HOCKENHEIM, Germany – Loris Hezemans took his maiden NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win in a nail biting ELITE 1 Semi Final 1 at the iconic Hockenheimring on Saturday.
The Dutchman also delivered Hendriks Motorsport their first NASCAR win.
Frederic Gabillon came from a lap down up to seventh place, salvaging his points lead as Alon Day spun in a last lap attempt to pass Hezemans for the lead.
Hezemans led flag to flag after in his Hockenheimring debut and managed to keep the lead during a restart with five laps to go. Despite having his hands on the championship lead after Gabillon fell victim of a puncture in the first lap, Day put pressure on Hezemans in the closing stages of the race and tried a hail mary move in the penultimate corner, but ended up spinning. The points lead swung back to Gabillon, who climbed from a lap down to seventh under the checkered flag.
“I’m so happy, especially with a race like this,” said Hezemans, who is now also leading Junior Trophy on Gianmarco Ercoli. “We had to work really hard and this win tastes even sweeter. It was close racing until the very last corner, I nearly lost the battle against Alon. I was completely sideways. After the pace car I was under a lot of pressure, he was really flying and he just locked up. We didn’t even touch when he tried to pass me and unfortunately he spun, but I grabbed the win and I want to score big points again tomorrow.”
Marc Goossens took advantage of Day’s debacle to finished second from ninth on the grid, while Lucas Lasserre came from eight to third ahead of Martin Doubek, who grabbed second in the Junior Trophy with his first ELITE 1 top-five, and Wilfried Boucenna.
Former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte grabbed his fourth top-10 finish with an eighth-place effort.