The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will head to Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia on 29-30 October to crown the EuroNASCAR PRO, EuroNASCAR 2 and Trophy champions. With four exciting races scheduled over the weekend – two in each division – the fans can expect close and intense battles for the titles and memorable races at the 4.2 kilometer long track on the Croatian Riviera. With double points on the line, the drivers will have to give their best to beat their fellow competitors and make the dream of becoming the European NASCAR champion come true.
The race track close to the beautiful city of Rijeka will host the EuroNASCAR Finals for the first time ever. The fast and twisty track in Grobnik has been part of the NWES schedule since 2020 and provided amazing races in the past. The Esses on the back section of the track presented are a true challenge for the drivers as they have to wrestle the 400hp V8 EuroNASCAR cars around the fast turns without any driving aids. The Automotodrom Grobnik is unique and the ideal venue to host the final races of the 2022 NWES season.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Will the record fall?
Alon Day is the championship leader ahead of the last two EuroNASCAR PRO races of the season. The Israeli is on a mission to become the first ever driver to earn four championship rings. The PK Carsport driver is tied with three championship wins with Ander Vilarino and is looking to add one more record to the many all-time standings he already leads. After a tough weekend at Circuit Zolder, the winningest driver in NWES history dropped his two worst results of the regular season and still leads the championship by just six points ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli.
Ercoli gained a lot of momentum at Circuit Zolder with a perfect sweep. The Italian won both races in dominant fashion and jumped from seventh to second in the overall classification. The CAAL Racing driver is set for the championship battle and predicted that he has to win both final races in Croatia to become the 2022 EuroNASCAR PRO Champion. Both Ercoli and Day have already won at Automotodrom Grobnik in the past and this is why there is no way to predict the outcome of the championship battle.
There are three more drivers eager to crash the party and join the championship battle. Brands Hatch race winner Alexander Graff impressed with his consistency and the Speedhouse driver sits only eight points down on Day in third position. He’s followed by Valencia race winner Nicolo Rocca in fourth. The Italian is 21 points shy of the leader and still has all chances to win the title for CAAL Racing. Race Art Technology’s Giorgio Maggi is still hunting his maiden EuroNASCAR PRO win, but the Swiss is 26 points down on Day and still in the reach to win the title. Maggi also holds a comfortable lead in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under.
The Challenger Trophy for bronze and silver drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO is tighter than ever before. Ahead of the EuroNASCAR Finals, Fabrizio Armetta and Max Lanza are tied in points. While Armetta is eager to reconquer the title after winning it in 2014, for Lanza it would be the ideal addition to the Legend Trophy he won in 2021. Two-time Challenger Trophy Champion Henri Tuomaala sits in third, lurking for his chance to bring home another piece of silverware for his trophy room. Cosimo Barberini also has realistic chances of winning the title if the Italian has a perfect weekend in Croatia.
EuroNASCAR 2: Naska versus Hezemans
Alberto Naska suffered from a little setback in the regular season finale at Circuit Zolder in Belgium due to a gearbox change during the Saturday race. Despite that, the EuroNASCAR 2 championship leader still tops the standings with 306 points on his tally after dropping his two worst results. The Italian rookie has a 13 points advantage over Liam Hezemans, who will be challenging Naska for the title until the very last meter of the 2022 NWES season. Naska won five races so far and therefore is the winningest driver of the season.
Hezemans had a perfect weekend in Zolder and parked his #50 Hendriks Motorsport Toyota Camry in Victory Lane twice. The perfect sweep and the issues Naska faced brought the Dutchman much closer in the championship battle: with a 13-point deficit, Hezemans is targeting to beat Naska and step into the footsteps of his older brother Loris Hezemans, who won the EuroNASCAR PRO championship twice and moved to the NASCAR Cup Series in the USA. Naska and Hezemans will also race for glory in the Rookie Trophy.
Reigning champion Martin Doubek needs a miracle to fight his way back into title contention. The Czech driver is third in the overall standings with a gap of 50 points from Naska. He’s followed by 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 champion Ulysse Delsaux who’s only one marker further back. Vladimiros Tziortzis, who is looking to return to action at Automotodrom Grobnik after his violent crash at Circuit Zolder, is fifth. The Cypriot had bad luck all over the season and his chances of winning the title are very slim.
Three drivers will try to grab third place in the Rookie Trophy behind Naska and Hezemans: Tuomas Pontinen, Paul Jouffreau and Patrick Schober. They sit in sixth, seventh and tenth in the overall EuroNASCAR 2 standings. Melvin de Groot leads the Legend Trophy ranks for drivers aged 40 and more. The Dutchman is ninth overall and will be fighting for the title against Miguel Gomes, who’s 28 points down to the Team Bleekemolen driver. In the Lady Trophy, Luli Del Castello is ahead of three-time Champion Arianna Casoli and Alina Loibnegger. The challengers are tied in points behind the Italian points leader.
In the Club Challenge that will hit the track already on Friday, October 28, reigning champion Gordon Barnes leads only one point ahead of youngster Neo Lambert. As in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, the regularity based Club Challenge will be decided in the very last session of the season. Barnes could become the second driver to win two Club Challenge titles in a row after Alain Mosqueron was victorious in 2019 and 2020.
The Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia will take place on October 29-30 at Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from around the world. The latest news are available on EuroNASCAR.com and the NWES social media profiles: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
GT youngster set for debut – German GT4 champion Mike David Ortmann will take the place behind the wheel of the #48 Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet. The 22-year-old will be a non-championship and compete for glory in the Junior Trophy.
Four different winners at Grobnik – Four different drivers won the four EuroNASCAR PRO races held at Grobnik so far: Stienes Longin, Alon Day, Loris Hezemans and Gianmarco Ercoli. A win for Ercoli or Day may prove decisive in the battle for the NWES title.
Fabrizio Armetta wants to tie a record – Fabrizio Armetta is looking to reconquer the Challenger Trophy after winning it in 2014. In doing so, he would tie Henri Tuoomala on top of the all-time list with two titles. To his advantage, the Italian holds two wins in the special classification at Grobnik in 2021.
Will Pontinen finally win? – Tuomas Pontinen is surely one of the surprises of the 2022 NWES season. The Finn proved several times that he has what it takes to become a race winner in EuroNASCAR. Will he deliver in Croatia?
Serbian driver set for first NASCAR outing – Zoran Kastratovic will join Not Only Motorsport in EuroNASCAR 2. It will be the first time for a Serbian driver in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
18-year-old GT ace is excited about his debut – Making his debut on the #48 Marko Stipp Motorsport Camaro, Hugo Sasse spoke enthusiastically about the challenges of driving a EuroNASCAR car. The 18-year-old recently won the German GT4 title sharing the car with Mike David Ortmann.