It’s crunch time in the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season and the battle for the EuroNASCAR 2 title couldn’t be more exciting: Liam Hezemans swept both races at Circuit Zolder and further reduced the gap from Alberto Naska in the overall standings. The Dutchman in the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Toyota Camry led all 15 laps and cruised to a dominant victory, while championship leader Alberto Naska had to carve his way through the field starting from the 16th position.
Hezemans made a perfect start and quickly opened a gap on the rest of the pack. Unrivaled, the younger brother of two-time EuroNASCAR PRO Champion and current NASCAR Cup Series driver Loris Hezemans controlled his lead and brought home the fourth win of the season for the #50 Hendriks Motorsport car. The EuroNASCAR Finals at Grobnik will feature a dramatic and epic battle for the EuroNASCAR 2 championship with the two newcomers also battling for glory in the Rookie Trophy.
“It couldn’t be better! It’s just an awesome weekend, thanks to the whole team because to win by 8 or 9 seconds, you cannot do it if you don’t have a good car so thanks to them! It’s just an awesome weekend, we couldn’t hope for more! We just have to keep our head focused on the next race and it’s going to be a nice title battle. Everything can happen with double points, so we’ll see how it goes!” said Hezemans in Victory Lane.
Naska was very busy fighting his way up the ranks, but with the bigger picture in mind, the Italian had reasons to settle for fifth position. “In front of me, the drivers were fighting like the universal title was on the line,” said the driver of the #88 CAAL Racing Chevrolet, who also scored the four bonus points for the most passes in the race, which went green from start to finish. “I wanted to get the points and bring the car home safely. We scored 36 points, more than the second placed driver and we are in a good position for the Finals.”
The battle for second was intense and a spectacular show for the numerous fans at the legendary four kilometer long Circuit Zolder. Claudio Cappelli climbed up to second after the start, but he had Ulysse Delsaux putting a lot of pressure behind him. The Italian defended his second position lap after lap but Tuomas Pontinen, who started 8th, was on a mission. The Finn took over third on lap 7 and started to throw one attack after another against Cappelli. On lap 13, Pontinen cracked Cappelli’s defense and finished runner-up in a phenomenal race.
Cappelli ended up third to score his maiden EuroNASCAR 2 podium and took his second Legend Trophy win. The top-3 also mirrored the podium in the Rookie Trophy for new drivers in the world of EuroNASCAR. 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Ulysse Delsaux was fourth under the checkered flag, while Naska closed the top-5. He was followed by Christian Malcharek and Melvin de Groot, who was second in the Legend Trophy classification for drivers aged 40 and more.
The battle for the Legend Trophy will be as close as the EuroNASCAR 2 championship and the Rookie Trophy with de Groot and Yevgen Sokolovskiy, who finished tenth and third in the special classification, at top of the standings. The latter finished right behind Patrick Schober, who scored his fifth top-10 result of the season. In the Lady Trophy, Luli Del Castello beat Arianna Casoli and Alina Loibnegger to consolidate her lead in the points standings.
With the dropped results, there are two clear contenders for the 2022 EuroNASCAR 2 Championship. Naska still leads the overall classification by 13 points over Hezemans. The CAAL Racing driver will therefore keep the red Whelen banner on his windshield and carry it when the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series heads to the Croatian Riviera. Calculations done, there are still several drivers with theoretical chances of winning the title in the EuroNASCAR Finals.
Championship contender Vladimiros Tziortzis had to miss out on Sunday’s race due to an injury he suffered from a crash in Saturday’s race. The Cypriot was treated and released from the hospital. Tziortzis joined his team Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport to watch the races and support his team mates at the race track. He’s confident he will be cleared to race in Croatia.
The EuroNASCAR 2 drivers will be back in action on October 29-30 at Automotodrom Grobnik, the home of the 2022 NWES Finals. The EuroNASCAR PRO championship will close an awesome 2022 NASCAR GP Belgium with another race coming up at 1:30 pm CET at Circuit Zolder. The race will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from around the world.