Gordon Barnes grabs first Club Challenge win of the season 

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric

Just six points separated the best two drivers in Friday’s Club Challenge event at the Autodromo di Vallelunga in Italy. The competitors of the regularity test opened the NASCAR GP Italy close to the capital city Rome with three 30-min sessions at the four kilometer long track. In the end, reigning champion Gordon Barnes topped the standings with a consistent performance in both timed sessions ahead of Neo Lambert. 

Barnes scored 43 points in the first session by masterfully handling his #48 Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro around the circuit. The Briton gained an eight points advantage over Lambert, who ended up third in points in the first competition outing of the day, tied with EuroNASCAR newcomer Thomas Dombrowski. In the second session, Barnes was second behind Lambert, but he kept the lead with a six points gap on the Frenchman. 

“It was absolutely brilliant,” said Barnes after the fourth Club Challenge win of his career. The 2021 champion continued: “We had a good run in Spain but to get back on the top step here today is just brilliant. This is the best feeling!”

Lambert, who’s driving the #40 Speedhouse Ford Mustang, was fully motivated to confirm his strong performance from Valencia where he grabbed his maiden Club Challenge win. The Frenchman topped the second session and therefore scored another solid result under the burning sun of Italy. 2021 runner-up Federico Monti closed the top-3 at the wheel of his #2 Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang. 

Making his debut in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Dombrowski impressed with a strong fourth place. The young Frenchman got acquainted with the pure beasts without any electronic driving aids and did a great job at the wheel of the #72 Team Bleekemolen Ford Mustang. Julian Vanheelen followed in fifth ahead of Andreas Kuchelbacher. The Club Challenge will return at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic on September 2.


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