MOST, Czech Republic – Nicolo Rocca grabbed his fifth career NASCAR Whelen Euro Series pole in the tour’s debut at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Four years and two days after his last one, the Italian clocked a 1:41.431 lap in the Superpole session, securing the best starting position for the seventh race in ELITE 1.
In ELITE 2, championship leader Giorgio Maggi took his maiden NWES pole with a 1:41.339 lap, making it eight different polesitters in the first four events of the season.
Rocca is fighting for the 2019 NWES title and Junior Trophy win with his PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro in the ELITE 1 Division.
In his first outing on the Czech track, he was just a blink of an eye faster than Loris Hezemans, who ended up second by a mere .032 seconds.
Rocca became the fourth different ELITE 1 polesitter this season.
“Since yesterday I had a great feeling with the car on this beautiful track,” said Rocca. “I woke up this morning and was just thinking about grabbing this pole position. I knew we had the car to make it happen. The PK Carsport guys worked incredibly well the whole season and we start giving them back good results. I was fast and did a good lap, which was enough for grabbing the pole. I’m very happy. It will be a challenging and hot race, but I’m not too worried. I will give my best to bring home a good result today.”
While Hezemans came just a little bit short after being fastest in Q1, championship leader and two-time NWES champion Alon Day was third with a gap of .382 seconds from the pole.
Rocca’s teammate Stienes Longin, who sits second in the ELITE 1 Division standings, ended up fourth by clocking a 1:41.972 lap in Superpole. Jacques Villeneuve showed a promising pace in Qualifying but couldn’t reach his full potential in Superpole and will start fifth.
Lucas Lasserre finished a positive sixth ahead of Thomas Ferrando, who is racing for CAAL Racing at the NASCAR GP Czechia this weekend. The Frenchman posted his best result since the season opener and edged Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, who advanced to Superpole for the very first time in his NWES career.
Francesco Sini entered Superpole once again and was ninth ahead of Christophe Bouchut, who is back in Euro NASCAR with Alex Caffi Motorsport.
Three-time NWES champion and Valencia double race winner Ander Vilarino only ended up 15th quickest.
Maggi captured his first ever NWES pole position in Czechia and became the fourth different ELITE 2 polesitter of the season.
The Swiss driver clocked a blistering fast lap of 1:41.339 and held a .799 seconds gap to three-time race winner Lasse Soerensen.
Maggi’s lap would have granted him the pole in ELITE 1.
“It was very close on the track, but it was a very good lap,” said Maggi. “I’m a little bit surprised about myself, to be honest. For sure I will give my best to grab my second win here today, but it will be tricky in the first corner, as the straight is very long. We have to break the cars down hard, so we’ll see what happens.”
Soerensen, who sits fifth in points, edged Andre Castro by just .003 seconds. The top three qualifiers also mirror the Rookie Trophy classification.
Local hero Martin Doubek, who is back after a knee injury, put a smile on the faces of his fans by finishing fourth ahead of Advait Deodhar, who is looking to improve his current third place in the ELITE 2 standings.