BLOIS, France – Mathias Lauda, son of multi-time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda, won the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series oval race in the wet at the Tours Speedway Sunday in thrilling fashion.
The Austrian committed to the outside line in a late restart to move from fourth to second and passed, again on the outside, Ander Vilarino in turn one with nine laps to go in the Michelin 75. Lauda then put some space between himself and the reigning champion to take the checkered flag .667 of a second ahead of Vilarino despite the heavy rain falling on the French short track.
“Yesterday I’ve been fast, but didn’t manage to close on the podium. However, I knew my car was quick enough for a top result,” said Lauda in victory lane. “I felt good in the rain and I got more and more confident. I tried to save the tires in the first part of the race, then I started attacking and after the last restart I found out that the outside line was the fastest. I’m very happy for my first win in NASCAR.”
Vilarino led the most laps but was caught by surprise when Lauda found the best grip on the outside. He held on to take the second place under the checkered flag and increase his lead in the championship standings to nine points over Anthony Kumpen, who finished eighth.
“After the first restart the car felt good, but in the second one I didn’t realize the outside line was the fastest one. When Mathias passed me I started to keep a wider line, but it was too late,” said Vilarino. “I’m still very happy with the championship lead. If before coming here somebody told me I was going to finish second or third and I would have signed for it. It’s been a fantastic weekend.”
Victor Guerin, Frederic Gabillon and Freddy Nordström completed the top-5 and the latter won the Jerome Sarran Trophy classification.
Fabrizio Armetta continued with his heroic effort of racing with a broken collarbone and won the Challenger Trophy classification by finishing 12th ahead of Wilfried Boucenna.