Italy and Alon Day is a perfect match: the Israeli not only took his 30th NASCAR Whelen Euro Series career victory but also his eighth race win in Italy. The PK Carsport driver got past polesetter Gianmarco Ercoli in an early restart and with his third win of the season he closed the gap in the championship battle on Nicolo Rocca, who defended the points lead with the seventh place. In his sixth race at the Autodromo di Vallelunga, Day made it onto the top step of the podium for the very first time at the four kilometer long circuit.
At the initial start, Day had to settle for second because polesitter Ercoli perfectly defended his first position. The Israeli stayed patient and tried to find a way past the Italian with whom he had a crash at the last round in Brands Hatch. After an early safety car period due to a clash between Claudio Cappelli, Aliyyah Koloc and Thomas Krasonis, the winningest driver in EuroNASCAR history made the move on Ercoli at Campagnano on the restart to take over the lead. Day survived another caution later and a restart to put another track – the eleventh – on his personal winning list. He has now won at all current NWES tracks.
Drama struck for Ercoli on lap 9 when a puncture on his left front tire caused heavy damage to the bodywork of his #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet Camaro. The Italian spun out and was shuffled down the order to the back of the field. The 2015 EuroNASCAR 2 champion would eventually end up in 23th position. Day and Ercoli will start from the first row on Sunday again by virtue of their quickest lap times in Round 5.
“That was a very physical race! First of all I want to say that it doesn’t matter what happened in Brands Hatch between me and Ercoli, I don’t think he deserves to finish the race like that. I don’t know what happened, I think he got a puncture. He gave me a good fight and I feel sorry for them, I don’t want to win like that. PK Carsport did an amazing job with the car and I’m just happy, I managed to overtake Ercoli at the restart and from there on I just tried to keep a good pace and it’s time to think about tomorrow now,” said Day.
Last time out in Brands Hatch, Giorgio Maggi really built momentum with his second EuroNASCAR PRO career podium and the Swiss confirmed his positive trend with another second place in Italy. The Race Art Technology driver also took victory in the Junior Trophy ranks for drivers aged 25 and under – the third of the season.
Vittorio Ghirelli had plenty of bad luck so far in the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. Technical issues held the Italian back in Valencia and Brands Hatch but a car swap was meant to be the turn around for the 2020 EuroNASCAR 2 champion. The Not Only Motorsport driver had a strong run and scored his maiden podium in the 2022 season. He was followed by Martin Doubek and Alexander Graff, who completed the top-5.
Patrick Lemarie put up a solid performance by finishing sixth, while championship leader Nicolo Rocca had a “frustrating” first race on his home soil. The latter was able to defend his EuroNASCAR championship lead that shrank to eight points on race winner Day. The positive side: Rocca kept his amazing streak of consecutive top-10 finishes alive, bringing it up to 18. Romain Iannetta, who started 14th, had a strong run on his Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro to finish eighth in the end despite spinning out on the first lap due to a contact. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen was ninth ahead of Thomas Ferrando, who not only closed the top-10 but also took second in the Junior Trophy.
While Liam Hezemans closed the podium for drivers aged 25 and under in eleventh, Henri Tuomaala was first under the checkered flag in the Challenger Trophy for bronze and silver drivers. The Finn added a record 17th Challenger Trophy race win to his tally by crossing the finish line in twelfth. He was followed by 2020 Challenger Trophy champion Davide Dallara in 13th and Max Lanza in 15th. Marc Goossens and Frederic Gabillon were tangled up in a crash on lap 14 in promising positions that led the Belgian to finish 20th and a retirement for the Frenchman in his #3 RDV Competition Chevrolet Camaro.
While EuroNASCAR PRO Round 6 will go green on Sunday July 10 at 1:20 pm CEST, the EuroNASCAR 2 drivers will be in action on Saturday at 4:40 pm CEST. All races will be broadcast live on the NWES YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from around the world.