Vittorio Ghirelli delights Italian fans with victory in home NASCAR GP

The domination of Vittorio Ghirelli at his home race continues with a stunning victory in the first EuroNASCAR PRO race of the NASCAR GP Italy. The driver of the #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro fended off Paul Jouffreau at the start and then masterfully defended his lead in a Full Course Yellow restart on lap 5. He then earned a comfortable lead to secure his second victory of the season, the fifth in his career. The Italian celebrated the hard fought victory with his family in Victory Lane, giving his fans a memory to cherish.

Despite threats of rain, the sun shone on the field for the entirety of the race. Fans were treated with exciting action from start to finish, in particular on the occasion of the Full Course Yellow restart with a bunched up field. The restart changed the complex of the race for many of the drivers, but none of this affected Ghirelli who maintained his lead across all 18 laps to bring home a second consecutive win in the NASCAR GP Italy, having previously won Race 2 of the 2023 edition of the American Festival of Rome at Autodromo di Vallelunga.

“It’s fantastic to win here in front of my fans, my family and so many friends,” said Ghirelli in Victory Lane. “It was a strong race but we have to get the job done tomorrow as well. It was a bit tricky because I felt some vibrations in the car but the balance was just amazing. But it was tough to keep holding the wheel in my hands because the car bounced a lot. We will fix this tonight for tomorrow’s race.”

The restart was a blessing for Gianmarco Ercoli, who timed his launch to perfection. The reigning champion overtook Paul Jouffreau and Tobias Dauenhauer to secure a second place finish with the #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet. The Italian did lose a position to Lucas Lasserre near the end, but he let the Frenchman go pass because he received the information from his spotter that the #33 Mustang was penalized for exceeding track limits. Thanks to a strong pace at the end of the race and  on-track battles that hindered his rivals’ progress, Lasserre still managed to claim the final step of the podium.

Martin Doubek fought hard at the front and was rewarded with a fourth place finish. Dauenhauer fell victim to an unlucky chain of events on the restart, but the German Bremotion driver still secured a top-5 result ahead of Club Motorsport’s Fabrizio Armetta. Dauenhauer was unhappy with Lasserre as the two made contact, while Lasserre insisted on having a clean car as proof for not making any contact. The incident is currently under investigation. Marc Goossens was on the verge of the podium, but the Belgian also received a penalty for not respecting the track limits that dropped him to seventh. Jouffreau and Liam Hezemans also had penalties on their own, but they were still able to secure a 1-2 finish in the Junior Trophy.

Vladimiros Tziortzis completed the top-10 in his first race of the season on the #1 Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen had to start from 19th due to a penalty from the Big One in Spain, but the Dutch driver recovered well to finish just outside of the top-10. Ryan Vargas took third in the Junior Trophy in twelfth ahead of Challenger Trophy winner Riccardo Romagnoli, who fought well despite handling issues on his car. Max Lanza and Paolo Valeri rounded out the top-3 in the special classification for elite amateurs.

The provisional standings see Ghirelli in the lead with 115 points, a 15-point advantage over Lassere. Marc Goossens sits in third, 19 points behind the leader and three points ahead of Ercoli. Jouffreau rounds out the top-5, four points further down the order.

EuroNASCAR PRO action will resume on Sunday with Ghirelli on pole. Looking at the fastest lap time of the race, the Italian was just 0.064 seconds faster than Ercoli who will start from second. EuroNASCAR 2 Round 3 is still to come at 17:25 CEST. All exciting races from the NASCAR GP Italy will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and numerous TV channels around the world.

EuroNASCAR PRO Results | EuroNASCAR 2 Results