Dominant Pole Positions for Ghirelli and Linster in the NASCAR GP Italy

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Vittorio Ghirelli and Gil Linster reaffirmed their status as the drivers to beat in the two NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championships after they took the Pole Position Awards in Qualifying in the NASCAR GP Italy at Autodromo di Vallelunga. Having set the benchmark in their division in the free practice sessions, both drivers once again mastered the challenging 4.085 kilometer circuit located close to Italy’s capital Rome and will have the best seat in the house for the first race of the weekend taking place on Saturday.

EuroNASCAR PRO: Mixed weather conditions no issue for Ghirelli

The qualifying session for the NASCAR GP Italy was a tense one for the drivers, but there was no such issue for Ghirelli. Just like in Free Practice, the driver of the #24 Chevrolet Camaro was over half a second ahead of his closest rivals and smoothly earned himself a ticket to the Superpole. In an ultra-competitive session, several major names did not make it to the shootout, such as Fabrizio Armetta, Vladimiros Tziortzis and Ryan Vargas.

To spice things up, a sudden shower hit Vallelunga moments before the Superpole was due to begin. The session was briefly delayed and when it got underway, drivers faced a damp circuit they needed to tread carefully. Everyone chose to stay on slick Hoosier tires and pushed to the absolute limit. Ghirelli kept his head cool and found the best rhythm on the slippery Vallelunga track to set a lap time of 1:40.535 which handed the championship leader his second Pole Position Award of the year, the seventh of his career.

“I had a very good car,” said the Italian about his PK Carsport prepared machine. “I had a lot of grip so I could really push to the limit. The rain that came in the Superpole made things a little bit tense. We didn’t know if slick tires or rain tires were the right choice, but we went out on slicks. The track was slippery, but it was quite dry and I just nailed it in the last lap. I’m very happy to start from Pole Position in front of so many fans and my family!”

RDV Competition’s Paul Jouffreau was the closest driver to Ghirelli and finished second in both Qualifying and Superpole. The Frenchman also topped the rankings in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under. Tobias Dauenhauer found the damp conditions to be in his favor and after a ninth place result in Qualifying, the German Bremotion driver set the third best lap time in Superpole to clinch the second row of the grid.

Veteran driver Marc Goossens put his vast experience to good use and handled the weather beautifully to claim fourth ahead of reigning EuroNASCAR PRO Champion and local hero Gianmarco Ercoli. Speedhouse’s team boss Lucas Lasserre’s consistency is part of his DNA and the Frenchman took sixth ahead of his teammate Ulysse Delsaux. Junior Trophy’s runner-up Liam Hezemans, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Martin Doubek rounded out the top-10.

Club Motorsport’s Riccardo Romagnoli secured first place in the Challenger Trophy in twelfth position. Despite only qualifying fourteenth, Vargas’ time was still enough to take home third place in the Junior Trophy. Davide Dallara and Thomas Toffel filled the top-3 positions in the special classification for elite amateur drivers in 15th and 17th respectively. Debutant Max Marzorati was 20th on his first Qualifying session in EuroNASCAR.

EuroNASCAR 2: Linster delivers and saves tires

Gil Linster once again showcased his speed onboard the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Toyota Camry in EuroNASCAR 2 Qualifying session. Five laps were all the Luxembourger needed to clinch Pole Position with a time of 1:41.338, granting him a fresher set of rubber to use for the first race of the NASCAR GP Italy. Legend Trophy’s fastest driver Claudio Remigio Cappelli will accompany Linster on the front row, but the Italian needed eleven laps to set his fastest time of the session.

“It was really tricky because we had some sprinkles of rain at the beginning, but I’m very happy with the car,” said Linster after his second Pole Position Award of the year and the fourth of his career. “The car was amazing to drive and I only have five laps with the tires, so we’ll be in a good position for the race. I always had my team giving me updates about the lap times of the other drivers when I was waiting in the pit lane, but in the end it was an amazing Qualifying for us.”

Championship leader Doubek was in second for most of the session, but a late push by Cappelli allowed the Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport to deny Hendriks Motorsport a front row lockout. However, Doubek also worked on saving his tires as he only did seven flying laps on his sole set of Hoosier slicks. Vladimiros Tziortzis made a surprise comeback to EuroNASCAR 2 and showed his speed by setting the fourth fastest time despite not taking part in the free practice sessions.

Melvin de Groot and Roberto Benedetti will line up on the third row of the grid and both will be Cappelli’s closest challengers in the special classification for drivers aged 40 and over. Lux Motorsport’s bright pink #21 Chevrolet Camaro driven by 2023 Rookie Trophy Champion Jack Davidson will start Race 1 from seventh position ahead of title contender Patrick Schober.

Thomas Toffel confirmed his solid pace with another top-10 finish in Qualifying in ninth aboard the #34 Race Art Technology Chevrolet Camaro, the current leaders of the Endurance Teams Championship. Mario Ercoli not only rounded out the top-10 overall, he’s also the best of the Rookie Trophy contenders. Simone Giussani and Florian Richard trailed the Italian in the battle for the best debutants in EuroNASCAR 2. Problems for Arianna Casoli forced her to park her #14 Ford Mustang at the side of the track, but nonetheless she still claimed top spot in the Lady Trophy.

Ghirelli and Linster will be aiming to take home the victories in the first races of the weekend. Broadcast for EuroNASCAR PRO Round 3 will start at 13:40 CEST with EuroNASCAR 2 Round 3 following at 17:25 CEST. All races from the NASCAR GP Italy will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and numerous TV channels around the world.

EuroNASCAR PRO Results | EuroNASCAR 2 Results


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