Fabrizio Armetta doubles the advantage in the Challenger Trophy with victory on home turf

The NASCAR GP Italy at the Autodromo di Vallelunga went extremely well for Challenger Trophy leader Fabrizio Armetta. The Italian had taken over the lead in the special classification for elite amateur drivers in EuroNASCAR’s top division in the previous round at Brands Hatch and was aiming to extend his advantage in his home race in Italy. Armetta did just that, taking the trophy win in Round 5 and scoring important points in Round 6 to double his advantage at the top of the standings. A gap of 39 points currently separates Armetta from runner-up Riccardo Romagnoli – his teammate at The Club Motorsport – and third placed Massimiliano Lanza with three rounds to go in the 2023 season.

DNF was the name of the game in Challenger Trophy given that plenty of the trophy contenders were forced to retire in both Round 5 and Round 6. Only four Challenger Trophy drivers saw the checkered flag in Round 5 with Armetta finishing on top ahead of Simone Laureti and Alina Loibnegger, both of whom scored their first trophy podiums of the season. Armetta fell foul to the attrition on the following day as he was taken out from the race by Dario Caso, but the The Club Motorsport driver still scored important points as most of his rivals failed to start Round 6 due to crashes in the EuroNASCAR 2 race. He currently sits joint eleventh in the standings with 144 points, tying reigning Junior Trophy champion Giorgio Maggi.

Advait Deodhar, Romagnoli, and Thomas Toffel all had to sit on the sidelines on Sunday after their cars were severely damaged in the ‘Big One’ that happened in the EuroNASCAR 2 race. Loibnegger also failed to take the start after her #94 Racingfuel Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro was involved in a separate incident at the same race. Seven Challenger Trophy drivers would take the start, but only three drivers managed to finish the race.

Out of the three that finished, Massimiliano Lanza came out as the winner. The Roman native had taken a setback in the previous round at Brands Hatch and was eager to fight his way back to the top in front of his home crowd. Round 5 did not go his way after being forced to retire early in the race, but everything went smoothly in Round 6 with his first trophy win of the year in 13th place overall. Lanza moved up to joint 15th in the standings, tying Romagnoli as the closest driver to Armetta in the Challenger Trophy ranks.

The CAAL Racing driver finished ahead of Laureti and Yannick Panagiotis, who grabbed the first trophy podium finish of his career. Panagiotis was making just his second race appearance at Vallelunga, having made his debut at Valencia in 2022. The rally raid specialist did not have the pace to match his Challenger Trophy rivals, but he kept the #4 Panasport Chevrolet Camaro clean. By surviving both races, the Frenchman was rewarded with his first piece of silverware in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

Advait Deodhar had a tough weekend in Italy, losing crucial points thanks to the aforementioned DNS on Sunday. The Indian driver dropped down to fourth in the standings, one point behind Romagnoli and Lanza. Loibnegger’s first trophy podium in EuroNASCAR PRO was enough for her to retain fifth ahead of Thomas Toffel. Simone Laureti moves up to seventh while Dario Caso, Kenko Miura, Yannick Panagiotis, Cesare Balistreri, Hugo Fleury, Yevgen Sokolovskiy, Michaela Dorcikova and Miguel Gomes close out the special classification’s rankings.

The battles in Challenger Trophy will continue on 26-27 August with the NASCAR GP Czech Republic. The round in Autodrom Most will host the roaring thunder of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the fourth time in history and promises to deliver fantastic “Pure Racing” action. All qualifying and races will be streamed live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and various television services around the world.