Vladimiros Tziortzis dances in the rain: The Cypriot sweeps the EuroNASCAR 2 weekend at Brands Hatch

The 2023 American SpeedFest ended with a phenomenal EuroNASCAR 2 race that will go down in the history books of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Rain hit the Indy Circuit in Brands Hatch and all teams started on wet Hoosier tires for the last race of the weekend. Vladimiros Tziortzis made the sweep perfect at the end of a memorable battle with Paul Jouffreau and took home his fourth consecutive win at the wheel of the #5 Academy / Alex Caffi Motosport EuroNASCAR FJ. Paul Jouffreau led laps for the first time in his career and scored his best career result so far in second place. Tziortzis holds the red Whelen banner with a perfect score of 160 points. 

Starting from Pole Position, Tziortzis lost the lead to Jouffreau, who had “zero experience” in the rain in his young racing career. When the track started to dry, the Cypriot improved his pace and closed the gap on the race leader. On lap 18, Tziortzis made the pass and took over the lead but just one lap later, he went off track at Clearways and allowed the Frenchman to retake first place. Tziortzis chased down the RDV Competition driver again and made the decisive move on lap 24 of 31 to score his fourth EuroNASCAR 2 race win in a row. 

“Congratulations to my biggest competitor in this race for his amazing effort! His improvement from last year has been great, I remember him as a small kid coming here to join the series,” said the crowned Prince of Brands Hatch praising Jouffreau’s skills. “I expected it to be a difficult race as we had to adapt to a wet track all of a sudden. We lost a spot at the beginning in the rain and when it got dry, I pushed a lot. I lost the car while leading the first time, that’s why Paul took the advantage again. He was defending very well, but we managed to claim the victory.”

Jouffreau drove the race of his young life. The 19-year-old Frenchman wrestled his #3 Ford Mustang around the wet track in perfect fashion despite his lack of experience in the rain. He led a total of 22 laps, but ultimately he wasn’t able to hold Tziortzis back. Despite missing out on the win, the Blaye native was happy about his performance at the 1.9 kilometer long Indy Circuit and for sure got a confidence boost towards the 2023 championship battle. Jouffreau is now third in the standings, 25 points behind the championship leader. 

“I didn’t expect it at all!” said Jouffreau, who was clearly surprised with his performance in the wet. “I think that we were really fast at the start of the race because we had a higher tire pressure, so when it started to dry my tires were used up and too hot. When you looked at my last few laps, I felt like I was about three seconds a lap slower than Vladimiros! It was so much fun as it was my first time in the wet, I’m so happy!”

Alberto Naska had a test in the wet in the winter and took advantage of the experience of his CAAL Racing teammate Marc Goossens, who shared all his knowledge about tackling a V8 beast around the corners with rain pouring down on the asphalt. The Italian fell back to fourth but caught Martin Doubek on lap 19 to take over third. Naska ran out of laps while gaining ground on Jouffreau and wasn’t able to throw an attack on the Frenchman ahead of him. Still, the Italian defended his second place in the overall standings as the 2022 runner-up sits four points ahead of Jouffreau. 

Team Bleekemolen’s Melvin de Groot earned a solid fourth place with a pass on the grass ahead of Druids on lap 25 and took the win in the Legend Trophy ranks for drivers aged 40 and over. Hendriks Motorsport’s Gil Linster closed the top-5 after another solid race for the Luxembourgish at the wheel of the #50 Toyota Camry. His teammate Martin Doubek ended up sixth as the Czech slipped down the order when the track dried and the handling as well as the grip level of the cars shifted. 

Jack Davidson had a tough weekend with two violent crashes in Free Practice and EuroNASCAR 2 Round 3, but still the Brit was able to close the American SpeedFest X on a high note. The Marko Stipp Motorsport driver was seventh under the checkered flag and first among the Rookie Trophy drivers. He was followed by Riccardo Romagnoli and Claudio Cappelli, who rounded out the Legend Trophy podium, while Michael Bleekemolen completed the top-10. The other two drivers on the Rookie Trophy were Thomas Dombrowski and Nick Strickler. Arianna Casoli grabbed the win in the Lady Trophy while Max Mason secured the extra points for most positions gained with his 13th place finish. 

With the second of six events of the 2023 NWES season in the books, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will head south to Italy for another spectacular race weekend at Autodromo di Vallelunga close to the country’s capital Rome on July 8-9. Qualifying and all races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all around the world. With a fresh contract extension of five years until 2028, the American SpeedFest will be a highlight on the NWES calendar long-term.