First Challenger Trophy victory of 2024 propels Max Lanza to the top 

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

Max Lanza left the 2024 NASCAR GP UK at Brands Hatch with plenty of smiles. The CAAL Racing driver took advantage of a double retirement for Thomas Toffel to become the new leader of the Challenger Trophy. The Italian also grabbed his first victory of the season in the special classification for elite amateur drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO Round 6, with fellow countryman Dario Caso achieving the same feat in Round 5 on Saturday. With only 9 points separating the three drivers entering the NASCAR Oval GP at Raceway Venray, the fight will be one to watch.

A late puncture for Lanza denied him the chance to win the Challenger Trophy on Saturday, but Toffel’s retirement allowed the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro to minimize his losses. On Sunday, the Italian was able to avoid several incidents, including one in which the Swiss driver was instead involved following contact with Fabrizio Armetta and Vladimiros Tziortzis, to take home the top spot in the special classification. Lanza now has 133 points to his tally in eleventh position on the overall standings and he’s  leading the Challenger Trophy.

“It was a great race,” said Lanza after Round 6. “I’m very happy because my team did a fantastic job on the setup of the car. This morning we were very fast in the warm-up and I was confident with my driving. This race was fantastic, I had a good pace for the race. Yesterday I had a collision with Riccardo Romagnoli and had a puncture that compromised my race, so today I’m very happy!”

Despite the setbacks, Toffel’s strong start to the season meant he’s only three points behind Lanza and will have a good chance to fight back already at Venray. Dario Caso and Romagnoli trailed him by six points and both brought home trophies from the American SpeedFest. The veteran Caso returned to the top step of the Challenger Trophy with a commanding victory in Round 5, surviving two restarts to secure his first win in the special classification since 2020.

Romagnoli kept his momentum from Italy with two Trophy podium finishes and enjoyed a fantastic battle with returning Kenko Miura on Sunday. Miura is now fifth ahead of Frederic Perriat, who made his EuroNASCAR PRO debut in the UK and clinched third position in Round 5. Davide Dallara completes the overall Challenger Trophy rankings in seventh. The close action in the special classification will be resumed in the half-mile oval of Raceway Venray in the Netherlands on 29-30 June. All qualifying and races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and plenty of TV stations from all around the world.


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