Hezemans captures nail biting win in front of home crowd, after an action packed round 9 of the Nascar Whelen Euro series on Raceway Venray

Last weekend the NASCAR Whelen Euro series travelled to Raceway Venray, the half mile oval in the Netherlands for round 9 of the championship. Hezemans crossed the finish line after 100 laps as the winner of the event after an action packed race, which saw the lead being swapped 3 times around between three different drivers. Round 9 on Raceway Venray proved to be the last event of the regular season, before dropping into the playoffs for the next round at Hockenheimring on September 21st & 22nd.

Loris Hezemans showed from the start a fast pace after he finished 2nd in free practice, with former F1 and Indycar Champion Jacques Villeneuve just in front. Although the position was strong Hezemans was not completely happy with the car, he explains “Our car would be ok for 4 laps and after it would start to understeer quite badly, we made some big changes to the set up and are hoping it works out for qualifying”.

Qualifying saw three main contenders which battled it out for pole position between the #50 Hendriks Motorsport car of Hezemans, the #11 PK Carsport of Stienes Longin and the #32 GoFas Racing of Jacques Villeneuve, who in his final run edged out Hezemans by 0.044 of a second from grabbing pole position. Next up came the race where the #32 of Villeneuve shared the front row with the #50 of Hezemans who had a good start and attempted a few attacks on Villeneuve, meanwhile the pair were building a gap of 4 seconds over 3rd place until the 1st caution of the race came out on lap 35. Following was a safety car restart which saw the battle get joined by the #11 of Longin who took 2nd place from Hezemans after he fought with low tyre pressures.

The race was briefly red flagged after an accident to the #7 car of Martin Doubek and followed what would be the 3rd and final safety car restart of the race. At the restart there was a brief contact between Villeneuve and Longin, which saw the ex F1 World Champion dropping places and Longin taking the lead with a charging Hezemans just behind. Hezemans knew that with 36 laps to go this was the moment to try and fight back towards victory in front of his home crowd.

Hezemans continued applying pressure from lap 74 onwards to try and capitalize from any small mistake Longin would make, this small error came in lap 85 after the PK Carsport driver ran slightly too wide into turn one and Hezemans was able to grab the inside line and run side by side with the #11 on the backstretch, a slide job move by the #50 of Hezemans into turn 3 and allowed him to grab the lead. From there on out the Hendriks Motorsport driver pulled away and crossed the line as the winner of round 9 at Raceway Venray and back to back winner after his win in round 8 in Most, just behind him the #24 of Nicolo Rocca in 2nd and the #32 of Jacques Villeneuve in 3rd after Stienes Longin received a penalty for a collision with the #32 and dropped back to P14.

Loris Hezemans comments in his post race interview “ I could not have asked for a better way to win, the sensation of winning in front of a home crowd at the only oval on the calendar is a truly amazing experience. It was a very intense and fun race, I had to keep the pressure all race long on either Jacques Villeneuve or Stienes Longin but at the same time to try and conserve my tyres for the last 30 laps where I knew it would be go time. Thankfully my tactic worked and I was able to take the lead with 15 laps to go and cross the finish line as winner of my home race. Lastly I would like to give a huge thank you to my team Hendriks Motorsport who have yet again performed beyond expectations, along with this for me to bring them the victory at their home track is a great feeling.”

The current championship standings have been shuffled around Loris Hezemans jumps to 2nd place in the championship just 7 points behind championship leader Stienes Longin. One point behind Hezemans in 3rd place stands the #24 PK Carsport car of Nicolo Rocca with Alon Day in 4th. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series goes into its summer break before heading into the double points playoffs at the Hockenheimring for round 10 & 11 on September 21st and 22nd.