VALENCIA, Spain – Saturday’s 18-lap opening round of the NASCAR GP Spain at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo provided a tremendous battle between Ander Vilarino, Stienes Longin and Alon Day.
In the end it was Vilarino emerging with the victory, the 21st of his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series career and the first for the Racing Engineering team.
The Spaniard started from pole and kept the lead in the first corner of the in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season opener. Longin was able to pass Day early, moving from fourth to second. The three drivers engaged in a three-way battle for the lead that last the most part of the 72-kilometer race.
“It’s been a fantastic race,” said Vilarino, who led from flag-to-flag. “Thanks to the Racing Engineering team for giving me such a great car. In the beginning we were faster than everybody else, but then Stienes and Alon came back to my rear bumper. Stienes was much faster than me until his pace dropped off. I am really happy to win in front of my home crowd and for the fifth time here in Valencia.”
“I started fourth and suddenly after turn 1 I was second,” said Longin. “I was too nice to Day. I know he is a good overtaker and that is why he passed me again. He began to struggle so I was able to catch him again and also close the gap to Ander. In the end the #48 was too fast for me.”
“The team did a really great job,” said Day. “Unfortunately we couldn’t push enough to catch Vilarino. He was very quick and had the advantage of the pole position. I wasn’t involved too much in the fight between Stienes and Vilarino so I was able to save the tires a little bit, so we’ll see tomorrow. Understanding the new tires this year will be an important part of the championship, so I’m ready to strike back tomorrow.”
Lucas Lasserre was fourth ahead of Nicolo Rocca, who won the Junior Trophy in his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series comeback.
Henri Tuomaala won the Challenger Trophy, finishing 19th.