Back-to-back wins for Gordon Barnes in Club Challenge 

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

Three-time and reigning Club Challenge overall winner Gordon Barnes continued his domination in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ regularity based competition. After winning the opening round in Spain, the Brit driving for Marko Stipp Motorsport was the most consistent driver once again and was crowned as the victor at the Autodromo di Vallelunga in Italy. The two Club Challenge 30-minute sessions started off the on-track action for the NASCAR GP Italy after the series took on an exciting parade in the historic city center of Campagnano di Roma on Thursday.

Barnes was the most consistent driver in the first timed session, but problems in the second run meant that he could only finish sixth. This was still enough to claim the victory, but the competitiveness in the division was demonstrated in the final results. Only six points separated the top-6 drivers, just two separated second to sixth place. Veterans and rookies both showed their abilities and in the end, it was the newcomers that gained the edge.

Reza Sardeha, who is making his first full season campaign with Team Bleekemolen, finished second in just his second start. The Dutch entrepreneur gained three bonus points for choosing the faster reference time in the two official sessions. Completing the podium was Bruno Costa, also on his debut season with Lux Motorsport. The Brazilian who currently lives in the UK was the best driver in the second session, allowing him to recover from a challenging first run.

“It’s a lot of fun, quite warm and tricky!” said Barnes in the Victory Lane afterwards. “They moved the goalposts over time so when you get a rhythm, you have to find another rhythm. It keeps it interesting and makes it more challenging. It’s three years in a row here and this is my tenth win as well. I love this track so much, there’s such a good variety of corners. You got fast, slow and cambered corners, S-bends and hairpins, everything that you can imagine is in here!”

Only one point separated Sardeha and Costa from Speedhouse driver Andreas Kuchelbacher. The 2017 Club Challenge winner finished inside the top-3 in both sessions, but ultimately just missed out on an overall podium result due to opting for the higher reference time. Home crowd favorite Federico Monti and Yann Schar followed the Austrian, both with the same amount of points and bonus points from the faster reference time. Edouard Fatio had a tough session and was only able to finish seventh. Kelvin Hassell and debutant Mario Buscemi rounded out the classification in eighth and ninth positions.

Barnes’ back-to-back wins solidified his Club Challenge lead as the Brit currently has 149 points to his account. Monti follows behind in second with 142 points, four ahead of Fatio who is third overall. Kuchelbacher and Sardeha complete the top-5, four and six points behind the Swiss driver respectively. Another three points separated them from Costa in sixth with Hassell rounding out the full-time competitors in seventh, 30 points behind fellow Brit Barnes. Dani Briz, Schar and Buscemi are eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

The focus in the NASCAR GP Italy now moves on to the drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, who will lap the 4.085 kilometer circuit located just north of the Italian capital of Rome in Free Practice. All qualifying sessions and races from the event will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and numerous TV channels around the world.


Spread the love