The battle for the Junior Trophy in EuroNASCAR PRO is one that fans can’t miss. The special classification for drivers aged 25 and under continues to make headlines after a set of exciting races during the NASCAR GP Czech Republic. Two top-10 finishes at Autodrom Most were enough for Ulysse Delsaux to maintain his lead, but his gap to Vladimiros Tziortzis was reduced to just one point. Tziortzis from Cyprus finished on the overall podium to win Round 7 while Paul Jouffreau scored his first Junior Trophy win in Round 8 when he delivered an extraordinary win.
Delsaux arrived in the Czech Republic as the Junior Trophy leader thanks to his consistency. The 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 champion finished in the overall top-10 four times in the first half of the season and added two more to his tally. A sixth place finish in Round 7 allowed the Speedhouse driver to stand on the Junior Trophy podium, but it wasn’t the case in Round 8. Delsaux chose the wet tires and could only finish ninth. Still, that was enough for him to retain his lead in the special classification with a total of 229 points.
Only one point separates Delsaux from Tziortzis heading towards the NASCAR GP Germany on September 23-24. Tziortzis managed to win the Junior Trophy in Round 7, but it was a close call as he had gearbox trouble in the last two laps of the race. He then opted for slick tires in Round 8, but he couldn’t maximize his performance and was penalized for causing an avoidable contact with fellow Junior Trophy contender Neo Lambert.
Jouffreau’s participation at Most was only his second outing in EuroNASCAR PRO, but he quickly adapted to the extremely competitive environment of the top NASCAR division in Europe. Jouffreau made his debut in Italy and immediately scored a podium finish in his first race. He qualified the #3 Ford Mustang in second place in the wet conditions, but got involved in an incident on Round 7. Despite this, he still managed to set the second fastest lap time to put himself on the front row for the next race.
With mixed conditions in Round 8, RDV Competition opted for the slick Hoosier tires. Jouffreau was skeptical of the team’s decision, but that proved to be the right call. The 19-year old Frenchman got past Round 7 winner Vittorio Ghirelli to conquer both the race and the Junior Trophy win, securing Jouffreau’s status in the history books as the youngest race winner in EuroNASCAR PRO.
Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 champion Liam Hezemans once again had a weekend of two halves. He triggered a multi-car incident at the start of Round 7, something that he admitted was a rookie mistake on his part. The stewards handed him a 10-place grid penalty because of the Behavior Warning Points he earned over the season for Round 8 and despite dropping down to 17th early on, Hezemans bounced back to finish on the podium with the help of slick tires. This also gave him a podium finish in the Junior Trophy, putting him just 14 points away from Delsaux in eighth place overall.
Showing once again a strong pace, Thomas Krasonis scored two top-10 finishes and one Junior Trophy podium to slot in fourth in the special classification. Giorgio Maggi is now fifth ahead of Lambert and Tobias Dauenhauer, who made a late mistake in Round 8 that denied him a chance of finishing on the overall podium. Jouffreau’s victory promoted him to eighth ahead of Thomas Dombrowski and Tuomas Pontinen. Jack Davidson closes out the classification rankings after making his EuroNASCAR PRO debut in Most.
The exciting Junior Trophy battle will continue next month when the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series heads back to Germany for their first ever race at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben on September 23-24. All qualifying and races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and various television services around the world.