Title contenders Ghirelli and Jouffreau star in Free Practice
The drivers and teams in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 have completed the first ever laps on EuroNASCAR cars at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the new venue of the NASCAR GP Germany. The 3.668 kilometer circuit offered them a new set of challenges in this very important event, as all drivers will drop the two worst results out of ten races at the conclusion of the regular season. At the end of four free practice sessions across both divisions, two title contenders took the top spots in the combined times. Vittorio Ghirelli topped the standings in EuroNASCAR PRO while Paul Jouffreau was the fastest in EuroNASCAR 2.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Ghirelli continues on top form
Vittorio Ghirelli scored a victory in each of the previous two events and looks ready to challenge for another win in Germany. The driver of the #72 Team Bleekemolen Toyota Camry showed a dominant pace as he set the fastest lap time in both practice sessions, with his benchmark time of 1:31.392 proving to be unbeatable for the other competitors. The Italian is currently sitting just seven points behind Gianmarco Ercoli and could possibly take over the championship lead if his excellent form continues in the upcoming Qualifying and races.
Ercoli himself was the closest driver to Ghirelli as his best lap time of 1:31.752 was enough to secure second place. He was followed by Liam Hezemans, who finished third and led the Junior Trophy by the slimmest of margins. Hezemans and Vladimiros Tziortzis quickly adapted to the Oschersleben circuit and both were able to set a lap time in the 1:31 mark, with the Hendriks Motorsport driver managing to edge out his Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport rival by just 0.019 seconds.
Marc Goossens returned behind the wheel with the goal of scoring maximum points. The fifth place in Free Practice could be the perfect start to put on a charge towards the top of the ranks. He was followed by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Giorgio Maggi, who are both looking to rebound after struggling in Most. The latter also completed the top-3 in the special classification for drivers aged 25 and under.
Anthony Kumpen, Tobias Dauenhauer and Martin Doubek rounded out the top-10 positions. The Challenger Trophy was led by Max Lanza in eleventh place. Fourteenth place finisher Thomas Toffel was second in the special classification rankings for elite amateurs in EuroNASCAR PRO. Ulysse Delsaux, who is celebrating his 26th birthday today, was 15th fastest, finishing in front of his team boss Lucas Lasserre and 3F Racing’s Ryan Vargas. The American wildcard was ahead of Fabrizio Armetta, who completed the Challenger Trophy top-3 in 18th place overall.
EuroNASCAR 2: Extra experience paying off for Jouffreau
Paul Jouffreau’s stocks are at an all time high after he became the first driver to win in both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 in the same season. While the 19-year old Frenchman continues to do double duty in Germany, he is mainly focusing on EuroNASCAR 2 as only three points separate him from championship leader Vladimiros Tziortzis. Competing in both championships meant that Jouffreau was able to log more laps and with Oschersleben being a new track for everyone, the extra experience may prove a valuable advantage. His best time of 1:32.032 allowed him to top the combined free practice leaderboard.
Jouffreau leads another driver who is also competing in both classes this weekend: Tziortzis. The Cypriot made it clear that he isn’t going to be easily beaten by finishing second in two exciting practice sessions. While racing exclusively in EuroNASCAR 2, Alberto Naska quickly adapted to the Oschersleben circuit. The Italian superstar topped the first session before ending his day in third place, just 0.314 seconds away from the top.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gil Linster ended up in fourth position. The Luxembourger has finished fourth in six out of eight races this year and the charm of finishing there seems to be continuing in Germany. Linster’s teammate Martin Doubek completes the top-5 ahead of Thomas Toffel, who was quickest in the Rookie Trophy. The Swiss driver edged Trophy leader Thomas Dombrowski by just 0.046 seconds to top the special classification for debuting drivers.
Toffel’s teammate Claudio Cappelli started his day strongly by finishing fourth in the first session. He wasn’t able to improve his times by a considerable amount in the second session, but it was still enough for the Italian to lead the Legend Trophy ahead of Melvin de Groot and Roberto Benedetti. De Groot will be a driver to watch as he wants to seize the opportunity to score maximum points in Germany given that he missed the first round at Valencia. Jack Davidson completed the Rookie Trophy top-3 in twelfth place while Arianna Casoli led the Lady Trophy in 21st position.
The first ever NASCAR GP Germany at Oschersleben will continue on Saturday with Qualifying and the first races for both divisions. All qualifying sessions and races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv, and on many TV services around the world.
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