2 stepping up this way. I hope to start the next race well and keep the lead. It’s not gonna be easy as Stienes will start next to me but I will do my best.”
Longin, who was ninth in the overall standings before the first Final, led his first laps in ELITE 1 in what was arguably his best race in the top division.
“It was an awesome race,” said Longin, who finished second in front of his home crowd. “I overtook Alon at the start on the outside and grabbed the lead. After that he was pushing really hard. Later on he was just a little bit stronger and faster than me. It was not much but he was better. I’m a really happy with the race.”
Gabillon finished third after climbing his way up the ranking from the 5th place on the grid. The Frenchman moved up to second after the DNFs of Lasserre and Hezemans. Gabillon have has now to gain 14 points on Day in the ELITE 1 Final on Sunday.
“Alon took 12 points, so I’m 14 points behind now,” said Gabillon, who is motivated to get his first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title on Sunday. “I have to win tomorrow. We will see what will happen but today it was a tough day for me. Something broke with 10 laps to go. I was scared to have to retire, too. I’m sorry for Loris, who broke something on the back of his car, and Lucas. Everything can happen here. For us, it’s not too bad of course.”
Lucas Lasserre had to retire due to a problem with his brakes. “I’m so disappointed and I don’t know what to say,” said Lasserre after the race. “I tried to pump the pedal to get the pressure back, but there was nothing I could do. It’s a shame to lose our chances like this.”
Hezemans suffered a mechanical problem and had to come back to the pits on lap 9.
Alexander Graff (#77 Memphis Racing Chevrolet Camaro) ended up fourth, collecting his best result in his NWES debut season so far. Nicolò Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry) won the Junior Trophy by rounding out the top-5 ahead of Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang).
Christophe Bouchut (#66 Dexwet-DF1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro) was seventh ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang), Francesco Sini (#12 Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro) and Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang), who closed the top-10. Henri Tuomaala (#1 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang) won the Challenger Trophy ahead of Dario Caso (#8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) and Fabrizio Armetta (#41 The Club Motorsports Ford Mustang) by finishing 16th.
The ELITE 1 will be back in action on Sunday at 3:10 pm CET. The championship is on the line with Day and Gabillon fighting for the title. The last race of the ELITE 1 season will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR Facebook page, Youtube channel and Twitter profile, on Motorsport.tv and on a vast network of websites and social media profiles including right here at MotorRacingPress.com.
ELITE 1 Final 1 | NASCAR GP BELGIUM 2018
Photo Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard
Date – October 20-21
Type – Road Course
Turns – 10
ABOUT NASCAR WHELEN EURO SERIES
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series was founded in 2008 and established the NASCAR official European Series in January 2012 thanks to a long-term partnership signed with NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), Team FJ, a Motorsports company located in Blois, France, and Whelen Engineering as title sponsor of the Series.The season is made up of 24 races, equally split among ELITE 1 and ELITE 2 divisions, on the best European tracks. Euro NASCAR introduced a stunning innovation on July 7-8, 2012 by organizing the first ever NASCAR race on an oval track in Europe on a half-mile speedway built in the downtown of Tours (France). With four races in two days, these 400 HP V8 monsters provide pure racing action and thrilling bumper-to-bumper battles as well as a lot of family fun around the track! In the pure NASCAR tradition, race fans can get closer to the action than ever and feel the unique in Europe paddock atmosphere thanks to drivers, teams and cars always available for the spectators.The series attracts drivers from all over the world, all willing to fight on track for the win and take the first step towards becoming a NASCAR star in the U.S