Second win at Circuit Zolder: Gianmarco Ercoli climbs to the championship battle

Two more wins to capture the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title: Gianmarco Ercoli swept the NASCAR GP Belgium with another strong win at Circuit Zolder and fought his way back into title contention. With the regular season ending, all drivers dropped their two worst results and the CAAL Racing ace leaped from sixth to second in points. In the provisional standings, the Italian is only six points shy of championship leader and three-time Champion Alon Day. 

The 18-lap EuroNASCAR PRO race kicked off with a strong start for Ercoli, who defended his position from a charging Marc Goossens. The Rome native kept the local hero at bay but a late multi-car crash in turn 1 triggered the second caution of the race. Race Control consequently opted to end the race behind the safety car. Ercoli crossed the finish line first to conquer what was his third race win of the season. 

“I’m happy because today I re-opened the championship battle! The result was very good and now I go to the finals in a very good position. For the second or third year in a row I arrived at the finals with a chance to win the championship. I’m happy for me, the team, and the sponsors. Today was very hard because Marc was very quick and in previous years Marc always was extremely fast here,” said Ercoli in the Victory Lane.

With Alon Day only finishing 27th, Ercoli closed the gap in the championship battle to only six points ahead of the double-points EuroNASCAR PRO Finals at Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia. The two rivals, who clashed at Brands Hatch and Autodrom Most this season, will for sure deliver a phenomenal showdown filled with emotions and pure racing. But there are still more drivers in contention to win the 2022 NWES title. 

Anthony Kumpen is not one of them, but the local hero conquered second place on the lone restart with a brave dive on the inside of turn 1 against Goossens. The Belgian finished second after a disastrous race on Saturday due to power steering issues in his #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro. The team boss and two-time Champion is working on a full-time comeback in 2023.  

Autodrom Most race winner Sebastiaan Bleekemolen completed the overall podium after inheriting third position when the late crash in turn 1 took out championship contender Giorgio Maggi. Vittorio Ghirelli tried to pass Goossens on the inside but the two made contact and collected more cars in the aftermath of the incident. Maggi was only ranked 20th and therefore the Swiss will be in fifth place, 26 points behind Day in the standings, when the NWES field heads to Croatia. 

Fabrizio Armetta also took advantage from the crash and grabbed the win in the Challenger Trophy for bronze and silver drivers by finishing fourth overall. It was the best result for any The Club Motorsport driver in the 2022 NWES season. Kenko Miura completed the top-5 to round out a solid comeback for the Japanese, who scored his personal best result in his EuroNASCAR PRO career. He was followed by Jonne Rautjarvi, who took his maiden win in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under. 

Claudio Cappelli was seventh and therefore finished third in the Challenger Trophy ranks behind Armetta and Miura. Remo Lips stormed into the top-10 in what was his only second race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Leonardo Colavita crossed the finish line in ninth to take second in the Junior Trophy ranks, while Frederic Gabillon closed the top-10. Cosimo Barberini and Thomas Dombrowski rounded out the Challenger Trophy and Junior Trophy podiums respectively. 

After suffering from a puncture during the race, Alexander Graff made a great comeback to finish 15th under the checkered flag. Despite this, with Ercoli’s sweep the Swede moved down to third in the points standings, eight points down from Alon Day. Ercoli moved up to second place with only six points separating him and Day while his teammate Nicolo Rocca kept the fourth spot in the standings ahead of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals at the beautiful Croatian Riviera.

The 2022 EuroNASCAR PRO Champion will be crowned on October 29-30 when the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to Automotodrom Grobnik for the EuroNASCAR Finals. All four races of the nail-biting Finals will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and several TV services from around the world.