Maggi & Ghirelli Split Croatian Euro Series Poles

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Maggi & Ghirelli Split
Giorgio Maggi (left) and Vittorio Ghirelli celebrate their poles at the NASCAR GP Croatia on Saturday. (Stephane Azemard/NWES photo)

CAVLE, Croatia – The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series pole awards for the inaugural NASCAR GP Croatia were awarded on Saturday at Automotodrom Grobnik.

Hendriks Motorsport’s Giorgio Maggi grabbed his first ever EuroNASCAR Pro pole position at the 2.59-mile, 18-turn circuit with a 1:29.754-lap and also topped the Junior Trophy standings.

His teammate, Vittorio Ghirelli, ended up first in EuroNASCAR 2 qualifying and collected his first ever NWES Pole Award.

It was a challenging ride for Maggi at the wheel of the No. 18 Ford Mustang as the conditions were changing rapidly during the 30-minute qualifying session.

With many drivers waiting as long as possible for the track to fully dry, the Swiss managed to find the best line, completing 11 laps. As the drivers can only use one set of General Tire tires during a race weekend, those 11 laps may play a crucial role.

“It was super hard because of the changing conditions,” said Maggi. “I had two lockups during my best lap. I hope this will not cause a problem in the race but I’m super happy with the result. Thanks to the whole Hendriks Motorsport team, they did a great job finding the right balance in the car today.”

Last year’s series runner-up Stienes Longin ended up second, .116 seconds shy of the pole sitter. The Belgian turned a lap of 1:29.870 in the closing stages of a frantic session at the wheel of his No. 11 ProJob PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro.

Longin has 8 laps on his tires before round five of the EuroNASCAR Pro championship. With nine laps on the track, DF1 Racing’s Nicolo Rocca followed in third, .177 seconds behind Maggi.

Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 champion Lasse Soerensen finished fourth but had to drive 15 laps around the track, while NWES champion Loris Hezemans rounded out the top five with a 1:30.000.

The Dutchman had little track time due to technical issues throughout free practice on Friday and spent only seven laps on track in qualifying on his No. 50 Hendriks Motorsport Mustang.

Friday’s fastest driver Gianmarco Ercoli will start sixth. The Italian ended up ahead of Hendriks Motorsport’s Martin Doubek and fellow CAAL Racing driver Marc Goossens.

Alon Day was ninth quickest and completed only four laps during the session. Sixteen-year-old NWES newcomer Mark Skulj closed the top-10 at his home track for CAAL Racing.

The fastest Challenger Trophy driver was Davide Dallara in twelfth place.