The championship leaders of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series kicked off the NASCAR GP Czech Republic on the right foot. Alon Day and Alberto Naska topped the combined standings in Free Practice on Friday with stellar lap times. While Day beat championship contender Nicolo Rocca by 0.314 seconds, Naska edged his rival Vladimiros Tziortzis by 0.396 seconds at the 4.2-kilometer long Autodrom Most.
Day has already proved his abilities to win at the Czech facility in 2021, when the driver of the #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro grabbed his first win at Most. For Alberto Naska, it was another debut at an unknown track for him, but the CAAL Racing rookie again mastered the new track well and put himself on top of the standings. The Italian was watching the EuroNASCAR PRO Free Practice at the hill in turn 1 to find the missing secrets of the high speed track.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Day set the bar
Day started where he left in 2021 and set the benchmark in the two free practice sessions on Friday with a 1:40.523-lap in Free Practice 1. The Israeli beat title contender Nicolo Rocca by about three tenth of a second and made a statement in the championship battle. The duo was followed by reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek, who was only 0.043 seconds slower than the Italian in his #56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet.
Gianmarco Ercoli ended up fourth and is set to fight his way back into title contention after a season that was filled with ups and downs for the Rome native. Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver Patrick Lemarie closed the top-5. The Frenchman has plenty of experience at Autodrom Most, where he won a European Le Mans Series race twenty-one years ago.
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen finished sixth ahead of Marc Goossens and Giorgio Maggi, who topped the Junior Trophy ranks. Liam Hezemans, who crashed into the barriers in Free Practice 2, and NWES veteran Romain Iannetta rounded out the combined top-10. Frederic Gabillon and Brands Hatch race winner Alexander Graff ended up eleventh and twelfth.
Henri Tuomaala was the fastest of the Challenger Trophy drivers in 13th place whilst two-time NWES race winner Yann Zimmer finished 16th on his return to the series with Racingfuel Motorsport. Max Lanza and Davide Dallara completed the top-3 in the Challenger Trophy in 15th and 17th respectively. Aliyyah Koloc took 14th on her hometrack and closed the Junior Trophy top-3 behind Hezemans.
EuroNASCAR 2: New challenges for Naska
Visiting a new track is nothing new to Naska, who impressed with strong performances in his rookie season so far. The EuroNASCAR 2 championship leader was the fastest driver with a 1:40.686-lap in Free Practice 2. He beat one of his closest rivals in the championship battle, Tziortzis, who ended up about four tenths of a second slower than the CAAL Racing driver.
Reigning champion Doubek followed in third while Gil Linster showed promising pace in his #56 Chevrolet Camaro after he finished the day in fourth. Claudio Capelli did not only close the top-5, but he also took second in the Rookie Trophy and topped the Legend Trophy classification. PK Carsport driver Christian Malcharek followed in sixth, while Koloc was the best Lady Trophy driver in seventh.
Hezemans, Leonardo Colavita and Tuomas Pontinen rounded out the top-10, with Hezemans completing the top-3 in the Rookie Trophy. Michael Bleekemolen, who is deputizing for Melvin de Groot, and Dario Caso completes the top-3 in Legend Trophy whilst the top-3 in Lady Trophy was completed by Luli del Castello and Alina Loibnegger.
The last session of EuroNASCAR 2 was red flagged in the closing stages due to an incident involving Patrick Schober and Miguel Gomes. Both NWES championships will be back to action on Saturday at 10:30 am CEST with Qualifying. The grid-setting sessions and all races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from around the world.