Ghirelli Wires Grobnik EuroNASCAR 2 Field

Vittorio Ghirelli in victory lane at Automotodrom Grobnik on Saturday. (Stephane Azemard/NWES photo)

CAVLE, Croatia – Vittorio Ghirelli won the maiden NASCAR race at Automotodrom Grobnik on the Croatian Riviera Saturday.

The Italian started from the pole position, led all 14 laps of an exciting EuroNASCAR 2 round five and consolidated his points lead.

Constantly under pressure, the Hendriks Motorsport managed to build a safe margin on his teammate Tobias Dauenhauer, who ended up second crossing the finish line, 1.854 seconds behind the Rome native.

It was Ghirelli’s second Euro Series 2 win, after he was previously in victory lane at Raceway Venray in 2019, but his first victory with Dutch powerhouse Hendriks Motorsport.

“We have a good pace this weekend and we were up front in all sessions so far,” said the 26 year old. “I thank my team Hendriks Motorsport, all my sponsors and my family. I hope we can keep it up for tomorrow. It was a good battle with my teammate Tobias, but I kept the rhythm and was able to be first under the checkered flag.”

Dauenhauer won the race in the Junior Trophy standings and scored his third podium finish in the EuroNASCAR 2 Championship.

The battle for third was a true nailbiter involving five cars: CAAL Racing’s Dylan Derdaele was holding onto the lowest step of the podium in a duel with Solaris Motorsport’s Nicholas Risitano, but the Belgian made a small mistake that forced him off the track and let Risitano past.

In the end, the Italian finished third ahead of Zolder double winner Martin Doubek, who also got past Derdaele.

While the Belgian closed the top five and finished second in the Rookie Trophy, Alessandro Brigatti ended up sixth. At the wheel of the No. 11 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro, Lady Trophy winner Julia Landauer followed in seventh ahead of Simon Pilate, who completed the podium of newcomers in the official European NASCAR Series.

Francesco Garisto was ninth and Giovanni Trione rounded out the top 10. Mirco Schultis topped the standings in the Legend Trophy classification in 11th.

Evgeny Sokolovsky was 12th ahead of Euro Series debutant Frank Riedel and Igor Romanov. Vladimiros Tziortzis was right in the battle for the last spot on the podium, but also went off track during the race.

The Cypriot had to retire and was therefore only ranked 15th in the first ever EuroNASCAR 2 race at Grobnik.