Germany is finally back on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series calendar and the first race in the championship’s history at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben was a blast. The EuroNASCAR PRO Round 9 delivered an amazing battle at the front of the field and in the end it was Team Bleekemolen’s Vittorio Ghirelli who led all 20 laps and scored a fantastic win, the third of the 2023 NWES season. The Fasano native also took the championship lead ahead of the 2023 NWES regular season finale that will take place on Sunday at the challenging track in the Magdeburg region. Piloting the #72 Toyota Camry, Ghirelli bested Paul Jouffreau, who tried everything to overtake the Italian but the RDV Competition driver had to settle for second.
Ghirelli made a perfect start from second and got past polesetter Tobias Dauenhauer in his #99 Bremotion Chevrolet Camaro in turn 2. The Team Bleekemolen star struggled with his differential in the first ten laps but after the car was warmed up, the problems disappeared. He fended off all attacks from Jouffreau and built a solid margin towards the end to collect his fourth career win. In the points standings, Ghirelli is now two points ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli, who ended up fifth in his #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
“It was a very hard race because we had a problem with the differential for the first ten laps,” said the 29-year old driver in Victory Lane. “I had so much wheelspin only on one side of the car. Paul caught up and nearly passed me, but then as it warmed up the car performed better and I was able to control the gap. It was a real challenge, I was battling the car like hell in the first ten laps as I had no traction in the right hand turns. It was tough, but I’m glad I kept it on the track and we got the win.”
Jouffreau was not only second overall, but he was also the winner in the Junior Trophy ranks for drivers aged 25 and under. He was followed by Dauenhauer, who didn’t get off to a good start but quickly picked up the pace to bring home the first overall podium for Bremotion, the newest full-time NASCAR team from Germany on the grid. The Heppenheim native also ended up second in the Junior Trophy. A true racing veteran followed in fourth in CAAL Racing’s Marc Goossens. Despite his experience in motorsports all over the world, it was the first race ever for the Belgian at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Ercoli rounded out the top-5 at the end of an intense race. The Italian is still one of the favorites in the championship battle.
Ghirelli’s teammate and team boss Sebastiaan Bleekemolen secured sixth place after some exciting battles on track and the Dutchman defended his position against two-time NWES Champion Anthony Kumpen. Following an off-track experience on lap 9, Kumpen made a strong comeback on his #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro and scored a solid seventh place. Ulysse Delsaux rounded out the Junior Trophy top-3, while NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series driver Ryan Vargas brought home a strong top-10 result in his first ever international race in Europe. The 3F racing star had a good start and fought for a spot inside the top-10 all 20 laps long.
Thomas Toffel was eleventh under the checkered flag and therefore he topped the Challenger Trophy ranks for elite amateurs in EuroNASCAR PRO. The Race Art Technology driver from Switzerland was joined on the podium by the Italians Riccardo Romagnoli and Massimiliano Lanza. Drama struck for Speedhouse owner-driver and championship contender Lucas Lasserre on lap 15 while riding in fourth position, when the Frenchman had to park his #64 Ford Mustang due to a puncture but Lasserre “will be back as strong as a lion tomorrow”. Giorgio Maggi also didn’t finish because of a spin on lap 12 and had to retire from the race.
The EuroNASCAR PRO Round 10 will take place on Sunday at 13:55 CEST, but there will be more Pure Racing action on Saturday with the EuroNASCAR 2 gladiators back in the Arena. Round 9 of the second division will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all around the world on Saturday at 16:45 CEST.