A new champion has been crowned in the most unpredictable NASCAR Whelen Euro Series division: Paul Jouffreau. After a penalty cost the Frenchman a victory in EuroNASCAR 2 Final 1, Jouffreau entered the championship decider at Circuit Zolder with a ten point deficit from Vladimiros Tziortzis. The 19-year old RDV Competition superstar knew he had to win Final 2 to get a chance to grab the biggest honor of the season. The driver of the #3 Ford Mustang achieved his goal and made his dream come true. He survived pressure from his closest contenders, several FCY periods and deteriorating weather conditions to clinch the EuroNASCAR 2 title in dramatic circumstances.
Jouffreau made a strong start from Pole Position and retained his lead on the opening lap. He continued to build up an advantage and aced the 15-lap race at the 4.010 kilometer long circuit. Heavy rain hit the track with seven laps to go and made the asphalt in the woods of Limburg a tough challenge. Still, Jouffreau bravely mastered the wet track and brought home a dominant win to clinch the EuroNASCAR 2 championship with a total of three season victories, eleven top-5 finishes and stunning twelve top-10 results in twelve races. A fantastic season for the youngster culminated in raising the beautiful trophy into the air.
“It’s unbelievable!” said Jouffreau after his title clinching performance. “I switched teams in winter and traveled to Valencia with high ambitions. It’ll take some time to say to myself that I’m a EuroNASCAR champion. We earned it with the guys who supported me at RDV Competition. It’s just amazing that we have achieved our goal this weekend! It was really tough to control the car in the wet. I had to use a karting-style racing line not to lose control of the car because Doubek was fast behind me. If I made a mistake, he would get past me and I wouldn’t be the champion so it was the five hardest laps of my life, but we made it!”
Martin Doubek and Patrick Schober were happy to end their season with a visit to the podium. Following them in fourth was Melvin de Groot, who successfully defended the Legend Trophy with Team Bleekemolen. The special classification saw a very close battle between the leading contenders de Groot and Race Art Technology’s Claudio Cappelli, who ended up in second in the standings. They entered the race separated by only two points and fought their hardest. In the end, a slight mistake by the Italian at turn 2 on lap 10 sealed the overall victory to de Groot. With a fourth place finish, Melvin de Groot beat his closest rival by 16 points.
Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport’s Vladimiros Tziortzis recovered to fifth after running as low as tenth, but it wasn’t enough to bring the title to his favor as he lost out by just six points. Still, the Cypriot will be proud with the achievement that he has secured this year: five wins and the runner-up position in the EuroNASCAR 2 standings. Gil Linster lost time in the intensifying rain and crossed the line in sixth. The Luxembourger, who took his maiden victory on Saturday, closed out the top-3 positions in the overall standings.
Fabrizio Armetta took second in the Legend Trophy in seventh overall. The Italian finished ahead of Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Jack Davidson, who ended his year as the best Rookie Trophy driver. The Scotsman took over the lead after Final 1 and he never looked back. Thomas Dombrowski had been leading the special classification for most of the season, but problems for the Team Bleekemolen driver on Saturday proved to be his undoing. The Frenchman’s ninth place finish left him unable to overhaul Davidson’s total but still, the Frenchman took a strong second-place finish in the Rookie Trophy standings.
Cappelli recovered from his error to finish eleventh, just missing the Legend Trophy podium as he lost out to Roberto Benedetti. Thomas Toffel crossed the line in 12th from 23rd on the grid. His efforts were rewarded with the bonus points for most positions gained. Late problems for Alberto Naska eliminated the popular Italian from both the race and the title contention. The Lady Trophy was won by Speedhouse’s Arianna Casoli, who secured her first overall win since 2021 with an 18th place finish. Her record-breaking fourth Lady Trophy title and 40th Lady Trophy race win expanded her special chapter in EuroNASCAR’s history books.
The 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will culminate with the EuroNASCAR PRO Final 2 on Sunday at 13:30. Three drivers could clinch the title with a win: championship leader Lucas Lasserre, Vittorio Ghirelli and Gianmarco Ercoli. Lurking in the shadows in fourth place is local hero Anthony Kumpen, who’s the dark horse in the championship battle on his home soil. The final race of the season will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all around the world.