Gordon Barnes opens 2024 Club Challenge season with a victory

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain welcomes the arrival of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the start of the 2024 season. The NASCAR GP Spain once again hosts the opening round of the official European NASCAR Championship and after an exciting Prologue, drivers from the Club Challenge division took to the track on Friday. After two 30-minute sessions at the 4.005 kilometer long circuit, reigning overall winner Gordon Barnes from Marko Stipp Motorsport beat Academy/Alex Caffi Motorsport’s Federico Monti and Race Art Technology’s Edouard Fatio to take home the victory.

After a tough start to the 2023 season in Valencia, Barnes this time jump started his quest for a fourth consecutive title in EuroNASCAR’s regularity based championship in 2024. The Brit topped the first session and was runner-up in the second session. It was enough to beat Monti, who was third and first in the two official sessions. Fatio scored his first podium with two top-3 results and three bonus points for choosing the faster reference time in both sessions.

“It’s great, it’s the best way to kick the season off,” said Barnes in the Victory Lane. “Last year we started with a few problems, but this weekend we had none. We drove better than everyone else around us and that’s all it takes. We didn’t feel that we could set the fastest time comfortably, so we went with what we knew we could achieve, the slower reference time.”

Home crowd favorite Dani Briz finished fourth on his EuroNASCAR debut. The Spaniard joined Speedhouse’s developmental Academy Driver Program and will be competing with the French team for the full season. His teammate Andreas Kuchelbacher completed his return to the division with a top-5 finish. Briz and Kuchelbacher initially finished level on points, but Briz edges the Austrian veteran thanks to the bonus points.

Three debutants completed the results: Kelvin Hassell, Reza Sardeha and Bruno Costa. Hassell scored two sixth place finishes onboard Bremotion’s new #77 Chevrolet Camaro. Sardeha was level in points with Hassell, but he finished lower than the Brit in both sessions. The Team Bleekemolen driver did receive three bonus points for the faster reference time. Costa’s debut was hampered with an engine failure in the second session.

The Club Challenge completed the first round, but the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will continue its activities in Valencia with Free Practice for both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2. All qualifying sessions and races from the NASCAR GP Spain will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and numerous TV channels around the world.


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