VALENCIA, Spain – Tobias Dauenhauer scored a vital victory Saturday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo to help catapult him into the EuroNASCAR 2 championship lead with one race left in the season.
Dauenhauer took the dominant victory while Vittorio Ghirelli, who entered the race with the championship lead, retired from the race due to technical issues on his No. 18 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang.
The two are separated by eight points and winning Sunday’s finale grants 10 points more than second place. Thus, it is possible that if either of the two contenders win the race, they’ll win the championship.
Dauenhauer had a perfect start in Saturday’s race and defended his lead in the first corners of the 15-lap race. The German swiftly opened a gap on his chasers and had a perfect run on the iconic 4-kilometer Valencia track. The driver of the No. 50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang led flag-to-flag to score his third NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win. The 23-year-old also won the race in the Rookie Trophy classification.
“It was a perfect race for me and I’m happy that we were able to finally show the true performances of the car after we struggled since Croatia. We finally solved the problem,” said Dauenhauer. “I’m very sorry for my teammate Vittorio as I saw him stopped due to a technical issue. I’m now leading the championship and of course I’m going for the big trophy in tomorrow’s season finale.”
Ghirelli settled in second and tried to chase down his teammate, but on lap nine he suddenly fell back due to a technical issue on his Mustang. On lap 13, the Italian, who started the race as the championship leader, had to park his car. Ghirelli ended up 16th in the standings, but still has a chance to win the EuroNASCAR 2 championship.
“I will need to get up front quickly in tomorrow’s race and try to chase down Tobias,” said a disappointed Ghirelli. “Maybe I need some help with a full course caution, but I will give it all to fight for the championship. The only option tomorrow is winning.”
Vladimiros Tziortzis ended up second after a battle with Francesco Garisto. It was the first overall podium finish for the first EuroNASCAR driver from Cyprus. Garisto, who had the front bumper of the No. 98 CAAL Racing Ford stuck to the rear of his car for the whole race, was penalized for changing his racing line too many times while defending his position. The Italian finished 10th under the checkered flag.
American Julia Landauer scored her first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series overall podium at the end of a strong run at the wheel of the No. 11 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro. She started 10th on the grid and fought her way up into the top-three. She also won the race in the Lady Trophy classification.
Scoring his best result so far in EuroNASCAR, Feed Vict Racing’s Simon Pilate was fourth ahead of his teammate Alessandro Brigatti, who closed the top-five.
Nicholas Risitano was sixth ahead of DF1 Racing’s Kenko Miura, who got his third Legend Trophy win in a row in his EuroNASCAR comeback.