BARGNANA, Italy — Alon Day became a 19-time winner in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and a five-time winner at Autodromo di Franciacorta on Sunday with a clean sweep of the NASCAR GP Italy.
The CAAL Racing driver led the final race of the weekend from flag to flag, allowing the reigning series champion to reinforce his lead in the ELITE 1 Division point standings.
In the early stages of the race, Day had to fend off the attacks brought by Loris Hezemans. The Israeli defended the lead, and then benefited from an intense battle between the Dutchman and former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Day took the checkered flag with a seven-second advantage over Hezemans.
“It was much harder than yesterday because Loris was there the whole time,” said Day. “Luckily Villeneuve was very strong today, so they slowed each other. I saw that battle and I tried to open the gap as much as I could. Hezemans was catching up very fast as soon as he was alone. He would have probably caught me. I’m very happy to be in victory lane again. I wanted to catch Vilarino in the point standings and I did it.”
Hezemans finished second by winning the heated duel with Villeneuve. In the middle of the race, the two made contact, sending body parts of the Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang flying through the air.
However, Hezemans resisted every attack and crossed the finish line ahead of Villeneuve, who grabbed his second consecutive Euro Series podium in Italy.
“I’m happy but also a little disappointed,” said Hezemans, who won the Junior Trophy classification. “The race was a little bit too exciting for me. In the beginning I made a mistake and over-drove the car. I damaged my left side. From then on I was just trying to survive and protect my position from Jacques.”
“With Loris, we had a really intense battle,” added Villeneuve, who leaves Italy with two third-place finishes. “My car was really good in the corners. There was too much blocking going on, though. In the (United) States, he would have been in the wall in two corners. Apart from that, the racing was a lot of fun.”
Stienes Longin was fourth in his PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro, while Nicolo Rocca completed the top five. Ander Vilarino finished sixth.
The Spaniard, who won both races during the season opener at Valencia, had to focus on limiting damage in Italy after contact on Saturday.
Francesco Sini put together a strong comeback after starting 11th, managing to climb up to seventh, with Lucas Lasserre also showing his climbing skills by carving forward from 19th to finish eighth.
“It was a competitive race,” said Lasserre, who won at the Italian track in 2018. “It was a great and clean race. The team worked really hard each day. In Franciacorta it’s difficult to overtake, but I was able to gain a lot of positions. I like this track, the Autodromo is fantastic. But I’m also a little bit frustrated, because I always want more. Now it’s important to understand why our qualifying and the first race were so tough for us.”
Romain Iannetta and Alexander Graff rounded out the top 10.
Ellen Lohr grabbed her first ever Challenger Trophy win at the Autodromo di Franciacorta. The only woman to win a DTM race started 25th, but in the end the Dexwet-df1 Racing driver gained 11 positions to finish 14th.