Gianmarco Ercoli impresses with a dominant flag-to-flag win at Brands Hatch

Gianmarco Ercoli and the Indy Circuit of Brands Hatch are the perfect match. The Italian scored a dominant race win in the wake of the tenth anniversary of the American SpeedFest – the most popular event on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series calendar. The CAAL Racing driver started from Pole Position and defended his lead at the start when the 25-car field dove into Paddock Hill Bend for the first of 38 laps. The Italian from Rome immediately built up a comfortable gap on his chasers, managed his Hoosier Tires and brought home a phenomenal win for the powerhouse led by Luca and Corrado Canneori. 

It was Ercoli’s sixth career EuroNASCAR PRO win and after a rollercoaster of emotions at the season opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain the CAAL Racing driver is eager to make up ground in the points standings. It was the team’s sixth race win at Brands Hatch and Ercoli’s second victory after he hit the milestone of becoming the first ever EuroNASCAR 2 Champion to win in the NWES premier championship in 2018. 

“The Flag-to-flag win was the result of an incredible progression of the car, so it’s an amazing race! I used all of my potential during the race and I improved my driving lap-by-lap. I’m happy for the team, for myself, for my sponsors as a win here is always incredible,” said Ercoli in the Victory Lane. “I tried to save the tires a little bit, but the drivers behind me were very fast so I just managed to do that after posting some quick laps, just towards the finish.”

While Ercoli managed his lead and worked to save his tires for Sunday’s race, Vittorio Ghirelli and Liam Hezemans had an intense battle for second. On lap 5, Ghirelli took advantage of a little mistake by the Hendriks Motorsport driver to wrestle his #72 Team Bleekemolen Toyota Camry past the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Camry. Hezemans threw several attacks against the Italian, but in the end he had to settle for third and the win in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under. 

An American SpeedFest veteran and two-time NWES Champion followed in fourth: Anthony Kumpen. The Belgian was able to match the pace of the leading group but the decisive move to make it to the overall podium was never in his reach. Still, the driver of the #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro managed to finish EuroNASCAR PRO Round 3 ahead of Ghirelli’s teammate Sebastiaan Bleekmolen, who closed the top-5. Race Art Technologies Giorgio Maggi followed in sixth, claiming the second spot on the Junior Trophy podium. 

NWES returnee Tobias Dauenhauer had a solid comeback at the wheel of the brand new #99 Chevrolet Camaro. A third place in the Junior Trophy ranks and an overall top-10 result highlighted a strong debut by the new German NASCAR team Bremotion led by Patrick Brenndörfer. Entering the race as the championship leader, Speedhouse team owner Lucas Lasserre had his hands full on making up ground. In the end, the Frenchman made it from twelfth on the grid to eighth place. 

Dauenhauer and Lasserre had an amazing battle with Fabrizio Armetta who was able to keep his competitors at bay until lap 27, but in the end, the Italian had to let both rivals go past. Still, the The Club Motorsport driver crossed the finish line in ninth and therefore he claimed the win in the Challenger Trophy at the wheel of his #55 Chevrolet Camaro. He was joined on the special classification’s podium by Thomas Toffel (15th) and Massimiliano Lanza (17th). Frederic Gabillon rounded out the top-10. 

Vladimiros Tziortzis started from seventh but suffered from technical issues on his #5 Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport EuroNASCAR FJ and had to park his car off track right after the first corner. Martin Doubek also was in trouble and when he crossed the track to head to the pits, Roberto Benedetti and Advait Deodhar made contact while trying to avoid the #7 Ford. Benedetti was able to continue but Deodhar crashed hard into the wall at the start-finish straight. 

While the EuroNASCAR PRO drivers will be back in action on Sunday at 14:00 CEST, EuroNASCAR 2 Round 3 will start at 17:30 CEST on Saturday. All races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and several TV channels from all around the world.