After the drivers and team began their weekend activity with a parade through the historic center of Campagnano di Roma on Thursday, the first day of the NASCAR GP Italy at Autodromo di Vallelunga kicked off with the return of the Club Challenge division. EuroNASCAR’s regularity based challenge kicked off in Valencia and now took on the 4.085 kilometer Vallelunga track in the morning for their second round. After two thrilling sessions, it was reigning two-time champion Gordon Barnes who took the victory by accumulating the least amount of penalties.
Barnes experienced a setback in Valencia when an oil leak on his gearbox caused rear grip issues, which prevented the Brit from delivering a strong result. With the issues sorted for Vallelunga, Barnes was able to maximize his chances and place the #46 Marko Stipp Motorsport Chevrolet in Victory Lane. Barnes topped both timed sessions and also claimed three bonus points for choosing the faster reference time.
“It’s great to be back on the top spot of the podium”, said Barnes. “We made points back on the problems we had in Spain. It was great to bounce back and I really love this track here in Italy. It’s the second consecutive time we won here, that’s absolutely brilliant. We did a great job today and only had minor technical issues, but that was nothing that stopped us!”
Barnes emerged victorious, surpassing Viktor Schiffer of Double V Racing, who celebrated his inaugural podium finish this season. The Austrian, Florian Richard and Alain Mosqueron ended up with the same amount of points after two sessions, but Schiffer gained the advantage because he chose the faster reference and therefore earned three additional bonus points. The Austrian also faced problems in Valencia when the engine of his #27 Ford Mustang blew. The team also brought a new car to the track after the severe accident of Schiffer’s teammate Patrick Schober in Brands Hatch and was rewarded for the excellent preparation ahead of the Italian NASCAR GP.
Richard secured the last podium position after he finished second in the final session, winning the tiebreaker over Mosqueron who had a third place finish in the first session as his best result. Federico Monti tied Richard and Mosqueron’s total points haul by choosing the faster reference time, but his lower session results meant that he had to settle for fifth. Loris Cencetti finished sixth on his maiden appearance in Club Challenge onboard the #94 Racingfuel Motorsport Chevrolet. Arianna Casoli, debutant Valerio Marzi and Edouard Fatio completed the standings in seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
The excitement in Vallelunga carries on with free practice sessions for both the EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 categories. You can follow all qualifying sessions and races from NASCAR GP Italy live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv, and on many TV services around the world.